Trader Joe’s has a long tradition of making private label wines. They come in a variety of labels and price ranges. From Two buck Chuck (aka Charles Shaw) to high end Napa Valley Cabernets that run over $20 a bottle. Trader Joe’s Coastal wines have been around for a while but for some reason I have never spent the time to review one. With the holidays coming up, I’ll be review more and more wine and beer. But today it’s Trader Joe’s Coastal Merlot
The Central Coast of California is where this wine comes from, but you might as well just say it came from California itself because this is a vast and diverse AVA. Stretching from San Francisco to just north of the Los Angeles area, many many vineyards lay within it’s boundaries. Generally the central coast is cooler than Napa or the Central Valley, which can be blistering hot in the summer. All this means is that grapes have a longer time to ripen and produce more interesting flavors because of this.
Let’s be honest, Trader Joe’s sells boatloads of this wine. At $5 a bottle, you’ll hardly find a cheaper bottle of wine anywhere else. But being double the price as Charles Shaw, I am hoping for a step up in the flavor department. I was not disappointed.
The appearance in the glass is dark and full. Merlot can be a little lighter in color than Cabernet but not this one. It was pretty inky dark. The aroma was one of dark fruit, cinnamon and maybe a hint of mocha. Medium weight on the palate with some decent tannins that I wasn’t expecting from a cooler climate Merlot. On the tongue I get black cherry, rich round soft tannins with generous black raspberry flavors. This wine is punching way above it’s $5 price.
You would not disappoint your guests if you put this on the Thanksgiving table. Put it in a decanter and tell them to try and guess what it is and how much you paid for it. Buy a case of it to have around and pull out for parties or just drink a glass or two on Tuesday night after work because it’s so darn cheap. In wine review parlance, I am going to give this a Recommended rating.