The Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Meritage 2020 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive Red blend. According to the Fearless Flyer, the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, the only Bordeaux-approved grape missing is Malbec.
A Meritage Red blend, which rhymes with heritage, is a wine that is based on the classic Bordeaux blend of France. In California, there is a Meritage Association dedicated to the promotion and research of these wines. Winemakers pay a fee of $500 per label to use the Meritage name on the label.
The North Coast AVA is comprised of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake County as well as a couple of very small AVAs. The Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Meritage 2020 was produced by Bozzano & company, a custom winemaker out of the Central Coast AVA.
The Meritage name on the label strongly suggests that this red blend is made in the French style, a leaner more balanced Red than the fruit-forward wines typical of Northern California. In warm vintages in France, the Bordeaux blends resemble the juicy California wines. Global warming is blurring the differences.
A Trader Joe’s Reserve wine (not platinum or diamond Reserve) should be comparable to a $15 to $20 wine. I would expect most of the grapes for the Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Meritage 2020 to come from Mendocino, Lake County, and maybe Sonoma. To be a North Coast wine it only needs two AVAs in the bottle. The alcohol content is a healthy 14.6%.
The Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Meritage 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is deep dark purple with black highlights. The nose is jammy blackberry, blueberry, oak spice, roses in bloom, black coffee, and plum. The Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Meritage 2020 is smooth, rich, and dark.
This Red blends tastes like blackberry, licorice, ripe blueberry, herbs, and black pepper. The mid-palate shows faint bitter dark chocolate, raspberry, a slightly rough-edged spice, and juicy plum. The tannins are in the mix but do not pull or bite and the acidity is well-balanced.
- The Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Meritage 2020 is a tasty Red blend.
- This is more sitting around the fire pit wine than the heat of the summer wine.
- It is a California red blend with a nod to Bordeaux, but there is more California in the bottle than France.