The VINTJS Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a $8.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from grapes grown by a large Willamette Valley, Oregon grower and produced for TJ’s by ABJ Wines (probably a shell company) from Geyserville, California. This is a negociant wine (meaning they buy surplus wine from existing wineries and sell under their own label) and which vineyards grew the grapes and who ABJ actually is is kept hidden as part of the contract agreement, but if you Google “Geyserville winery” you can find some likely suspects. Willamette Valley Pinot Noir rarely sells in this price range, the Pinot Noir grape is hard to grow and does well in only very specific conditions, plus making a proper Pinot Noir involves very exacting procedures, and none of that comes cheap. They also want to be seen a premium wine region and in the wine world you don’t get that respect by selling $10.99 wines (though I personally have a great deal of respect for anyone who produces a killer inexpensive wine). So, if you see a 9 buck Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, grab it, what do you have to lose? The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a crystal clear garnet red, very pretty. The nose is cherry, crushed autumn leaves, red licorice, a faint hint of smoke, and a little black pepper. This is a light to medium-bodied Pinot, with solid structure. It tastes of cherries, tart cranberry, cigar tobacco and spice. The mid-palate shows some dusty tannins, a little orange rind and pepper. The acidity is excellent, giving the flavors plenty of time to unfold. The finish is subtle, but never really goes away.
The VINTJS Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is crazy good for a 9 buck Pinot. Tons of flavor and well-made and did I mention it sells for $8.99? Willamette Valley is my absolute favorite Pinot Noir growing region (sorry Burgundy) and the VINTJS does not disappoint. Point Noir is probably the #1 recommended wine to pair with Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham. You can spend more for a fine quality holiday meal Pinot Noir, but the VINTJS proves 9 bucks will do just nicely.