Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trader Joe's Premium Merlot Face-Off!! $$ Black Label Lot 50 and Platinum Label Lot 59 = BEST and GOOD VALUES

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for best-priced Oakville Merlot.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for best-priced Spring Mountain Merlot.

By way of background:  Trader Joe's offers some interesting wines with high potential value in its "Lot" series, including special "Grand Reserve" lots that are labeled with black labels (premium lots) and platinum labels (super premium lots).  Today, we will sample two merlots from these premium series - let's call it a Trader Joe's Premium Merlot Face-Off!!


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Original tasting and review : This is Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Black Label Lot 50 Merlot, Oakville, Napa Valley, 2012, finished at 14.7% alcohol and first sampled 3 years from vintage date, in May, 2015.

In the glass: Deep mahogany, opaque from a half inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows deep, sturdy, well-oaked classic merlot fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be structured, purple, deep and bright.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact fleshy, bold, aromatically intense, bringing purple and sweet blackberry across your palate.  Finish doesn't merely move forward, but truly glides to a sleek, slow, gentle fade.  Slowly erases to a single pinpoint of light, beckoning you back for another sip.

In summary: Overall, rates an impressive four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and is easily cataloged as a "best value" at its price point.

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Original tasting and review : This is Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Platinum Label Lot 59 Merlot, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, 2012, finished at 14.7% alcohol and first sampled 3 years from vintage date, in May, 2015.

In the glass: Dark mahogany, opaque close to the edge.

On the nose: Poured at room temperature and swirled vigorously, shows slightly shy but perky fruit.  The aromas hides any hints of what will be in the sip.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact showing shy fruit - as in the nose - but with broad, bright acids and lightly grippy tannins.  For flavors, think just-ripened blackberries and hints of red raspberry.  Sits with the acids for a very long finish.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a big plus for the implied future potency, given the backup acids and tannins and clear efforts of solid fruit to break through.   Good value on the Spirit of Wine scale.

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for best-priced Oakville Merlot.
Check out today's pricing and retail availability for best-priced Spring Mountain Merlot.

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