The Trader Joe’s Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2020 Lot 229 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. The Sta. Rita Hills AVA (pronounced Santa Rita Hills) is located inside the Santa Ynez Valley AVA which is inside the Santa Barbara County AVA which is part of the Central Coast AVA.
It is called the Sta. Rita Hills because a large Chilean winery is already called Santa Rita so they changed the spelling to avoid confusion. The Sta. Rita Hills is one of the coolest climate growing areas in California and its ancient solid is unique to the region.
The area in Santa Barbara (100 miles north of Los Angeles) juts out into the Pacific Ocean giving it cool breezes on 3 sides. Sta. Rita has an east/west orientation while all the rest of the California coastal growing regions are situated north/south.
The Trader Joe’s Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2020 Lot 229 is produced for TJ’s by Precision Wine Company which produces high-end wines along with private brands. Trader Joe’s released a Platinum Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir in 2020 which sold for $14.99.
I am focusing on the growing region because as usual Trader Joe’s does not offer information about the Trader Joe’s Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2020 Lot 229. The best info they offer is tasting notes that describe vanilla and hazelnut flavors. Man, we could figure that out for ourselves!
The vanilla suggests American oak aging and the hazelnut could be malolactic fermentation and or French oak. Sta. Rita Hills is a top Pinot Noir growing area, Sea Smoke, is maybe the most coveted California Pinot Noir and it comes from here. The AVA is also known for Chardonnay, but Pinot Noir vines are six times as plentiful as Chardonnay vines. The alcohol content is 13.5%. You read right. Thirteen point five!
The Trader Joe’s Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2020 Lot 229 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red. Pretty! The nose is black cherry, maraschino cherries, herbs, black pepper, jimmy jammy raspberry, a hit of spice, and lightly floral. The Trader Joe’s Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2020 Lot 229 is deliciously tart and hella juicy, with a very cool mix of a little smooth and a little rough. Texture-wise.
This Pinot Noir tastes like tart cherry (ever so slightly candied), black pepper, strawberry Twizzlers, herbs, and plums. The mid-palate brings some rough-edged spice, a little vanilla, raisins, and tart cranberry. This Pinot Noir has an interesting mix of sweet and tart flavors. The tannins are sweet and the acidity is nicely balanced.
- The Trader Joe’s Reserve Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2020 Lot 229 is an interesting and fairly complex Pinot Noir for ten bucks.
- It does not taste like a classic California Pinot Noir, but it has flavors that draw you in.