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 4, 2011
$10 Price Point, 2008, Buy-Half-A-Case, Give-A-Try, Mendocino, Sonoma, Trader Joe's Exclusive, Woodenhead, Zinfandel
Twas two days before Christmas and so many were about, that’s when I learnt we had gotten a new wine that hadn’t gone out! There was a wine buying flurry, wine stacks were lasting only a few hours, so I was able to make a double stack of this newbie with little physical effort. But even amidst the busy sales floor, my mind wanted to learn what was up with the new arrival. Our internal computer system produced some basic info but I was curious more about this winery. It’s not everyday we get wines without barcodes. This can be an indication that this is from a much smaller producer – I like that.
The Wine: Woodenhead Vineyards is indeed a smaller producer offering six Pinot Noirs from along Northern California’s coastal appellations, a Methode Champenoise sparkling and three Zinfandels which range in price from $35-$45 dollars. None of the featured Zins on Woodenhead’s site feature the same name or even vintage of the ‘Mendonoma‘ I was holding in my hand. This leads me to believe this blend was used to push juice from both their Sonoma and Mendocino holdings, hence the name. But no matter, their past Zin releases seem to be well received! I bought a bottle to taste that night.
The Experience: A few days before, we had a big family dinner where I featured three awesome Zins (none found at TJs) of various vintages (2000, 2004, 2007) and appellations (Sonoma and Amador counties) in a blind wine tasting, so I had my Zinfandel critiquing hat on. Out of the bottle the nose was a bit tight, but giving off dark berries, spice and some heat from the 15.2% alcohol. The initial taste drew an audiable ‘hmmmmmmmm’ from me. But not in a bad way, in a ‘this is a different styled wine’ way. There was a component on the palate I was trying to get my finger on. It was chard! There was a pleasant bitter leaf lettuce aspect to this wine which I found rather nice. It was something different that I hadn’t tasted in a wine before and wasn’t really found much in the wine the next day. My parents agreed they liked the wine, but weren’t raving about it. I found this wine to be better than other Zin’s at the same $10 price point. You’ll taste classic Zin components of dark berries, spice and tannins but with the added bonus of this interesting chard component.
The Bottom Line: Give-A-Try/Buy-Half-A-Case
I’m not sure this is a wine for just anyone. If you like Zinfandel and plan on having a lamb, game or winter salad dish, give this wine a try. For $10 dollars you’ll get a chance to try a different Zin. Or, if you are going to a blind tasting, this could be a ‘stick in the spokes’ wine to bring the other wines into a different perspective. I thought it was an interesting wine and I am going to buy 2-3 bottles. I’d love to try other Zinfandel offerings from this producer for comparison and perspective for their wines’ style.
Question: What flavor components do you seek in your favorite Zinfandels?
Wine Dork Info: The Folks over at Woodenhead were kind enough to send me some additional info, thanks Zina!
- Appellations: 50% Medocino County, 50% Sonoma County
- Vines: 25-30 years old
- Harvested: October 7th and 11th, 2008
- Alcohol: 15.2%
- pH: 3.56
- TA: .610
- Cases Produced: 765
- Unfined and Unfiltered