The 2010 St. Donatus Estate Balatonboglari Semi-Sweet Merlot is a Trader Joe’s ($5.49) exclusive. Balatonboglari is a resort town on a lake in western Hungary, which is right in the middle of one of Hungary’s leading wine districts. The Hungarians have been making wine for at least 1,500 years and they tend to like their red wine a little on the sweet side. This Merlot was aged for a time in oak barrels and has a relatively low alcohol content of 11.5%.
The color is a cherry red with orange highlights. The nose is a little musty, plum and cherry, along with damp cardboard box. This is not your typical Merlot, the label says Semi-Sweet, but in a juicy fresh fruit way, not in a sugary way. Not a complex wine and light to medium bodied. It starts off with jammy raspberry, with a little dark chocolate and then it transitions to a slightly astringent, medical taste, I know that sounds bad, but I think I kind of like it. There are no tannins to speak of and the acidity is low. The finish is the same as the body of the wine and does linger for a while.
The St Donatus Merlot is definitely not a wine made for the American palate, this is a wine that folks sitting around the table in Budapest drink on tuesday night. This is one of the wines that make me really appreciate Trader Joe’s, at most regular wine shops, the wines from eastern Europe are gathering dust on some shelf in the back of the store. Trader Joe’s sells the bottle for under 6 bucks and sells out their allotment every year. Hungarian Merlot may not be my new go-to wine, but I sure am glad I gave it a try.
7 comments on “2010 St. Donatus Estate Balatonboglari Merlot”
Such surprise. I do not like sweet wine. But there is a unique elegance about this wine. One could drink this bu it self before and even after dinner. Leaves you with clean crisp organically sweet taste. The low acidity adds value and sophistication is hard to see one could buy this bellow $6 at Trader Joe’s. My sincere thanks to this stores wine buyers. They introduce unique affordable cultural and international taste of wine to us in USA.
I personally don’t like sweet wines either. But something about this taste gives me joy. A nice wine with a smooth finish. One of my favorites.
Easy to drin, I went back 3 times for a new case, Nem azért vettem mert magyar bor, nagyon ízlik .
Nice wine for all palates. I usually drink drier wines, but this one is too flavorful to pass. We’re on second case now.
I love this wine. I buy a case of it every time I can make it to the cities to a Trader Joe’s. It is a mild sweet wine, not surgery, very smooth, and does not bother my acid reflux. Love this stuff. Thank you to the buyers of Traders Joes!!!!
Discovered this wine a few years ago at Trader Joe’s. Always grab a bottle of it when we shop there. This wine is a palatably pleasant joy for under six bucks!
Your statement that the Hungarians (Magyars) have making wine for 1,500 years is erroneous. The Magyars entered the Danube basin in 896 AD, only 1,125 years ago. Before that they, my ancestors, were trekking westward from somewhere east of the Ural mountains, not tending vineyards.
However, this is a great wine for the price.