Monday, April 28, 2014

Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Napa Valley Merlot 2011

Every time someone blogs about a Merlot, we have to read about how the wine has gotten a bad rap since the movie "Sideways".  It was a good movie but it is time to get over it.  The Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer just had to bring up the "Sideways Effect" in their current edition.

You would not really expect to get a great Napa Valley Merlot for $7.99 but hey, you never know.  The 2011 TJ's Petit Reserve Napa Valley  Merlot starts with great promise.  It is a beautiful deep purple color with a terrific nose.  The initial sip is a great berry flavor.  From there it goes down hill.  The finish is harsh, oaky and tart.  Too bad!!  For $7.99 you cannot complain but there are better choices for a couple of bucks more.

SC Wine Joe Rating = 85

Monday, April 14, 2014

2012 Epicuro Primitivo

Trader Joe's is the place to go to get terrific wine for under $8.00.  Epicuro Primitivo is a great example, currently available for $5.99, -yes- $5.99!

Primitivo is a black skinned grape that was cloned from the same grape as Zinfandel.  It is many ways very much like Zinfandel grown in California and is grown in the Puglia region (the "heel") of Italy.  The wine is a medium body wine with dark fruit flavors.  I sensed blackberry, licorice, cola, oak and just a bit of minerality.  The wine seems a little warm, even though the A.C. (14%) is not extraordinary.  All in all, this is a great value for $5.99.  I will buy more.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot 2012

The State of Washington is the second largest wine producing state in the USA.  The Columbia Valley produces the largest share of wines in the state and the temperature extremes from day to night as well as the arid conditions result in rich tasting wines.  Merlot is a wine that is very different in the Columbia Valley than typically found in California.  Columbia Valley merlot can often have tannins that rival Cabernet from California. 

The 2012 Kirkland Signature Columbia Valley Merlot is typical for merlot from the Columbia Valley.  It has a rich initial taste but also a big tannin finish.  At $8.99, this is an alternative to Cabernet to drink with your next steak or other grilled dinner.  

SC Wine Joe Rating = 87

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kirkland Signature 2011 Carneros Pinot Noir

Carneros connects the southern end of Napa Valley with the southern end of Sonoma Valley.  It is an area of cool winds and almost daily cool fog.  Carneros is the source of great pinot noir and chardonnay.

Every year, Costco has a new version of their Kirkland Carneros Pinot Noir.  The dominant flavor to me of this pinot is ripe cherries.  The wine contains 13.9% A.C.  Other bloggers usually give this wine good reviews.  I believe this is a quality wine for $9.99 but it is just not my style.  The dominant ripe cherry taste does not appeal to me.  I would be interested to hear what others think. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 87

Monday, April 7, 2014

Trader Joe's Reserve Meritage Paso Robles 2011 Lot#76

I had great expectations for this wine.  I always love meritage blends and the TJ's Reserve Zinfandel Paso Robles was a treat (this wine is from the same producers).   With great anticipation, I opened the bottle and poured a glass.  I took a wiff but did not get much.  I took a sip and did not get very much.  I let it sit for an hour and it was a lot better, but not better on the finish.  After more than an hour, the taste was pretty good but the finish was bitter with harsh tanins.  I finally switched to another wine to go with dinner.

The label promises notes of black raspberry(I am not sure what that is), black cherry with hints of chocolate and coffee.  I did not note any of that, but I am not that good at that game. 

The wine is from the Paso Robles area in the central coast of California.   The A.C. is 13.6%.  There is no clue about the blend of grapes in this meritage.

I think Trader Joe's missed on this wine and the SC Wine Joe rating is 86.

Costco Opportunity Alert Follow-up

A few days ago, I blogged about being able to buy the 2007 vintage Vina Aguia Rioja Reserva.  Today, I went back to the Costco in Greenville SC to stock up on that wine while it is still on sale.  I found a lot of 2009 vintage in the cases that I could easily get to.  The cases were stacked one on the other, but I searched until I found 2007 wine and was able to remove some from a lower case.  If you are interested in this wine, it will pay to search for the 2007 vintage.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

JoLo Winery and Vineyard Yadkin Valley part 2

Saturday, April 5 was the grand opening of JoLo Winery and Vineyard, Pilot Mountain, NC.  The owners, JW and Kristen Ray, have done a fabulous job in creating a food and wine experience in the Yadkin Valley.  The vineyards, winery, tasting room and grounds are beautiful.  The opening day festivities included a live band and fantastic food samples.  We tasted the five wines currently available and although young wines, each had unique, enjoyable flavors.  My favorite was the Crimson Creek, a chambourcin red wine.  It is clear that the owners are approaching every aspect of this business in a first-class manner.  This winery should be on your itinerary for your next trip to the Yadkin Valley.

Yadkin Valley Wines

We have made two previous trips to the Yadkin Valley, NC to visit wineries.  This area, although 200 miles away, is the closest significant wine producing area to our home in Greenville, SC.  This weekend we returned to do more tasting.  Here are two highlights of our trip.

Dobbins Creek Vineyards
This is a vineyard with a tasting room.  The wine is actually produced and bottled elsewhere.  However, this farmer grows great grapes which result in superior wine.   The vineyard is at 1380 feet elevation which is one of the highest vineyard elevations in the Yadkin Valley.  The signature wine is the Yadkin Valley Riesling.   This dry riesling is somewhat unique for riesling in this country and the lack of sweetness provides a wine that could be paired with a wide variety of food.

Shelton Vineyards
Shelton is the largest family owned vineyard in the eastern US.  All of the grapes grown here are incorporated into Shelton Wines and Shelton does not import any grapes from any other producer.
Saturday's events included an arts/crafts fair, free tours of the vineyards free tours of the winery, live music and outdoor food.  We have been to Shelton before, so we did not do a wine tasting.   However, we did enjoy a glass of unoaked chardonnay with lunch.