- 2019 Alamos Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($7.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)
- 2019 Roustabout Meritage, Paso Robles, California ($7.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)
Daylight saving time – check!
Spring arrives – check!
Temperatures moderate – check!
As North America thaws, our food and wine preferences change with the temperatures, which have crept well up into the 80s here in Southern California. We have started enjoying more meals on our back decks and patios. This means that the grill is seeing more action after a long winter.
Here are a pair of reds from that would be perfect with all things roasted over an open fire. Best of all, they are both a crazy good value at $7.99.
About Alamos 2019 Malbec:
There are a fair number of disappointing Malbecs priced under $10. They tend to be too thin and acidic, with weak fruit. This is not one of them. Maybe that’s because it sells for as much as $13 a bottle elsewhere. Regardless, this is a “legit” Argentinian Malbec with a really high QPR.
Just two months ago, we reviewed two high altitude Malbecs from Argentina. Like those two, this Alamos Malbec attributes it’s unique attributes to altitude. Unlike those wines, which were $10 each at Costco, this wine is some 20% less costly at Trader Joe’s. And evidenced by the 91 point score from James Suckling (no to mention a perspective that comes from having tasted all three) this Alamos rendition is every bit as good.
And speaking of James Suckling, here is what he had to say about this wine: “a red with blackberries, wet earth and dark tea leaf. It’s medium-bodied with lightly creamy texture and a long, flavorful finish. A fresh, delicious Malbec that won’t disappoint.”
If “wet earth” and “dark tea leaf” do not compute for you, here is a more user friendly set of notes from the winemaker:
Alamos Malbec offers layers of dark cherry and blackberry and a velvety mouthfeel. Aromas of violet intertwine with spice and vanilla, while balanced tannins create a velvety mouthfeel and expansive finish. This Malbec delivers a complex fine red wine that pairs beautifully with a wide range of cuisine…”
About Roustabout 2019 Meritage:
Several years ago, we reviewed the 2016 vintage of this wine. We are happy to say that it is still a great value, and that the price is still an attractive $7.99. It’s a great price for a solid red blend at this low price, yielding a mouth-watering Quality to Price Ratio, or QPR for short.
Some critics might be dismissive of this wine due to the fact that it is an exclusive brand/private label that only exists in the Trader Joe’s ecosystem. This is short-sighted and not entirely fair, or accurate.
If you study the back label, you will learn that the wine is made by Miller Family Wine Company. While that name might not ring a bell, they own and farm some of the most storied vineyards on the Central Coast of California. These include Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Barbara county and French Camp Vineyard in Paso Robles. Thus, you can safely assume this is some high quality juice that they decided to keep for their own “program” with Trader Joe’s.
Paso Robles is red wine country, and here are the varieties that comprise this blend:
- 66% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 20% Merlot
- Petite Verdot 7%
- Malbec 7%
Voila, you have a Meritage. By definition a California blend made up of the blending grapes the French use – across the pond – to make the esteemed wines of Bordeaux.
The wine begins with a pleasing aroma of dark fruit, cola, a little spice, a little tobacco, and a little white pepper. With silky tannins and exceptional texture, this wine opens with notes of black cherries, wild blueberries and cigar box, finishing with nuances of dark chocolate and espresso.
So there you have it. Two incredible wine deals from Trader Joe’s. If you find them at your local store, let us know what you think. As always, if you find any wines you think we should know about, let us know about them here in the comments section or on our Facebook page.
And if your weekend preparations find you shopping at your local TJ’s, also keep an eye out for our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine. It’s a shopping list comprised of our most recent reviews.
If you’re headed to Costco soon, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list of Costco wine finds.