May 30, 2011
$10 Price Point, 2009, Buy-A-Case, Dennis Patton, Mazzocco, Trader Joe's Petit Reserve, Woodenhead
Trader Joe's Reserve 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley
Firstly, apologies about the delay in putting up another post; believe it or not, it can be tough to find the time do these! But I think it was worth the wait, because we get to talk about a wine I really enjoyed: Trader Joe’s Reserve 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley.
The Wine: On the back label, this wine clearly states its origin, Mazzocco Winery, in Dry Creek Valley. This past weekend, I saw a Mazzocco advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle for $99 cases of wine; I think this winery might be riding out rough economic waves, which would make sense why they are putting some of their product under the TJ’s label. (UPDATE: Mazzocco had purchased another winery and was trying to clear a lot of that winery’s inventory.) Mazzocco (to me) is known as a Zinfandel House, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a Cab offering from them. I haven’t been that taken by the last few Cabs I’ve had, so I looked forward to trying a brand I’ve liked before.
Color: Very nice plum and violet color. Not too dark, not too light.
Nose: Great nose of dark berries, spiciness, little black olive, oak barreling and over all very inviting and youthful. Not complex, but not flawed.
Palate: Fruit is going to hit you square in the tongue. Lots of rich dark berries, not too much depth on the mid-palate, but shows some dark olive notes; drying tannins of Cab Sauv make themselves known in a very pleasant way. On the finish, I pick up a slight vegetative component.
Bottom Line: Worth-Buying/Buy-Half-A-Case
I really liked this wine. There is a higher amount of residual sugar in this wine and not so much acidity, so I’m led to believe these grapes may have been picked a bit late in the season. But the end result is a wine which will be widely accepted by Chardonnay drinkers and red wine drinkers. The alcohol was restrained to 14.7%, which could have easily gone higher. This is not a ‘hot’ wine, which is nice. This wine went awesome with the pizza I cooked up. How did you find this wine?
January 6, 2011
$5-$9 Price Point, 2009, Central Coast, Next-Wine-Please!, Pinot Noir, Saddlegrove, Trader Joe's Petit Reserve
Central Coast, Saddlegrove Cellars
The Wine: Denny’s diner had a jingle many years ago to advertise their Grand Slam Breakfast, “$1.99, are you outta your mind?!” Trader Joe’s is offering a Central Coast Pinot Noir for “$5.99, are you outta your mind?!” I’m curious how this wine is going to fair. Good Pinot Noirs are very often more costly wines. (You don’t see Two Buck Chuck offering a Pinot!) The grapes are sensitive on the vine, colors are hard to extract from the skin without creating a strong flavors in what should be a subtle wine, the fruit should be present but not too present and the list goes on… Read this Wine Dork Article for a better explanation and some great wine knowledge. After doing some research on this particular TJ’s offering, it seems to come from a very well established producer behind some big name labels around San Luis Obispo; so my hopes about the quality of this wine are building, but I have a $5.99 Pinot, I must be outta my mind…
The Experience: Upon pouring into my glass, I became concerned with a thin color laying somewhere between violet and red. OK, deep breath. How’s the nose? First sensation, oak; then alcohol, a light smokiness then on to a tangy sour cherry component which are all best described as faint, except for the oak and alcohol. But there is a stem/wood/dirt/hot rock component which is perplexing me and is about the only thing on the nose keeping me interested. It should be noted this wine is 95.2% Pinot Noir and 4.8% Souzão. Souzão is a Portuguese grape which has naturally high acidity and is widely known for its rich color – very often used in the production of port; no doubt Souzão was used to ‘pick-up’ this Pinot in both color and flavor. Wine Dorks, read more about Souzão here. There is little tannin or acid play on the palate and the finish is about as light as the color of this wine. *sigh*
The Bottom Line: Next-Wine-Please!
I’m just not very impressed with this wine. It’s OK wine, but not one I’d buy again. It’s cool that it has a ‘weird’ grape in it, but that’s simply lipstick to dress-up what is otherwise a lackluster wine. It lacks any clear direction and certainly doesn’t taste like some of the very nice Pinots I’ve had from around SLO. As for subtleties, I’m left searching for fruit in the palate and tannins are substituted with alcohol. If I had to pair this with a food, it’d be with white fish. If I had to give one positive remark, I liked the stem/wood/dirt/hot rock component on the nose. I guess I should have thought harder about that Denny’s jingle before buying… “$5.99, for a good Pinot, I am definitely out of my mind!”
Wine Dork Info:
- Cellar: “Saddlegrove” San Luis Obispo, CA
- Appellation: Central Coast
- Grape Varietals: 95.2% Pinot Noir, 4.8% Souzão
- Alcohol: 13.7%
- pH: 3.52
- SO2: 59 ppm
- TA: 5.64 g/L
- RS: <4 g/L
- Fining Agent: Sparkoid