When I am in Trader Joe's, I always check for their Grand Reserve wines. This week, I found a Merlot from Oakville in Napa Valley. This choice was promising since it was from a narrowly defined area (Oakville), in a superior AVA for Merlot (Napa Valley), from an outstanding vintage (2014) and has a higher listed alcohol content (15%). I am happy to report that this wine lived up to my expectations.
The obvious first thing to notice about this wine is the deep purple color in the glass. When you swirl the wine, it clings to the glass and slowly forms legs verifying the higher alcohol content. The nose promises darker fruit and I noted flavors of blackberry, plum, licorice and cocoa. The tannins are in balance and the finish is long lasting. This is an outstanding wine and I would pair it with a steak. Trader Joe's sells all of the Grand Reserve wines for $12.99 and the quality of this wine exceeds that price.
SC Wine Joe rating = 91 points