- 2021 Trader Joe’s Reserve Lot #236 Syrah, Santa Barbara, California ($9.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)
Here in Southern California, enthusiastic wine drinkers know Santa Barbara County quite well as it is in our backyard. We are familiar with the fact that it is a richly diverse wine region capable of producing world class wines. As a general rule, wine growing areas west of the 101 freeway (along the coast) excel in producing stellar Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. East of the 101, well, just about every other grape you can imagine is grown. But Rhone grapes like Syrah have attracted the attention of critics. Syrah is the third most planted grape in Santa Barbara County.
Once you get outside of California, wines from Santa Barbara County are a bit of a hard sell. Maybe that is because when Americans hear “Santa Barbara” they think of the beach town known as “the American Riviera.” While there are no small number of Tasting Rooms in the city of Santa Barbara, finding acreage planted to wine grapes is a tall order. You have to head to “north county” before you find acres and acres of vineyards. If you have never been, watch the movie Sideways and spend some time there. You will be glad you did!
The Trader Joe’s Reserve Santa Barbara Syrah 2021 uses Syrah which is the grape used in the Northern Rhone, while Syrah is blended with Grenache and Mourvedre in the Southern Rhone.
In the glass the wine is a dark purple/red with nice clarity. The nose is dried fig, blackberry, light herbs and sage, coffee, baking spice, and red raspberry. It tastes of blackberry, anise, and hints of black and white pepper and more spice. It lands light and smooth on the palate with tangy red fruit and some spice and saline on the finish. The fruit is nicely balanced against a veil of acidity. This would pair well with turkey burgers, roasted meats and most vegetarian fare.
If your weekend finds you shopping at your local TJ’s, 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.