The 2011 Liberte’ Pinot Noir is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive, sourced from Estate vineyards in San Luis Obispo County in the southern part of the Central Coast grape growing AVA in California. The Liberte’ label and the winery, Familia Nueva is owned by Ancient Peaks Winery (Paso Robles), they have produced some of Trader Joe’s best exclusive label wines. Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer indicates that the grapes used are not purchased grapes, but grapes grown in Ancient Peaks/Familia Nueva owned vineyards. Ancient Peaks own wines are sourced from their Paso Robles vineyard, while the Liberte’ bottle shows the larger San Luis Obispo County as the growing area, Trader Joe’s does mention Paso Robles as the vineyard source. San Luis Obispo is known as an excellent AVA for growing Pinot Noir grapes. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is a clear, shiny cranberry red. The nose is delicate and slightly complex, cherry, cigar leaf, a whiff of smoke and a mix of savory herbs. It tastes of black cherry, Red Man chewing tobacco and sweet strawberries in cream. The mid palate adds herbal tea, plum, French vanilla and a brush of the dusty tannins. The acidity gives a slightly fizzy sensation but is generally balanced and the finish while subdued, does not go away.
The Liberte’ Pinot Noir is a fruit forward Pinot, but with a nice splash of the complex, off beat flavors and textures Pinot Noir is known for. This is a really good ten buck Pinot Noir, it favors fruit flavors to Pinot funk, but it shows excellent length, there is a good backbone that allows the flavors to unfold. The Liberte’ is a “no issues,” tasty, reasonably complex, extremely well priced Pinot Noir. Five years ago, a $10 real Pinot Noir was as likely to be found as a unicorn, today they are almost common.