Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grifone Primitivo 2013

Trader Joe's sells this wine for $4.49 and it is one of their most popular bottles.  Primitivo is essentially the same grape as Zinfandel but the style of this wine from the southern heel of Italy is different than a typical California Old Vine Zinfandel.  This is a lighter, medium bodied wine with flavors of strawberries and blackberries and it finishes with modest tannins.

No one is ever going to confuse this with a $20 bottle of Zinfandel but it is very drinkable and better than the price implies.  If you enjoy lighter red wine, you should give this a try.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87

Monday, February 16, 2015

Don David Malbec Reserve 2012

My local Costco has a large, end of the aisle display of Don David Malbec Reserve 2012.  The bottles sport an attached card touting that the wine was rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast and all this can be had for the low price of $10.99.  I read the label, checked the alcohol content (13.9%) and put a bottle in my cart.

The first thing you notice about this wine from Calchaqui Valley, Argentina is the beautiful dark violet color.  I did not detect anything special in the nose.  Wine Enthusiast noted an intense, lush, layered palate but the wine did not live up to that accolade.  I found a good blackberry flavor with a toasty oak, peppery finish.  I would have preferred less pepper.  The wine improved on the second day and that is always appreciated.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Epicuro Nero d' Avola 2013

Nero d' Avola is a dark skinned grape grown on the island of Sicily.  It is often blended with other grapes but can also stand alone as a varietal.  Epicuro is a family of Italian wines at Trader Joe's known for value that often exceeds the price.

The Epicuro Nero d' Avola  is a medium bodied wine that exhibits bright red fruit flavors at the beginning of the sip.  As the wine lingers in the mouth, the wine seems to become more acidic and less enjoyable.  This is a young wine with an alcohol content of 12.5%.  It is only $5.99 at Trader Joe's but I will not likely buy it again.

SC Wine Joe rating = 86

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tusk 'N Red 2013

Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer is featuring 2013 Tusk 'N Red.  This wine is an attempt to create a Tuscan style wine from grapes grown in Mendocino County California.    The Super Tuscan style wine is composed of Merlot(70%), Cabernet Sauvignon(20%) and Sangiovese(10%) and has an alcohol content of 13.5%.  This is a nice idea with a cute label on the bottle.

The Fearless Flyer promises a fruit forward wine but I found the fruit flavors to be subdued.  I think it is a very ordinary wine that does not exceed any expectations for a $7.99 wine.  We will add the remainder of the bottle to our pasta sauce this evening.

SC Wine Joe rating = 85 points

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Pinot Noir Carneros 2013 Lot #23

The Carneros AVA includes parts of Napa County and Sonoma County.  It stretches from  south of Sonoma Valley to south of Napa Valley, north of San Pablo Bay.  Fog and breezes from the bay create a cooler climate suitable for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Pinot Noir Carneros is featured in the latest Fearless Flyer. The wine is a medium dark cherry color and I did not detect much aroma in the glass.  The flavor is more complex,  more acidic, less cherry and more blackberry than some pinots.  There is some soft oak into the finish.  The alcohol content is 13.8%.  All in all, this is a very good pinot noir that is $12.99 at Trader Joe's. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

Two years ago, I loved the 2010 Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel but last year I was disappointed with the 2011 vintage.  We just tried our first bottle of the 2012 and I am back to loving this wine.

The Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel is said to come from low-yielding vines that average 45 years in age.  The dark berry aroma gives advance notice that this is a rich blackberry, blueberry flavor.  I even detect some mocha and black licorice on the palate.  The oak and the alcohol (15.3%) are well balanced with the fruit flavors.  I think this is a terrific Zinfandel, well worth Costco's price of $9.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Wine glass shown is from St. Paul's Vineyards, Hendersonville, NC.