This is a Halloween-themed Trader Joe’s exclusive. It’s not a paper label; the front and back are painted onto the bottle. I was unable to find out the composition of the wine, but another bottling from the winery was a Rhone-style blend, but with some Zinfandel and Sangiovese added as well. Let’s see if we can figure this one out.
Dearly Beloved I Thee Red (2011) Central Coast, California – $10.50
Color: reddish purple.
Aroma: predominately tart cherry, but there is some warm spice and a little smoke underneath.
Taste: good texture, with more cherry and berry fruit, and then some vanilla towards the finish. Spice comes on during the finish.
Decent but not earth-shattering. Still not sure about the blend – most likely Syrah and Zinfandel. This would be a good buy at $6 or $7, but there are better things for $10. If you’re looking for something spooky or morbid as a gift or a theme bottle, then the artwork tips the scales into the buy column.
A cheap Aussie chard from Trader Joe’s, to go with some warm, gooey Camembert. I’m hoping this won’t be very oaky. The spooky label is certainly appropriate for Halloween season!
Benefactor Cellars Chardonnay (2012) South Eastern Australia – $6.00
Color: brassy yellow with green undertones.
Aroma: golden delicious apple and some butter – this has obviously undergone some amount of malolactic fermentation.
Taste: moderately buttery – the apple and butter notes are just about 50-50. It retains good acidity, has no obtrusive oak notes, and is not heavy, fat, flabby, or hot. It works wonderfully with the cheese! Just enough acidity to set off the fatty richness, and the apple notes are a perfect pairing with Camembert. When you don’t have Calvados (apple brandy from Normandy), grab an appley Chardonnay instead! Recommended.
This is an Australian label imported by Trader Joe’s – they also have a Cab and a Chardonnay, all at the $6 price point, that I’ll be reviewing shortly. I’m having this with grilled pork, rubbed with adobo and lime.
Benefactor Shiraz (2012) South Eastern Australia – $6.
Color: garnet red, shading to red-black in the center.
Aroma: very Australian – eucalyptus, mint, black pepper, and tar. Some raspberry and rose petal notes too. A big nose.
Taste: Good fruit-spice balance up at the front. Warm and chewy, but a little thin towards the finish. Pepper does come out on the very end, with good length. With air I get additional berry fruit notes. I think this would be better with a less spicy meal.
Decent wine, and an appealing price. This is not a keeper for the cellar, but it’s something to consider for parties. And with the creepy label, it’s a nice choice for a Halloween party!