The Moon X Black Pinot Noir 2014 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from grapes grown in more than one California grape growing AVA. Moon X and all the other TJ’s Moon wines are produced by Delicato Family Vineyards of Lodi, California, their brands include Gnarly Head, Bota Box (check out the Nighthawk Black, the best box wine I have tried), Noble Vines and several others. Black Pinot Noir isn’t a thing, the Pinot here is Red just like every other Pinot Noir you have had. What the Black signifies is a style of wine (you often will see Black or Dark on the label) that is modeled after popular wines such as The Prisoner Red Blend or more to the point here, Meomi Pinot Noir. These wines are rich, bold, and over-extracted, but are different from the big, bold Australian Shiraz of 5 or 6 years ago that were 15% or 16% alcohol, in that the alcohol content here is in the “normal” range of 13.5%.
The color is a dark, opaque black cherry red with black highlights. The nose is dark and brooding, you would not guess Pinot Noir if you were smelling this blind. The aromas include jammy raspberry, smoke, toasty vanilla, fudge and cherry. This is a medium-bodied wine, with a silky mouthfeel and rich fruit flavors. The Moon X Black is not over-the-top for a Red wine, but it is very bold when compared to a Burgundian style Pinot Noir. It starts with ripe, tart cherry, juicy plum, and licorice. The mid-palate shows a little cola, blueberry, and spice. The tannins do not get in the way and the acidity is well-balanced by the body of the wine. The finish is full and long.
If you pick-up a bottle of Moon X Black Pinot Noir 2014 looking for a classic Pinot Noir experience, you probably will not be very happy. But, if you paid attention to the “Black” in the title, then you will have a tasty, well-made Red wine that seriously over-delivers at $6.99.