50692-spiral-redThe 2011 Spiral Wines California Red blend is a $5.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive, made for them by private label producer Fior di Sole, Napa, California. The blend is 58% Merlot, 15% Petite Sirah, 16% Zinfandel and 11% Syrah sourced from grapes grown in more than one California grape growing AVA. Trader Joe’s offered  a $4.99 Spiral Wines Cabernet Sauvignon for 2010 that did a pretty good job for the price. It is a little easier to produce a decent Blend (either Red or White), because with some careful choosing of the grapes you can cover up any flaws the grapes may have and build a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts. With a single varietal wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, 75% of the wine must consist of that grape, so there is only so much you can fix in the mix. With the grapes used for the Spiral Red, this should be a fruit forward Red with a little spice kick. The alcohol content is 13.9%.

The color is clear see-thru plum red with an almost clear halo. The nose is dark berries, a touch of herbs and mushroom, licorice and a whiff of vanilla. This Red blend tastes of a stew of blackberry and raspberry along with a light brush of dark chocolate and curry spice. The mid palate has stronger flavors than the main body of the wine and adds a hit Altoids spice and strawberry. The tannins are felt, but mainly stay out of the way and the acidity is light. The finish is propelled by the spice and while not strong, does last for a fairly long time.

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The 2011 Spiral Wines California Red is a decent, no excuses, 6 buck wine. It has a lot of flavor, though I am not sure if I would exactly call it tasty, and has enough spice and texture to make things interesting, which is way more than you can expect in a $5.99 wine.There are wines selling at twice the price that do not deliver as much, though to be honest, most top notch $12 wines are a bit fuller and more well rounded than the Spiral Wines Red. But just the same, the Spiral Wines California Red will give you more than 6 dollars worth of wine enjoyment.


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