The 2009 Trader Joe’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir sells for $9.99, at least 85% of the grapes are grown in the Carneros AVA of California and the alcohol content is 13.9%, is about all I know for sure about this wine. This is a Trader Joe’s negociant wine, so who grew the grapes and who made the wine is not made available. The Carneros AVA is well known for producing quality and expensive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the least expensive Carneros Pinot’s sell closer to the $20 range. Carneros is located in both Napa Valley and Sonoma.
The color is a see thru, very crystal clear, raspberry jelly red. The nose is cherries, mossy forest floor, spearmint gum, chewing tobacco and chocolate mint Girl Scout cookies, all in all a pretty good Pinot nose. Red fruit upfront, cherry and raspberry and then strong herbal tea and curry spices kick in. The mid-palate adds a light taste of fudge brownie and cranberry/strawberry juice. The tannins, the acidity and the alcohol are all well balanced. The finish is red fruit and the curry spices and lasts for a very respectable amount of time.
Trader Joe’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir is well worth the ten bucks, it is actually a fairly interesting Pinot, not overly fruit forward like many Pinot Noir’s in the same price range, there is an intriguing nose and a challenging mix of flavors. I have come to expect $10 bottles of wine to be well made and drinkable and TJ’s Carneros Pinot Noir goes a step or two beyond that.