Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Pinot Noir Central Coast 2013

Trader Joe's summer Fearless Flyer is featuring their Petit Reserve Pinot Noir from the California Central Coast.  Some portions of the Central Coast have cool weather conditions suitable for growing Pinot Noir.  Previously, I reviewed a Central Coast Pinot Noir from MacMurray Ranch that is one of my favorites.

I have been drinking some terrific Pinot Noir lately, but this is not in that category.  However, for $8.99 it is better than most Pinots in its price range.  I found it to be medium body with light oak.  I tasted some strawberry and cherry but did not detect the cola flavor promised on the bottle label.  I did find a little bitterness in the finish.  The wine has 13.8% Alcohol.  If you are wanting a Pinot Noir for less than $10, you could give this a try.

SC Wine Joe rating = 87 points.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Indaba Mosaic 2014

I have been finding great values in wines from South Africa at Whole Foods Market.  These wines are imported into the US by Cape Classics, the largest importer of wine from South Africa, representing over 22 estates.  Indaba Wines are a good fit for Whole Foods because of their commitment to sustainable production and social responsibility.  A portion of the brand's global sales supports the Indaba Educational Fund, which provides funds for projects such as early childhood development for children of wineland workers.

Indaba Mosaic is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.  The wine was fermented on the skins in stainless steel tanks then pressed and returned to the tanks for secondary fermentation.  The wine has 14.5% alcohol.

This Bordeaux blend is a jammy wine with intense dark berry flavors.  It is a very approachable wine with soft tannins.  Some people may find this wine a little syrupy but I thoroughly enjoyed the juicy flavors.  At $8.99, this is a great value.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Etude 2012 Carneros Chardonnay

My local Costco started their summer wine sale on June 8 and it will last 4 weeks.  One of the wines in the sale that caught my eye is the Etude Carneros Chardonnay.   We were exposed to Etude several years ago at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and we remembered the quality wines.   This estate grown Chardonnay is regularly $20.99 at Costco but in this sale it is reduced $7 to $13.99.  Since this is a greater sale reduction than normal for Costco, I decided to research the pricing online.  I found that Etude sells this direct from the winery for $32.  Online sites sell the wine from $18 to $32.  Therefore, buying the wine for $14 is a great buy.

The wine, which has an alcohol content of 14.3%, has a beautiful golden color with a nose of apple and honey.  The wine is soft yet crisp with some minerality, neutral oak and tropical fruit.  Everything is in balance and the finish lasts at least 2 minutes.  This is a wine that reflects the cool breezes from Carneros nights.

I think this is a chardonnay that exceeds anything else you can buy for less than $15.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

While shopping at Whole Foods, I found the Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa priced at $9.99.  I do not find much Cabernet Sauvignon priced at $10 or less that is worth buying but this looked promising.  The sign said that this crowd pleasing Cabernet was consistently a Wine Enthusiast "Best Buy" and I noted the wine was a 2012 vintage (harvested spring 2012 in the southern hemisphere) with a high alcohol content(14.5%).  Note: high alcohol does not necessarily equate to a better wine but low alcohol sometimes means the wine will be too sweet.

In researching my buy, I found that the Total Wines and More store across the street from Whole Foods lists this wine as a "Winery Direct" wine selling for $11.99, or $2 more than Whole Foods.  This is another validation that Total Wines overprices their "Winery Direct" wines to allow for a coupon discount.

The Excelsior Cabernet is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot.  40% of the wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak for 9 months.  The wine is deep violet in color and has a jammy blackberry flavor.  The only criticism is that the wine is a little overpowered by the high alcohol content.  All in all, this is a very good Cabernet for this price range and I would buy it again.

SC Wine Joe rating = 88 points