Winetasting Report: Trader Joe’s

Visited Trader Joe’s in Kettering, OH for groceries today, and hit the wine tasting – my old buddy Bruce was manning the table. They were featuring 4 wines – I had tasted the Found Object Malbec at home a few weeks ago, so I skipped it.

Trellis Chardonnay (2009) Sonoma County, California – $7.50. I’m somewhat familiar with this from my previous tenure working at TJ’s; Trellis was a good, reliable brand a few steps up from Charles Shaw.  This is a dark straw-yellow color with a very fruit-forward nose. It had a good, full body with rich, dense fruit, and just a little oak and vanilla on the finish.

Trader Joe’s Lot 74 Malbec (2011) Paso Robles, California – $10. These are usually small-botch bottling that won’t be sold in every market. Very dark purple and spicy on the nose. Big, big, big fruit up front, followed by black pepper and white pepper, but not too much tannin. Fruit notes include blackberry, cassis, and blueberry. This is very appealing if you like loads of ripe fruit, but I don’t think it will stand up to really rich steaks.

Edition Maximilien Spatlese Riesling (2010) Rheingau, Germany – $11.50. Rheingau makes up only 3% of Germany’s wine-growing territory, but it’s the home of many of their best and most innovative winemakers. This bottle is proof that Riesling can be both sweet and complicated at the same time. This has sweet apple and applesauce aromas and tastes. It’s extremely well-integrated, with enough acidity throughout, and the sugar is always there but never obtrusive. Excellent quality – try this with pork and sauerkraut or with Cajun blackened seafood.

A nice tasting overall. The Trellis and Lot 74 aren’t my favorite style of their respective grapes, but they are well-made and certainly worth the money. The Riesling will be an eye-opener for your friends who just want to drink simple, bland, sweet wines.

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