Two-course dinner this evening – starting with a Grilled Caesar Salad, then having herb-rubbed grilled pork chops and potato salad. I’m having the 80% Chardonnay – 20% Viognier blend from Chile with the salad, and comparing the two Spanish reds with the pork. The wines are all Trader Joe’s exclusives.
Panilonco Chardonnay-Viognier (2012) Colchagua Valley, Chile
Color: medium yellow, straw verging on gold.
Aroma: tropical and apple/pear fruit, plus floral/honeysuckle together; you can tell from the nose that this is a blend.
Taste: almost no oak – the astringency comes from the tropical and citrus notes. A big full body without being heavy or numbing on the tongue. The richness of the Viognier really shines through – nice job on the blending proportions.
This is a great wine for $6. Recommended.
La Granja Tempranillo (2012) Cariñena, Spain
Color: vibrant purple-red.
Aroma: fresh and dried cherries, rose petal, a hint of spice. Classic Tempranillo.
Taste: Mmm, this is why I love a good Spanish red. A nice complex of berry fruit, pepper, and cherry, with a little hint of old leather and some tannin on the finish. Silky. Not especially long, but what do you expect for $5?
I can’t believe this is only $5. Recommended – I’m ordering a case. I wouldn’t put much age on this, but this will keep me and my pork chops, my stuffed pork loins, my pork medallions, and my pork sausages happy for the next year or so. It’s got a pig on the label, in case you need the hint!
La Granja Grenache-Syrah (2012) Cariñena, Spain.
Color: dark garnet red
Aroma: plum and pepper
Taste: fuller, more like a Rhone red. This is definitely an international style. The tannins are much fuller on the back of the tongue, with a dollop of vanilla (American oak, I’m guessing) as well.
A 50-50 blend for $7. Not my favorite of the night, but it had stiff competition. I think this would do better with a spicy pizza, chili, or a big, messy cheeseburger.