Trader Joe’s French Market Reserve Merlot (2007) – Wine Review


 Some people might think there’s a problem sipping Merlot at 7:30 am.  No way.

From time to time I’ve picked up a bottle of TJ’s French Market Reserve.  I’ve always liked it.  The problem is I usually don’t find it on the shelf.  Whether that’s because of me, or because TJ doesn’t have a steady supply of it, I’m not sure.  However, I made a concerted effort on my last visit to thoroughly scrounge the wine shelves.  Located in the dust of a bottom shelf were a few bottles of  this very good wine.

The first thing that needs explanation for this wine is, what in the world is Vins de pays de l’Atlantique?  As usual, it turns out that Wikipedia has an answer.  Vins de pays de l’Atlantique, where this wine came from, is what I’ll refer to as a super region of France.  It covers Bordeaux and Charentes.  I’ll take this to mean the wine doesn’t meet the qualifications to be called a Bordeaux, but we can be pretty certain the grapes came from this area of France.

Regardless of where the grapes were grown, this is a good wine.  Although I can’t remember the exact price, it seems like it was $6 or less a bottle.  For the extra $3, this is a worthwhile step up from Charles Shaw’s $3 wines.    Being a 3-year-old (2007 to now), this red wine has mellowed out and lost most of the earthiness of a fresh red wine.  There is a slight astringent taste to the wine which is characteristic of the stronger red wines. 

If I was going to have guests over for dinner, this is a wine  I wouldn’t be ashamed to place on the table.  Of course if someone is coming over for a free meal they shouldn’t be complaining about what kind of wine is on the table anyhow.  So why would I feel ashamed?  Or, if you would like to sip a good quality French wine along with your Egg McMuffin at 7:30 am on a Saturday, this is also a good wine for that.  Better yet, skip the Egg McMuffin and just sip the wine.



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