The Long Arm Lot 81 Paso Robles Red Blend is a $5.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. The wine is made by Familia Nueva, which is a label owned by Ancient Peaks Winery and used for their Trader Joe’s wines, which tend to be some of the better TJ’s California wines. This is a non vintage wine (using grapes grown in more than one year) and the usual reason for a wine to be non vintage, though not the only reason, is that some of the grapes used in the blend were aged for several months in oak barrels and other grapes were aged in stainless steel vats for a shorter period of time. There currently is not any information available concerning the grapes used in this blend or on how the wine was made. The alcohol content is 13.4%.
The color is a crystal clear, shiny strawberry jelly red. It has a light delicate nose, blueberries and vanilla and slightly dusty chocolate. A medium bodied wine with a silky mouthfeel. it starts off with black and blueberries, a hint of toffee and touch of Dr. Pepper. The mid palate shows a rougher edge with some Altoids spice, a little oak and a bit of a bite from the tannins, nothing major, just enough to let you know they are there. The acidity makes it presence know on the finish, nothing out of balance, just enough to let the mild finish linger awhile.
The Long Arm Lot 81 Red is a surprisingly good blend, at $5.99 you expect the wine to be fruit, fruit and more fruit, but the Long Arm Red has good fruit and good structure. It is not quite a Rhone blend, but then again Rhone blends don’t sell for six bucks either. This is a six buck wine that you would probably still buy if it sold for ten or twelve bucks.