Château Poyanne Bordeaux 2014

This Bordeaux Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Couldn’t find the exact percentage, but I’m going to guess heavier on the Merlot than the Cab because of the nose and flavor profile.  It’s a very inexpensive wine, so don’t let’s expect the Halleluja Chorus to start playing in our heads (or from our taste buds) when we take a sip.

Winemaker: Château Poyanne
Wine: Grand Vin de Bordeaux Cuvée Prestige
Varietal: Red Blend
Vintage: 2014
Appellation:  Bordeaux, France
Price:  $5.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  The Château Poyanne is purplish in color with a bouquet that smells of candied plum with hints of turpentine and fennel.  It was medium bodied and had bracing acidity.  Tannins were medium, and alcohol was at 13%.  For me it was a simple flavor profile of plum and pepper.  I think it would be OK with say … a turkey burger or something along those lines.

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25 Inexpensive Wines From Trader Joe’s

It’s always a good feeling to reach a goal.  Some months ago I set a goal of tasting 25 inexpensive wines from my local Trader Joe’s.  In the interim, my liver and my taste buds have been put to the test.  Ha!  With the posting on Sauvignon de Seguin Bordeaux 2012, I have made it across the finish line!!

Now even though I’ve reached my goal, I’m not swearing off drinking wines from Trader Joe’s.  No, no!  But I thought after 25, I should take a breather and – more importantly – a moment to reflect on the wines.  And in reflecting back, I’m going to do something uncharacteristic for this blog – I’m going to rate them, kinda.  Not on a point system or a buy/don’t buy.  I don’t do that here because I’m a wine enthusiast not a wine pro.  But I am going to identify what for me were the top 5 wines out of the 25 I tried.  Why?  Well, why did the Apollo astronauts put a flag on the moon?  In part, as a record of the journey!   So here goes …

1.  Château Haut Blaignan Bordeaux 2011

2.  Red Truck Red Wine 2009

3.  Sauvignon de Seguin Bordeaux 2011

4.  Alamos Malbec 2012

5.  Roccadoro (Castellani) Grifone Primitivo 2011

If you want to read the notes about my experience with each, you can click through using the link on the wine’s name.  I realize there is just one white wine represented in the 5.  The Joseph Händler Riesling 2012 almost made this list but just missed the top 5.  And if I were doing top 10, the Contadino Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2012  and the Trader Joe’s Viñas Chilenas Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2012 would have been contenders.  But my top 5 out of 25 are heavily red and broadly international with 2 French, 1 Italian, 1 Argentinian, and 1 Californian.

For those of you who are visiting oenophilogical for the first time, this is not a blog about the wines at Trader Joe’s.  Far from it!  Scroll down this site, and you’ll see what I mean.  For those of you who are Trader Joe’s shoppers, however, the other wines from TJ’s I’ve swigged so far are listed below – in no particular order.  If I’ve missed your favorite(s), please drop me a note here.  I’m always grateful for recommendations!

OK, then!  Here’s wishing you many good wine adventures!

La Granja 360 Tempranillo 2011
Trader Joe’s Coastal Syrah 2011
Gaetano D’Aquino Orvieto Classico 2012
La Ferme Julien Vin Blanc 2011
Archeo Ruggero di Tasso Nero d’Avola 2011
Trader Joe’s Viñas Chilenas Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2012
Villa Cerrina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011
Contadino Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2012
Trader Moon, Honey Moon Viognier 2011
Gaetano D’Aquino Sangiovese di Toscana 2010
Joseph Händler Riesling 2012
Coppola Red Label Zin 2010
Les Portes de Bordeaux Bordeaux 2009
Terrenal Chardonnay 2012
Le Grotte Lambrusco dell’Emilia Bianco Dolce
Rocca del’Olmo Barbera d’Asti 2010
Hans Lang Edition Maximilian Pinot Noir 2009
Panilonco Merlot-Malbec Reserva 2011
Purple Moon Shiraz 2011
Albero Tempranillo 2010

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Sauvignon de Seguin Bordeaux 2012

Although the makers of wine follow many time-tested methods, it is a dynamic, modern business with all that includes.  This wine was created by a company called Carl Wine.  Carl Wine, which was owned by a Danish shipbuilding family, had been working in Bordeaux for roughly 25 years and exporting much of their product throughout Scandinavia.  In early 2013, however, Bwine (the Mottet family) bought that company and it’s assets.  Of course, fascinating as that may be, what mattered most when I popped the cork was what was in the bottle!

