Trader Joe’s – St. Donatus Balatonboglari Merlot – 2015 – Wine Review


Hungary, Merlot, semi sweet, St. Donatus, Garamvari, balatonboglariNovember 18, 2016

This one is different.  Read on.

There’s very little aroma when first uncorked.  On first pour, the wine is ruby-red and much lighter than a typical red wine.  The first sip reveals a mild semi-sweet fruity wine as the bottle claims.  There’s nothing intricate in the taste and at the same time nothing bad in the taste.

This wine is all about your expectations.  If you’re looking for something to savor and spend the night discussing the intricacies of Merlots and where this stands in that continuum, this wine is not for you.  If you’re looking for something to have at home with dinner, or just want something to sip, relax with, and not have to in any way think about what’s in the glass, this will serve that purpose.  With some mild red-sauced pasta, the wine worked well.

The key difference here, if you haven’t picked up on it, is the word semi-sweet.  This is a style of wine not usually found on the shelves outside of Hungary where this wine is made.  The sweetness of the wine is noticeable but not sickeningly sweet like some really horrible wines.  This is a nice good quality wine with a different flavor profile.  Price $5.99

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9 Responses to “Trader Joe’s – St. Donatus Balatonboglari Merlot – 2015 – Wine Review”

  1. Rebecca Johnson Says:

    Bought this wine once at Trader Joe’s. Excellent. Haven’t been able to find it since.

    Liked by 1 person

    • steveo Says:

      Yep. I was surprised to see a wine from Hungary on the shelves. Hungary isn’t known as a major wine producing region.


  2. Stephany Harvey Says:

    Yes, they do! I just finished a bottle from Aldi’s over the weekend. They are my short term “go to” for Chianti, although they have not had many this winter. Any Sangiovese label makes me stop and grab also.

    Thank you for the suggestions on the designation. I just tried to read a book on wine choices, and picked up nearly nothing. I just keep on tasting, and reading blogs. Thank you for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephany Harvey Says:

    And now I shall have to wait until I travel somewhere with a Trader Joe’s. By the way, have you tried their Tuella, from the Douro River region of Portugal?

    Liked by 1 person

    • steveo Says:

      Yes. The 2012 vintage. A nice table wine, but quite a bit different than the St. Donatus here based on what I wrote at the time.


      • Stephany Harvey Says:

        The St. Donatus is smoother, at least to me. But, I have a soft spot for the Tuella since we visited Portugal. I was not impressed with the wines I tasted there, but found the Tuella, and enjoyed it. I’m more of a Chianti lover, and trying to figure out why.

        Liked by 1 person

      • steveo Says:

        Agreed. The Tuscan Sangiovese grape wines, e.g., Chianti, are hard to beat. And the prices are unbeatable. Look for the DOCG designation on the bottle, but even the IGTs are good although generally a little rougher. Trader Joe’s has some very nice wines from Tuscany. My favorites also. I’ve reviewed many of them. Even ALDI usually  has 1 or 2 decent Tuscan wines


  4. Stephany Harvey Says:

    I just opened this wine yesterday, and I am SO disappointed I only bought one bottle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • steveo Says:

      Thanks for your comment. The bright side might be, with only one bottle on hand you’re likely to feel much better the next morning. 😉


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