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The Trader Joe’s Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2020 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. TJ’s sells many versions of these Reserve wines every year. They are wines sourced from vineyards in high-end AVAs that sell at a bargain price. You never get much information on the wine, so just how exclusive these vineyards are never known.
The 2020 vintage in the Dry Creek AVA of Sonoma County brings a new element to the conversation, fire and smoke. California fires hit just around harvest time, and Dry Creek was heavily affected by smoke. The grapes can absorb chemicals from the smoke, which will change the flavors in the grapes.
Again, Trader Joe’s does not give out technical information about these wines, so I do not know if the grapes used come from an affected area. One way to reduce the smoke contamination in grapes is to reduce skin contact during the production process. A Rosé has limited skin contact, just enough to turn the color pink and young wine; this is a 2020 vintage Red in the fall of 2021, has less contact than wine with some age.
You would expect a ZInfandel on sale in September 2021 to be at least 2019 vintage. WIne drinkers expect a decent amount of oak barrel aging with their Zinfandel wine. Zinfandel does make good Rosé wine and will work as a young wine, but a typical bottle has oak aging.
So is this a young wine that uses premium grapes, or is this a reclamation project? Either way will make for an interesting wine, and I am not sure we will decide based on taste. If the grapes had mild smoke taint and the winemaker did the proper tricks of the trade, it should taste fine. The alcohol content is a ripe 14.8%.
Trader Joe’s Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2020 Tasting Notes
The Trader Joe’s Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2020 is ripe, sleek, and refined. The color is see-thru raspberry jam red with black highlights. The nose is ripe and intense, blackberry, ripe plum, spice, a little vanilla, mint, cherry, and black pepper.
It tastes like rich blackberry and sharp spice, chocolate powder, and a shot of black pepper. The mid-palate offers slightly sour cherry, orange zest, vanilla cream, and dusty tannins. This is a solid food wine the burnt ends of good BBQ always work with Zinfandel, also burgers, burritos, and any spicy pork or beef dish.
- The Trader Joe’s Reserve Dry Creek Zinfandel 2020 is a great tasting ten buck ZIn.
- I was not expecting to taste smoke, the vineyard owner have a great deal of pride in their grapes and would not allow damaged grapes to reach the public and hurt their legacy.
- But did the fires and the smoke play some role with this wine? It is possible.
- But have no fear with this Zinfandel, it drinks very well.