Winemaker:  Chateau de Seguin
Wine:  Sauvignon de Seguin Bordeaux, Selectionné par Carl Wine
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Bordeaux AOC, France
Price:  $6.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  In the glass this white Bordeaux was a pale straw yellow.  On the nose I caught scents of citrus, tropical fruit, floral notes (gardenia?), and … sweat.  Yes, that’s right sweat.  Don’t worry: it was really quite faint.  After the initial surprise of recognizing “that” scent, it didn’t bother me.  After all, there are tasty tropical fruits with some pretty crazy aromas!  On the tongue it’s a light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with nice bright acidity.  Flavors for me were lemon and sweet papaya, some green melon rind and a touch of grapefruit on the finish.  There were also some very light hints of spice.  Alcohol is at 12.5%.  In my opinion, it’s a light, lively white with some interesting flavors.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Les Portes de Bordeaux Bordeaux 2009

Since I’ve been picking up bottles of vino one or two at a time at my local Trader Joe’s, the staff are beginning to recognize me.  We aren’t on a first name basis, but they are beginning to be more open with recommendations as I pore over the shelves and look for new wines I want to try.  I had this particular wine recommended multiple times by different staff members as I considered my options.  Thus, the last time I was in, I grabbed a bottle.

Winemaker:  Les Portes de Bordeaux (SAVAS)
Varietal:  Red Blend
Wine:  Grand Vin de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Supérieur)
Vintage:  2009
Appellation:  Bordeaux AOC, France
Price:  $5.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  With all the positive comments and recommendations, I may have built up somewhat higher expectations than I should for a wine at this price.  I found it a rather simple, uncomplicated, easy-sipping Bordeaux.  No duh, you say?  Well, now don’t be mean!  It was a very deep garnet in the glass.  On the nose I found cherry and blackberry fruit with light hints of plum and spice.  On the palate, I encountered a very soft light-bodied wine.  When I say soft, what I mean is that if it had been a heavier offering, it would have felt plush on the tongue.  But with little heft, it was … soft.  Flavors for me were cherry, blackberry, plum notes, sprinkles of pepper, and oak.  There are no tannins to speak of, but the finish has a little grassy zip right on the end.  Acidity seemed a bit under but fine, and alcohol is at 13%.  Imported by Latitude Wines from the large French vintner SAVAS, I found it difficult to get an authoritative determination of what this pleasant Bordeaux is  made from – i.e. the specific blend.  I found reports of percentage ratios at 60/40 and 80/20 Merlot to Cabernet Sauvignon on the web.  The SAVAS site only gives the 2006 info – which was 80 Merlot, 10 Cabernet Franc, and 10 Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you know for certain, please post a comment and share!

Château Haut Blaignan Bordeaux 2011

Peck_CHBMedoc2011This time I’m taking a quick day-trip by bottle from Germany into the Bourdeaux countryside for a bit of Vin Rouge de Médoc.  In fact, I understand that the area around Blaignan has some of the oldest vineyards in the Bordeaux region.  I have been trying to get additional info on this winemaker, but have had difficulty scaring up more than what you see here.  I could find a website for Château Blaignan, but they are clearly a different enterprise.  If you have something on Château Haut Blaignan, please share it.

Winemaker:  Château Haut Blaignan (Earl Brochard-Cahier proprieter)
Wine: Grand Vin de Bordeaux
Vintage: 2011
Appellation:  Médoc, France AOC
Price:  $6.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  What an interesting ride this little red took me on.  On first pour it was like a green bronco bucking it’s way across the palate.  I thought I was in for quite a ride, indeed.  But after 10-15 mins. to breathe, it settled down like the family’s favorite mare.  That isn’t meant negatively.  In the glass the wine is a very dark, inky plum color.  On the nose I detected blackberry, plum and violets with notes of spice and the Mare’s barnyard.  The spice and barnyard dissipate quite a bit with oxidation on both the nose and palate.  Flavors for me in this fairly light-bodied wine were blackberry, red plum, and black pepper with hints of moss and earthiness.  Light tannins bring menthol to the fairly long finish.  Alcohol is 13%  and acidity is good.  What I’d really like to know and why I tried researching this selection is the specific blend of grapes used.  I know that Bordeaux makers often use Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc in their “mixology.”  What I am keen on finding out is the percentage of each in this wine.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.