It looks like it is Trader Joe’s week for Wine Values & Bargains. We have three of four wines to recommend coming from TJ’s. Vintage Wine Taster Mike has some very nice things to say about the Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc and the Zumaya from Spain. Joe also likes the TJ Rosé from the Napa Valley and an interesting find at the Whole Foods Market in San Mateo.
Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc 2011 – $7 Trader Joe’s Mike’s PickValley of the Moon Pinot Blanc is a well-structured, medium-bodied Pinot. This varietal is not commonly bottled, but is often used in blending for sparkling wines. This Pinot Blanc has a wonderful stone fruit and lemon peel on the palate, with complementing acidity making the wine very drinkable. This is a break from typical Chardonnay that is often too heavy in fruit and malolactic flavors. This is an excellent buy at Trader Joe’s @ $7 a bottle. I have almost a full case and it will be consumed into the early fall with friends and guests. I am rating this one at a very strong 88 Points.
Zumaya Tempranillo 2011 Ribera del Duero – $7 Trader Joe’s Mike’s PickZumaya Tempranillo 2011 from Ribera del Duero is a solid buy if you want to drink basic Tempranillo from a top-growing area in Spain. The vineyard source is from vines under 25 years in age. The wine was stainless steel fermented and given only two months in oak before bottling. The result is a dark purple wine with red fruit flavors and earthy aromas. Zumaya also makes a Crianza which sees two years in wood. This is a good representation of a youthful style of Tempranillo. Well worth trying. 86 Points
Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Napa Valley Rosé 2012 – $6.99
I wish that I had tried this wine earlier last month, I would have entered it into my blind tasting of Rosé wines this past week. I think it may have done quite well among our Vintage Wine Tasters. This wine is totally dry with very nice red berry characteristics. It is refreshing throughout and definitely a great buy at this price. Those who are really into Rosé wines may think this wine lacks depth, but the average wine drinker who does not often drink Rosé will find this wine extremely enjoyable. According to a TJ blurb on this wine, it is made by a famous Napa Valley winery, but the name of the winery must be kept “Hush, hush.” That is part of the deal. 87 Points
Horse and Plow 2011 Farmstead Red North Coast – $14.99 Whole Foods Market
The Farmstead Red is made from organic grapes selected from old vine vineyards, probably in Mendocino. It definitely tastes like a Rhone-style blend, not robust, a touch of earthiness, and lots of fruit flavors in the mouth, and some spice to top it off. This is a really good food wine because it has so many flavors while not overpowering. You might just enjoying sipping this wine on its own. This wine elsewhere sells for as high as $21.95. Delightful wine! If you are shopping at a Whole Foods, add it to your basket and you will not regret it. 88 Points.