The Deep Valley Red Blend 2018 is a $5.99 Trader Joe's exclusive sourced from vineyards in Mendocino County. Deep Valley is not an AVA inside Mendocino, it is a local name for the region around the town of Ukiah.This Red blend, Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Syrah, was produced by the custom wine department of one of the oldest wineries in Mendocino. Since they didn't put their name on this wine I won't name them, but there is a national trademark registry website that lists the owner of brand names.Just because a well-known winery made a custom wine for a store such as Trader Joe's does not mean that the wine is something the winery would sell under their own name. Often the style of wine and the price point is dictated by the customer. The Custom wine department is making wine to the customer's specifications, The wine can be very different from their usual offerings, though I expect the quality to stay the same.Mendocino is north of Sonoma County and west of Lake County in the North Coast AVA. The coastal vineyards produce fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while the more inland valleys are known for Bordeaux and Rhone-style grapes.Normally I would think that $5.99 is a little too cheap for a full-bodied Red wine. But Trader Joe's has some price advantages over retail store wines. There is no advertising and marketing budget, they do not need the full distribution services, and they often pay for the wine upfront, which will get you a discount. So a Trader Joe's wine will match up with a retail wine selling for several dollars more.There is not any technical information available for the Deep Valley Red Blend 2018, but the back label says it is rich and bold and suggests pairing with stews and grilled steak. It is a 2018 vintage which would indicate it did not have extended oak aging, not that you would expect that at this price point.I read in Wine Folly that Petite Sirah, Merlot, and Syrah are some of the least expensive grapes to buy. They can make great wines, it is just that the demand is less than grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Seeing less expensive to buy but good quality grapes in an inexpensive Red blend is a good sign. They cut costs but in a way that does not affect quality. The alcohol content is 14.5%.Deep Valley Red Blend 2018 Tasting NotesThe color is a barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is bright red and dark berries, slightly herbal, with black pepper, oak spice, and spearmint. This is a fruit-forward and lightly spicy red blend.It starts with a mix of extracted blackberry and sweet/sour raspberry, followed by chocolate, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds ripe, soft plum, sharp spice, and black cherry. This a food wine, it sips fine, it isn't a delicious wine, but it tastes fine. But it will balance nicely with burgers, pizza, burritos, and such.The SummaryThe Deep Valley Red Blend 2018 is a legit $5.99 food wine.This is a sort of wine that you can pair with good carry-out food.Or just drink it, it is a solid Tuesday night just because wine.
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