The VINTJS Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's exclusive. The Sonoma Coast AVA runs along the California coast from the San Pablo Bay to Mendocino County to the north. The Sonoma Coast AVA is located in mountainous terrain, with most of the vineyards located high up in the foothills, well above the fog line. The area is prised for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.The Pacific Ocean cooling winds keep temperatures down, especially at night, though daytime temperatures can get warm. It also gets twice as much rainfall as the rest of Sonoma County.Excess rainfall is a problem for vineyards, too much rain can cause mold and disease. Rain during grape harvest can ruin the entire vintage. Winemakers want the grapes intense and concentrated, and rain can dilute the juice in the grapes.The VINTJS Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019 sells for $6.99, about one-third the price for an entry-level retail brand Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. CWF reviewed the 2018 vintage and had mixed feelings.There are only a handful of mostly boutique wineries in the AVA; most of the big-name producers of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir are located elsewhere and have contracts with the various vineyards.Often these Trader Joe's wines from high-end growing regions are one-off. Somebody received a good deal on grapes and/or finished wine and made a deal to pass along the savings through the Trader Joe's brand.The VINTJS Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019 is a reoccurring label that must have a steady source of grapes and/or finished wine at below market price. Sometimes wine had some technical problems, such as rain during harvest, so the resulting wine did not meet winery standards.In the past, I have suspected problem wines from famous makers ended up with a Trader Joe's label and a bargain price tag. Since we have the 2018 and 2019 vintage of the VINTJS Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019, that may not be the case.Let us head to the tasting section and see if I like the 2019 vintage better than the 2018 vintage. And see if I can figure out what this Pinot Noir is all about. The alcohol content is 13.8%.VINTJS Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019 Tasting NotesThe color is a see-thru garnet red, just like the expensive Pinot Noir. The nose is cherries, herbs, crushed dried fall leaves, pepper, ripe raspberry, spice, and a light floral edge. So far, so good.The VINTJS Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019 is half silky smooth and rough-edged; that alone is worth $6.99. I would not call this Pinot Noir delicious, but I am intrigued. I keep reaching for another sip.It tastes cherry, sharp, slightly bitter spice, cranberry, and a blast of black pepper. The mid-palate adds orange zest, cola, and ripe strawberry. The acidity is good, nice, and balanced. This is a $6.99 Pinot Noir that engages your palate.The SummaryI had mixed feeling about the 2018 vintage, but I like the VINTJS Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019It is a legitimate California Pinot Noir.A good Pinot Noir should make you think and maybe take a few sips before deciding if it is a yes or a no.
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