Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Trader Joe's Platinum Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley 2009 Lot #54

This is the second platinum label Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon I have found at Trader Joe's.  This one is from the Oakville region of the Napa Valley and also sells for $14.99.

This Cabernet Sauvignon has lots of jammy dark fruit, subtle oak and a long finish.  I did not get as much bouquet on the nose as I expected.  The wine has an alcohol content of 14.1%.  All in all, this is a very good wine but I did not find it as extraordinary as the Platinum Label Grand Reserve Spring Mountain District Cabernet I reviewed recently.

My Trader Joe's had this wine shelved with the Spring Mountain District Cabernet and the buyer should be careful to buy the desired wine.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Monday, December 29, 2014

Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Chardonnay 2013

My taste in Chardonnay is evolving.  Formerly, I strongly preferred Chardonnay with little or no hint of oak.  If the wine was aged totally in stainless steel, the crisp flavored wine was my kind of Chardonnay.  Lately, I have started to change.  While I have no use for a creamy, buttery, oak flavored Chardonnay, I now can enjoy some oak as long as the fruit flavors are present.

The Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Chardonnay is a wine from the Columbia Valley that I have been enjoying lately.  While there is a definite butterscotch and caramel flavor, the fruit flavors of pineapple and melon still shine thru.  The finish is interesting and enjoyable.  The wine has 14% alcohol.

For the past couple of weeks,  my local Costco has reduced the price on this wine to $9.95 but in mid-January the price will revert to the regular price of $12.95.  The local Total Wine and More store sells it for $13.99 and you can buy it online for as low as $14.99.   I think that Costco is giving us a good opportunity to stock up on this enjoyable Chardonnay.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Marques de Casa Concha 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Concha y Toro is the largest wine producer in Chile as well as all of Latin America.  Marques de Casa Concha is their mid-priced label and the Cabernet Sauvignon has been an excellent wine year after year.  The 2012 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon was sale priced at my local Costco, so I could not pass it up.

The Marquis de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Puente Alto in the Andean Foothills.  The wine is aged 18 months in new(37%) and used (63%) french oak and has an alcohol content of 14%.  There is an intense flavor of dark cherries and blackberries with a hint of coffee.  I found the finish to be less smooth and silky than promised, even after more than an hour.  This is a very good wine but not quite as good as previous vintages due to the finish.

I found this wine on sale for $4.00 off the regular price of $17.99.  That price will only be in effect until December 26  at my local Costco.  It is regularly priced at $18.99 at Total Wine and More.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage 2012 Lot# 63

I have now had two great Trader Joe's wines in one week. TJ's Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage 2012 and the previously reviewed Platinum Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain. 

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage 2012 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (62%), Merlot (12%), Petit Verdot (10%), Malbec (9%) and Cabernet Franc (7%) aged for 20 months in oak.  This is a juicy rich blend of blackberry, plum, and blueberry flavors with a hint of chocolate and caramel and well balanced tannins.  The finish is long and lingering.  The wine has an alcohol content of 14.6%. 

I noticed at my store, there were 2011 and 2012 vintages together on the shelf.  2012 was a highly rated growing season in California and my experience has been that the wines are superior to 2011 wines.  I would make sure that I have the 2012.  The cost is $12.99 per bottle.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Trader Joe's Platinum Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Lot #53 2012

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve wines with a black label have been the best, most expensive Trader Joe's wines.  Now, the chain has started Grand Reserve wines in a platinum label, signifying that the wine is even more exceptional.  The holiday Fearless Flyer is featuring the Platinum Label Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District for $14.99 and if I am going to pay that for a Trader Joe's wine, it better be good.   I often pay more for wine but have never paid that much at the home of 2 buck chuck.

The Spring Mountain AVA is in the northwest portion of Napa on the steep slopes of the Mayacomas Mountains that separate Napa from Sonoma.  The vineyards are small and only 1000 acres are in vineyards. 

When you raise a glass of this Cabernet to the nose, you immediately sense that it might be special.  As you sip and swirl you find an intense blackberry and black cherry flavor and the most special characteristic is the long, flavorful finish.  There is oak but the fruit is so intense, you barely are aware of the tannins.  This is the best wine I have ever purchased at Trader Joe's and I want more.  This is a limited production wine which will only be available for a short time. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 92 points

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Alceno Premium 50 Red Blend 2012

Alceno Premium 50 Red Blend is a blend of 85% Syrah and 15% Monastrell from the Jumilla region of southeast Spain.  Inland from the coast, Jumilla has a climate tempered by the Mediterranean Sea.  Monastrell is the most common grape in Jumilla, accounting for 85% of the vines.

This wine really hit the mark for me.  It is a perfect balance of nose, fruit, oak, finish and alcohol.  There is nothing to complain about with this wine.  This red blend is softer and more elegant than Cabernet Sauvignon but has more character than most Merlots.  The dominant fruit flavor is blackberry and the finish is long with softer tannins very present.  The alcohol content is 14%.

I found this wine at Costco for $11.79 and the $.79 ending signifies that Costco believes it to be a special price.  I have shared 3 bottles of this and it has been a big hit.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kirkland Signature Medoc 2012

Medoc is a Bordeaux wine growing region in southwest France, south of the Gironde River near the Atlantic Ocean.  The Kirkland Signature Medoc is 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot with an alcohol content of 13.0%. 

Last year, I was not a fan of the 2011 vintage of this wine but I wanted to give the 2012 a try to see if the wine is different or if my taste has changed.  The bottle promises an intense crimson and purple color with a fruit forward palate, ripe tannins and cocoa notes.  The color is certainly dark and intense but the palate is not fruit forward.  All I tasted was oak with some bitter fruit.  The wine improved a lot after an hour but not enough to get me to buy more.  The bottle is $8.99 at Costco.

SC Wine Joe rating =86