The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2020 s a $12.99 TJ’s exclusive. The 2020 vintage is the 12th edition of this Pinot Noir, here is a link to a CWF review of the 1st edition, it was ten bucks then. Every Carneros Grand Reserve is Lot #23, so it seems all 12 vintages are linked.
The Carneros AVA is located north of the San Pablo Bay, half inside the Sonoma AVA and half inside the Napa AVA. They specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Carneros is east of most of the California Pinot Noir growing regions and it is the San Pablo Bay that allows a relatively inland location to have the proper climate for cool weather grapes.
The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2020 seems to be continuously sourced from the same vineyard or vineyards. There are 20 wineries and 8,000 acres of vines in Carneros. The vineyards are situated in two valleys, one in Sonoma and another valley in Napa.
It is not unusual for a vineyard to sell excess grapes or a winery to sell a surplus of wine. Companies such as Trader Joe’s pays cash on delivery for the wine which gives the winery much-appreciated cash flow. Also, Trader Joe’s wines do not compete directly with the winery’s original wine.
The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2020 gives folks an affordable taste ($12.99) of Carneros Pinot Noir. The 2020 vintage wines should sell in the $20 to $40 range with wines with more age or from more famous wineries selling for much more. The alcohol content is 14.5% which is high for a Pinot Noir.
The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is a clear, shiny garnet red. The nose is classic California Pinot, there is cherry, herbs, black pepper, dried fall leaves, mushroom, exotic spice, a hint of smoke, and ripe plum. The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2020 is sleek and smooth with a mix of ripe fruit and rough textures.
This Pinot Noir tastes like black cherry, black pepper, cranberry, herbs, and a strong slap of spice. The mid-palate offers orange zest, coffee grounds, blackberry, and sour cherry. This Pinot Noir has a good length and the acidity is well-balanced.
- The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2020 is real deal Carneros Pinot Noir at an excellent price.
- It had a little too much alcohol for my tastes, it was not “hot”, but a lighter touch with the alcohol may have opened up the flavors a bit more.
- It is ok to complain about a $30 Carneros Pinot having to much alcohol, with a $12.99 Pinot Noir don’t worry and just enjoy how good it tastes.