I’m a sucker for hard to find grapes in wine! I love the standards like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but if there is something a little off the beaten path, I will try it. Zweigelt! Yum! Auxerrois! Double Yum. There are an estimated 5000 different grape varieties in use around the world. Italy and Greece have the widest variety selections. Believe it or not, France doesn’t have a lot of varieties compare to it’s neighbors. Unfortunately, as wine becomes more of a commodity around the world, we wine drinkers keep narrowing our selections on what we consume. In the trade we call it ABC (Anything But Cab/Chardonnay). I say that variety is the spice of life and I only had Cabernet or Chardonnay to drink the rest of my life, I’d probably drink more beer!
I was kind of surprised to see a couple of stacks of wines under the Trader Joe’s Reserve label the other day. I was especially surprised to see a Carignane (Carignan as it’s known in Spain and France). At one point it was the third most planted grape in California as the workhorse for many of the jug wine producers. The main reason is that it has the ability to produce high yielding crops but it suffers from high acid and high tannin levels making it difficult to work with in the winery.
Being the adventurous one, I picked up a bottle for the evening dinner (Here in WA state it was priced at $9.99) On the label it says”Rustic and Loamy with pepper and blackberry”. That pretty much sums it up. For me it was thin and rustic. Not sure that Loam tastes like, but I did get some pepper and it was definitely more in the black fruits and clearly some blackberry flavors. But it was slightly sweet and simple. More like a grown up jug wine. Not a lot of depth or finesse.
I know I’m a bit of a wine snob but this isn’t something that I would buy again, but if you like less complex and approachable wines this might be for you!
I am going to rate this Trader Joe’s Reserve Wine Paso Robles 2010 Carignane 7 Bells!