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The Trader Joe’s Reserve Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2021 is a $9.99 TJ’s exclusive. This wine was “produced and bottled by” Bozzano and Company. That indicates that they actually made the wine and used grapes from their vineyards or contracted grapes they control. They produce several brands seen on Trader Joe’s shelves.
It is rare to see the actual producing winery on the back of a Trader Joe’s Reserve label, they typically are shell companies incorporated just for that one line or series of wine. The Bozzano website lists wines that have sold at Trader Joe’s, so if you like those wines you stand a good chance of enjoying this Pinot Noir.
Santa Barbara County is about an hour north of Los Angeles (depending on traffic) and should be too warm to produce Pinot Noir grapes, but a triangle-shaped section juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The grape growing areas have cold ocean water to the north and the south. The interior regions have mountains to catch and contain the cold air or valleys that allow the cool breezes in.
The TJ’s Reserve wines like Grand Reserve, Platinum Reserve, etc. are some of my favorite Reserve wines. It was a very inexpensive way, never more than $12.99, to sample Santa Barbara wine. I learned, on the cheap, that these Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay’s are some of my favorites from California.
The alcohol content is a stiff 14.7% which is ripe for Pinot Noir, it was only a few years ago that Pinot Noir aficionados would be scandalized if the alcohol was above 12.5%. The best Pinots are subtle, deep, and complex and it is hard to pull that off with a high alcohol content. But that does not mean it cannot be a very drinkable Pinot Noir and after all, it is a ten-dollar wine.
The Trader Joe’s Reserve Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2021 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is cherries, herbs, pepper, mushroom, plum, interesting spice, and a light floral edge. The Trader Joe’s Reserve Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2021 bright, spicy Pinot Noir with good length, the flavors stick with you.
This Pinot Noir tastes like cherry, black pepper, and a dose of sharp-edged spice, and raspberry. The mid-palate shows orange zest (this is a spicey Pinot), a hint of vanilla cream, tart cranberry, a touch of herbs, and dried strawberry.
Make sure you allow this wine to open fully so the spice calms down and becomes balanced. The tannins are light but have a nice rough edge. The acidity allows the flavors to completely unfold.
- The Trader Joe’s Reserve Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2021 may not be for everyone, but those who like a bit of spice are going to be very happy.
- The spice does subside with time and a good bit of swirling, a little effort will bring rewards.