(August 20, 2011) Here’s a new tasty private label from Trader Joes. VINTJS is just for pinot noir and comes in three 2009 vintage AVA flavors. At 9 bucks these are great pinot noir value wines for the everyday table.
This retailer has been bottling wine and marketing it under various novelty labels in California for a number of years now. We found three varieties of this pinot noir on our shelves locally here in the South Bay area of San Francisco — Pinot Noir, Willammette Valley, Oregon 2009 ; Pinot Noir San Luis Obispo County, 2009; Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, 2009.
We stocked up on the Willamette Valley – elegant, good fruit acid balance. We also picked up some of the San Luis Obispo – more forward berry, also some of the tobacco notes characteristic of SLO County. We found the Santa Lucia Highlands to be rather “off” and did not purchase more of it.
We applaud Trader Joe’s for moving beyond just “California” and varietals and into regional level bottlings. We found that the Willamette Valley and San Luis Obispo were good representatives of the terroir in those regions.
Have you tried these? What do you think?
There are websites devoted to Trader Joe’s wine. TJsWineNotes is one. Another is Trader Joe’s Wine Compendium. We neither endorse nor condemn the authors of these blogs, but if you regularly shop at Trader Joe’s for wine you should probably bookmark these pages.
(Update August 31, 2011) As far as we can tell, every Trader Joe’s in the bay area so sold out of the Willamette Valley pinot noir. Apparently the San Francisco Chronicle featured it in a wine column. A real shame and one of the few times TJ’s got the pricing wrong. They could have charged a couple of bucks more a bottle easy.
(Update: November 15, 2011) Trader Joe’s has is now merchandizing a TJ pinot noir from Edna Valley. That one is/was quite quaffable. Our local one was out of stock on our most recent visit.