Tribunal 2009 Red Wine Sonoma County
The Wine: Think back just a few months ago…circa Thanksgiving and Christmas 2010, there was a wine at Trader Joe’s by the name of Tribunal, a 2008 vintage; a supposed clone of a much more famous wine known as “The Prisoner” by Orin Swift. At the time, I worked at Trader Joe’s and this wine was HOT, as in, couldn’t keep it on the shelf, selling by the case hot. It’s back…
Judging by how quickly this wine sold (and made it’s maker, K___ Family Estates) profit, probably kicked their tail into high gear to release a sequel, the 2009 vintage. The label reports a Sonoma County origin. Sonoma County has gained lots of wine media attention as of late as discussions continuously are brought up about splitting this area into smaller AVAs (American Viticultural Area), because it’s so large and comprised of so many different climates and soils; so this could be a good thing, if you really like to know more about your wines’ origin(s).
Since the 2008 Tribunal was such a hyped wine, I decided I to open a bottle of that as well to taste next to the 2009 (I bought six 2008′s to age for a while, but this seemed an appropriate time to sacrifice one of them.) The 2008′s recipe is as follows: 37.1% Zinfandel, 24.4% Petite Sirah, 10.3 Cabernet Franc, 7.7% Sangiovese, 7.4% Promativo, 6.9% Grenache, 4.8% Syrah, 1% Merlot and 0.4% Barbera. Wow, I could be a wine snob and say that 0.4% Barbera is about what I thought I sensed. This is what’s called a ‘kitchen sink blend’, a little bit of, literally, everything. It’d be great of some of you who currently work for Trader Joe’s and emailed me letting me know this wine was about to be released, can you confirm what the current blend is? OK, so how is the the 2009 and how does it live up to the beloved 2008 vintage?
Color: Very deep and rich plum violet. This is clearly a very young wine.
Nose: The forward sweetness and grape notes again, tell you this is a very sweet wine. But after some time decanting, vanilla becomes more pronounced and some herbacious qualities as well. The alcohol and it’s 15.1% of sweetness is also rather apparent as well.
Palate: Wow is this a big wine. As you begin to sense of the sweetness of fruit, the massive tannins rush in to dominate your entire mouth. There is also a snap of acidity as well. The finish lingers on for a bit with some oak and vanilla tones. But this wine right now is way to young to be in balance.
2008 & 2009 Tribunal
Bottom Line: Buy-Half-A-Case/Buy-A-Case
I think this wine has potential that it’s not fully living up to at the moment. The 2008 is a bit calmer, more enjoyable and showing more complexities. The 2009 components are not very in-sync making this not a very harmonious wine. It’s a wine in its teens; it has no idea what it is, what changes are going to happen and its hormones are kinda out of whack. Is it going to be a doctor or a lawyer some day in the future? Only time will tell. For the moment, this wine is very big and pretty intense and a bit all over the place. But, I rather liked it, and so will the majority of American palates. It’s packs LOTS of punch, but not so much flavor at the moment. (The 2008 has more berry notes and smoother tannins at this time.) I encourage you to buy a few bottles of this, try one now and open the next ones during that Christmas 2011 roast, or even better Summer 2012 BBQ and beyond. If you do open this wine now, I can’t urge you enough to decant this wine for at least an hour, it needs air! For $10 bucks you’re making an investment in some pretty solid California styled Red Wine down the line. I think you would be really hard pressed to find a better Sonoma Red Wine at the $10 price point.
But that’s my opinion, what’s yours?
- Price: $10
- Appellation: Sonoma County
- Alcohol: 15.1%
- Cellar: Tribunal Cellars – Kenwood, California