Posts Tagged ‘california’

Roulé Rouge – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

roule rouge, red table wine, trader joesDecember 24, 2016

Can organic grapes make an inexpensive California wine good?  On first opening, the cork had a fairly strong scent of vinegar reminding me of our first-generation next-door neighbor when I was growing up, who used to press his own grapes and make large barrels of wine in his backyard.  He’d give my parents some bottles which generally turned to vinegar in a few weeks.  But man, those few weeks were fun.

I doubt this one will turn to vinegar even if it has no sulfites added.  And that, no added sulfites, is another reason I picked this up off the shelf.  How many wines do you see with no, added sulfites?

Being a blend per the label, the wine is non-vintage and non-varietal (although a 2015 Trader Joe ad claims this is 100% Merlot).  Umm, well, if we go with the label, that leaves out cutting and pasting from some Merlot review.  But that’s another reason this wine reminds me of that backyard brew so many years ago.  There’s no telling exactly what went into the bottle

What came out of the bottle is a fairly smooth mildly dry red table wine that’s very drinkable once you realize that red wines don’t really have to taste the same.  This one will puzzle your taste buds into saying, what is that?  When they give up trying to answer that question they’ll say, I like it.  The only possible negative is a strange earthy taste that’s really not very objectionable once you get used to it.  Maybe the taste is a bit of young tannins or maybe they do ferment in old wooden barrels?  I don’t know if being organic had anything to do with it, but this inexpensive wine is good.

Growing up, we ate a lot of pasta with a thick red sauce that started as canned whole tomatoes and olive oil in tins, both from the old country, washed down with the backyard wine. This wine brings back pleasant memories.  Price $5.99.

Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvignon – Wine Review – ALDI


wine, cabernet sauvignon, winking owl, aldi, california

October 18, 2016
This is surprisingly good for $2.89.  But there are better out there for a few dollars more.  A weak red color for a Cab, leads to a slightly fruity aroma in the glass changing to an aroma of a rough red table wine.  Nothing bad so far.  The first sip is a little fruity and slightly sweet. In subsequent sips the sweetness is gone. There are no tannins to speak of which is consistent with the semi-dry description on the label.  Maybe some oak, or something close to oak in the taste. The only negative is a somewhat strange type of astringency causing excessive cheek puckering.  Don’t ask for pictures.  I’m not sure it’s a Cab, if you’re expecting what’s commonly expected of a Cab.

Pairing with some leftover restaurant grilled chicken and chorizo (think spicy), it was not the best companion. The spicy food added to that cheek pucker.

The problem I’ve had in the past with very inexpensive wines (like $2 Chuck) is that the quality varies widely from bottle to bottle. I don’t know if that’s the case here, I’ve only had this one bottle.  Would I buy it again?  If I did it would only be to see how the next bottle changes from this one.  For 3 or 4 dollars more it’s possible to get a much better red wine that’s consistently good – think Italian, think Tuscany, think DOCG, think sangiovese grapes.  If  you’re on a tight budget or think puckered cheeks are cute or just say one day, what the heck, give this a try.  Otherwise pop for the extra few dollars.  On the other hand if you’re at a major retailer that “also sells wine”, looking for a $10 bottle of wine, save yourself a few dollars and buy this one.  Chances are this will be just as good.  Price $2.89.

Sargent Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon – 2013 – Wine Review – ALDI


cabernet sauvignon, sargent canyon, california, wine, ALDI, central coastOctober 9, 2016
For a Cab, the color is a medium-red.  This one tastes like a Cab.  Mild tannins, a little bit of oak and the grapes add the character and the dryness of a Cab.  There are no off-tastes unlike this recently reviewed wine. This is a fairly good wine, but not a very good or great Cab.  There’s still quite a bit of roughness about this one.  It’s not as smooth as a better Cab.

Cabs are on the stronger side of the wine taste scale.  If your preferences run towards milder wines, this one is probably not for you.  It would be hard to find an everyday food that would overpower this wine.  On the other hand, this wine would overpower most milder foods.   This was a September ALDI’s Wine Of The Month.  However, it also seems to be a regular on the ALDI wine shelves.  At $6.99 a bottle, this is a value price compared to a similar quality California Cab elsewhere.

D.R.G. Pinot Noir – 2014 – Wine Review


DRG, pinot noir, russian valley, sonoma, california, wine, reviewSeptember 30, 2016

I’m not sure how I acquired this wine (probably a gift), but I wish I hadn’t.  With a medicinal taste that forced a face scrunch, there wasn’t much enjoyment in this wine.

Comparing to a fair amount of reviews on the net, my experience is surprising.  The general reviews for this wine are quite good.  That was not my experience from first opening, after exposure to air, and after a couple of days in the frig.  Perhaps the wine is too young or I had a bad bottle but, unless you receive it as a gift, I’d pass on giving it a second chance.  Based on the net, the wine is priced in the $10 to $20 range.


Caretaker Cabernet Sauvignon – 2013 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s


wine, trader joes, caretaker, cabernet sauvignon, california, paso roblesJanuary 17, 2016

There’s a weak sweet aroma on the cork with a hint of vinegar.  Overall, it’s a pleasant start.  For a red, the color is also on the weak side – a medium red transparent color with hints of pink.  Maintaining the trend, a weak wine aroma comes from the glass once poured.  The wine has a light to medium dryness in the mouth.   There are no bad tastes or other bad characteristics.  The wine holds up well in the refrigerator for days two and three.  In fact it may improve slightly.  Other reviewers average this wine at about 3.5 out of 5.  It’s a little better than that in my mind.

Overall, this is a fairly nice wine, even if on the weaker side for a Cab.  At $9.99, it’s a reasonable price for good quality if you’re looking for a California wine.

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