The Trader Joe’s Sonoma County Brut Rosé is a $9.99 blend of 84% Pinot Noir and 16% Pinot Meunier produced for TJ’s by Rack and Riddle, a custom Sparkling Wine facility located in Sonoma, California. Pinot Meunier is a grape that is routinely used in Champagne, but does not get star billing like the other two Champagne grapes, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This is a Brut wine, which indicates this is a dry (not sweet). All wine with bubbles is a Sparkling Wine, French Champagne is a Sparkling Wine, Italian Prosecco is a Sparkling Wine, Spanish Cava is a Sparkling Wine, etc. Sonoma County has an excellent reputation for Pinot Noir grapes. The TJ’s Sonoma County Brut Rosé is made with the Traditional Methode, the same process as used in Champagne. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
*** Wine Info*** Pinot translates to pine cone, the grape clusters are thought to resemble pine cones. Pinot Noir is Pinot Dark referring to the color of the grapes. Pinot Gris/Grigio is Pinot Grey, Gris is French and Grigio is Italian, though the grapes are seldom actually grey. Pinot Blanc is Pinot White, but the grapes are a variety of colors. Pinot Meunier is a little more complicated. Meunier is a French word for the white powder leftover from the wheat milling process and the leaves of the Pinot Meunier vine look to have white powder on them.
The color is this Bubbly is amber pink with loads of tiny energetic bubbles. The nose is mix of lemon/lime soda, strawberry, a hint of bakery bread and a soft floral edge. This Sparkling Wine is an enticing mix of soft rounded fruit flavors with tart fruit and brisk acidity. It tastes of pink grapefruit, tart apple, strawberry, a touch of yeasty bread (light, not too heavy) and sour cherry. The acidity gives this Bubbly a crisp, refreshing nature and it has enough body to work well with food. The finish is crisp and of good length.
The Trader Joe’s Sonoma County Brut Rosé is a very tasty Bubbly and at ten bucks is 1/3 the price of the cheapest Champagne on store shelves. So, you have to ask yourself, what kind of party are you throwing? A small intimate affair where only top-notch Champagne will do or the kind of shindig where you can have 3 times and more likely 4 or 5 times the Bubbly with Trader Joe’s Sonoma County Brut Rosé. You can never have too much Bubbly (except in the morning when your aching head tells you otherwise). I LOVE Champagne, but entry-level Champagne isn’t noticeably that much of an improvement. That isn’t saying anything bad about entry-level Champagne, it is more that Bubbly, such as this, is that good.