onx_moonThe Onx Moon Dark Red Blend (the label reads MOONX) is a non-vintage $6.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. It is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrah sourced from more than one California grape growing AVA and made for Trader Joe’s by one of the larger wineries in Lodi, California. The Onx Moon is one of the popular “Dark”  Red blends, such as Apothic Dark, which are valued priced versions of the cult favorite Prisoner Red Blend. These are wines using grapes that are picked when they are very ripe, giving these blends lush, extracted, rich (some say over-the-top) fruit flavors. The Prisoner sells for around $35 and the Onx Moon for $7, so we will see TJ’s bargain wine stacks up. This wine is aged for 6 months in oak barrels, which is uncommon at this price. The alcohol content is 13.5%.

The color is an opaque, horror film blood-red. The nose is subdued, plum, blackberry, oak spice, dark chocolate and cherry. This is a smooth, sleek Red, with dark berry flavors, I was expecting this to be a jammy fruit-bomb, but it is actually pretty balanced. It tastes of blackberry, black cherry and Snickers chocolate. The mid-palate adds cranberry, a little pepper and a cooling hit of blueberry. The tannins are smooth and the acidity stays in the background.  The finish is the same as the body of the wine and lingers for some time.

The Onx Moon Dark Red Blend was not what I expected, yes it has dark berry flavors, but it is balanced and far leaner than you expect in a $6.99 wine. It is easy to make a fat, fruity wine, it is much harder to produce a rich, but balanced Red. The Onx Moon is an extremely tasty, Tuesday night wine, soft and smooth, but with a nice mix of flavors (and the Snickers chocolate is a plus) and good structure. This is more of a sipping wine than a food wine, the acidity and tannins are a bit too muted. It would work with pizza and burgers, but it is best sipped while watching Walking Dead or your favorite show.

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.