Front label of bottle of 2018 Trader Joe's Reserve Chalk Hill Sonoma County Merlot

Chalk Hill Sonoma Mmmerlot from Trader Joes

Fast facts:

  • 2018 Trader Joe’s Reserve Merlot Lot 213, Chalk Hill, Sonoma County, California ($9.99 @Trader Joe’s,  California)

I love a well put-together Merlot, and this one from Trader Joe’s fits the bill. It’s a lot of wine for under $10, making it a good daily drinker.

France (including the famed wines of the “right bank” of Bordeaux) and Italy are the two largest producers of this versatile grape in the world.  The USA – most notably Paso Robles and Napa – is in the third position. Like virtually all wines, the flavor profile of the wine differs based upon where it is grown.  In cooler Bordeaux, the wines are more earthy. In the warm embrace of California, the wine is riper, fruitier and – most importantly to most American consumers – smoother.


Front label of bottle of 2018 Trader Joe's Reserve Chalk Hill Sonoma County Merlot
You had me at Chalk Hill…


Tasting Notes:

In appearance, deep ruby hue. Nose has medium intensity aroma of sour cherry, black currants, ripe boysenberry with notes of sweet spice, milk chocolate, leather, hints of cola, caramel and pepper. Medium weight and a palate that was dry, nicely structured and balanced. Would pair well with grilled salmon, roast duck and roasted meats.


This wine is a real palate pleaser.  It does not appear to be widely distributed at Trader Joe’s, or perhaps it is just beginning to be distributed throughout the U.S. Hopefully it is the latter since this is a wine that is worth stocking up on.

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.




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