The 2010 Trader Joe’s Reserve Knights Valley Meritage is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. Knights Valley is an AVA located in the far eastern edge of Sonoma County, California, it is the warmest AVA in Sonoma and features volcanic soil and is well known for producing Red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. The term Meritage indicates that this is a Red wine blend using only the grapes approved to be used in the wines of Bordeaux, France (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Carmenere and Petit Verdot). The wine is cellared and bottled, meaning they may have aged the wine for a while and then bottled the wine, but did not grow the grapes or produce the wine, by Behind the Scene Wine Company, Napa, California. There is an Underground Wine Company (the also produce Xwinery wines) in Napa, that calls itself the” behind the scene custom wine producer”. Since the listed winery only bottled the wine, another winery fermented the grapes and possibly grew the grapes, Trader Joe’s does not even give the wine blend, maybe if we knew the blend we could tell who made the wine. The alcohol content is 14.1%.
The color is ruby red with black highlights and a salmon pink halo. The nose is blueberry, roasting coffee bean, new mown hay, vanilla and chocolate brownie. It starts off with blueberry/cranberry juice, extracted licorice, POM Wonderful and a little oak spice. The mid palate brings some dusty tannins, the crust of creme brulee and blackberry fruit roll ups. The acidity is plentiful, but reasonably balanced and it helps the finish to linger for quite some time.
The 2010 Trader Joe’s Reserve Knights Valley Meritage is a nicely complex and textured for a wine selling for under $10. The flavor profile is a bit on the tart/sour side, but it does contrast nicely with the supporting flavors. I do not know who originally produced this wine and I don’t care, because they were not about to sell this Meritage for $9.99 under their own label. Anytime you can pick up a wine sourced from a single premium AVA for under ten bucks, you should jump on it. I do not want to say that a wine from a single AVA is always better than a wine sourced from a larger AVA or even from California, there are too many variables to make a blanket statement. But, drinking a wine from a small sub-AVA is as much a learning experience as it is an enjoyable experience and any time you can learn something while getting your wine on, is the best of both worlds.