Thursday, December 9, 2010

North Coast Brut Trader Joes Reserve 2008

$10 at Trader Joes. I picked it up because I've had some successes with Trader Joes recently, and I thought that perhaps this might be interesting since they only made 6k bottles. Wrong. It should be noted that the company that bottled this wine (and perhaps vinted it as well), Rack and Riddle, is a custom wine-making facility where you can bottle your own stuff or create your own blend out of what they have in their tanks. Maybe Trader Joe's buyer created this? Honestly, I feel for that person because they have a tough job. There is no denying there is a direct relationship between price and quality in wine up to a certain point. However, most people don't want to pony up for quality. I'm not saying that you should spend $20, $30, $50 or more on every bottle of wine, but the odds are that if you're willing to spend $10 on a bottle of wine instead of $5, you're going to get something demonstrably better. Of course the problem is, well, people don't want to do that. So what's Trader Joes to do? Yes, they have a lot of decent cheap wines, but they also have a lot of shitty ones, because cheap wine is, wine. It's cheap for a reason. $10 is really cheap for this wine since it was made with the traditional Methode Champenoise, which is labor intensive (although if you look at Rack and Riddle's blog, they seem to have gotten some machinery to lessen the work). 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir. Mildly yeasty on the nose, along with some lemon, almost a little peach and green apples. The biggest flaw in this wine is that it is somewhat indistinct in character, and also suffers from a heavy-handed mouthfeel. It just doesn't feel as lithe and elegant as it's got that sort of too sticky weird soda-pop feel. Just not that interesting or good. Here's the bottom line: you are better off with one of their cheaper sparkling wines if you want a cheap sparkling wine. This is more expensive and delivers about the same amount of character as the cheaper $4.49 Blanc de Blanc, or the $7.99 Albero Cava, or one of the Prosecco's. D


Tricerapops said...

Jeff, when you're doing your research into who's the actual producer, etc. - do you find it easy to gather this information? I only ask because I've become skeptical/confused with TJ's model - in that I have basically assumed most of all they carry is made by a subsidiary of Bronco Wine (which I know is unfair - but again, it's hard to nail this stuff down sometimes).

Just curious.

Jeff said...

Said it was bottled by Rack and Riddle on the back of the bottle...and I don't think that they have anything to do with Bronco. Who knows though? They might.

Also--just in passing, I think I was a bit harsh on this one. I had a bottle of the Albero Cava last night; it was pretty bad too. Anyways, still not particularly interesting or good in my opinion.