Trader Joe’s seems to have been spreading it’s wings in the wine world recently. I have seen more wines with a plain Trader Joe’s label than any time in the past. Just like the Chenin Blanc and Viognier blend I just reviewed, this one is of a similar vein. It’s a custom crush that Trader Joe’s has another winery that specializes in producing large volumes of wine for people that don’t have or don’t want a winery of their own. Trader Joe’s can ask (as can anyone with money) to have these guys make a wine to their specifications. That appears to be the case here.
This is a Sauvignon Blanc wine made from Sonoma County grapes. I would guess from a variety of vineyards but I could be wrong. There is no defining style of Sonoma County wines since the climate changes quite dramatically over the whole county and I should point out that this wine is not from any one of the defined AVA (American Viticultural Areas) for the county, but the actual county itself. All that says is that the grapes came from somewhere in the county. It might not have even been made in the county but that is neither here nor there.
You can see from the photo that this is a pretty pale yellow wine. That usually tells me that it is not aged in oak or the grapes aren’t too over ripe. The lower the ripeness in white grapes, usually results in a lighter color, higher acid and lower alcohol. That is exactly the case for this wine. If I didn’t know where it came from, I would say New Zealand. This is clearly the style that Trader Joe’s is going for. Sauvignon Blanc is originally from the Bordeaux region in France and has been planted there for many hundreds of years. Genetic research shows that it’s one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. The other parent is Cabernet Franc.
Back to New Zealand. They perfected a style of crisp, austere, low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc wines that never saw any oak and were bottled in clear bottles. The style was very popular. So much so that wineries in the USA and France started to emulate the austere style. This is exactly that. It’s lean, bracing acidity and low alcohol and stainless steel fermentation. Tastes like gooseberries with a wiff of cat pee, but that is a good thing. I really like this style of wine. It’s easy to drink and you don’t get so drunk on it because of the lower alcohol so you can enjoy more of it. My wife thought it was too acidic. I think it’s a great buy and will go well with your turkey dinners coming up for Thanksgiving.