Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Meritage Napa Valley 2013 Lot #63

I was excited to see  that Trader Joe's is now selling the 2013 version of their Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage for $12.99.   When I last reviewed the 2012 version of the wine, I was very enthusiastic about it, calling it a great wine.

The bottle gives no clue about the blend of Bordeaux grapes in the wine.  As with most Meritage wines from Napa, flavors of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon dominate.  The alcohol content is 14.5%.

This is an excellent fruit forward Meritage with flavors of dark chery, blackberry, blue berry and only minor spice.  The tannins are smooth and in balance with the fruit.  I really enjoyed this wine.

I wanted to compare this Napa Valley Meritage with Costco's Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage, so I tried both at the same meal.  The Kirkland has always been a solid choice but The Trader Joe's Grand Reserve is far superior.  I would spend the additional $2 per bottle for the Trader Joe's wine every time.

SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Nalys 2014

Every year Costco sells their Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  It always sells for $19.99 and quickly sells out.  The last time I was able to buy it at my local Costco was in May 2015 and I have been checking religiously since May of this year to be sure that I did not miss it.  I had read online that other areas had this wine a few months ago and I fretted that that I missed out but there it was in the bins last week.

You may wonder why this wine, which is more expensive than the usual SC Wine Joe wine, is in such high demand.  First, you need to know that a Chateauneuf du Pape wine usually sells for at least $35 or $40 and often costs much more than that.  Secondly, this is a great, drinkable wine.

If you are new to this blog and have not read my post from May 2015, here is a short review about the wine.  Chateauneuf du Pape is a region in the Rhone area of south France.  For a short period, many years ago, it was home to the Pope.  As in other Rhone wines, Grenache is the predominate grape.  This wine also blends in Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise and Mourvedre.  The resulting wine has an alcohol content of 14.5% and is a smooth, medium bodied wine with tons of berry flavors.  

If this wine is available at your local Costco, I strongly recommend it to you.  I am sure you have a special occasion that warrants spending $20 on a bottle of wine and I know you will like it.

SC Wine Joe rating = 92 points

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trader Joe's Reserve Meritage Mendocino County 2013

The last wine I intend to review from the October 2016 Fearless Flyer is the TJ's Reserve Meritage Mendocino County 2013.  I have been trying to think of something interesting to say about this wine but finally decided to just tell it like it is!  This wine is not very good!

I like California versions of Bordeaux style blends, aka Meritage,  I have had good wines and also,  not so good wines from Mendocino.  This Bordeaux blend is 33.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 24% Petit Sirah, 11% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and .5% Petit Verdot.  The wine is said to spend 24 months in French and American oak.  The alcohol content is 13.8%.  All of these statistics tell you this should be a pretty good wine.

The wine starts decently but somewhat nondescript.  However, as the wine lingers, the flavors deteriorate and the finish is sour and unpleasant.  There is just no reason to recommend the wine.  We actually poured out about half of the bottle.  Life is too short to drink bad wine! At $9.99, this is not very much to spend for a California Meritage but I think your money will be better spent on something else.  If you are a Costco member, the Kirkland Napa Meritage is far better for only $2 more. 

SC Wine Joe rating = 84 points

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kirkland Signature Malbec 2014

Costco has had the Kirkland Signature Malbec 2014 from Mendozza Argentina in the stores for several months.  I blogged about the 2012 version of this wine back in February 2014 and I liked it a lot.  I was less impressed last year with the 2013 Malbec.  Since the price of this wine ($6.99) makes it appealing to many people, I thought I should give the 2014 Malbec a try.

This is a soft, medium bodied Malbec.  While I did not find anything specific that I disliked, I really did not find anything that I really liked either.  The wine did not have any depth or complexity of flavors.  I actually never finished the bottle and went on to another wine.

So, I have to wonder if this wine is inferior to the 2012 version that I liked or are my taste buds different today than two and a half years ago.  One clue is to compare 2012 and 2014 on a vintage chart for Mendozza.  I reached for the vintage chart in the February 2016 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine and found that indeed the 2014 vintage for red wines in Mendozza was rated at only 85 points out of 100, making it the lowest rated vintage since 2001.  The 2012 vintage was rated 88 points which is definitely better but not excellent.  I do not know how much this affects an entry level wine, but I will just say that it is the vintage and not me.  Please feel free to comment on your opinions of this wine.

SC Wine Joe rating = 86 points