- 2014 La Grande Cote Red Blend, Paso Robles, California ($2.99 @Trader Joe’s; California)
Halt the presses! (While we still have presses to halt.)
So I know we normally do our featured weekly wine posts on Thursday, but this is such a screaming good wine value that I want all of our readers to get a shot at it if it is being stocked in your local Trader Joe’s – and if the arcane liquor laws in your state even permit TJ’s to sell wine.
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw this $2.99 (!) wine in my local Traders. But a couple of things made me think that this was certainly worth giving a taste to.
First of all, the Paso Robles appelation turns out world class red wines. There are far more hits than misses when it comes to reds from Paso. And their reds tend to cost far less than Sonoma and Napa for comparable value.
Secondly, the 2014 vintage shown on the label suggested that this could be something special, or at least a really good value. You see, “the trade” has already moved past the 2014 vintage. Buyers are, for the most part, putting 2015 and 2016 vintages on their store shelves. So this might be a perfectly good wine that was having a hard time finding any buyer to stock it.
So I was cautiously optimistic that this wine COULD be a really good value for the price. When I pulled the cork to taste it, I got even more encouraged. I was pleasantly surprised to see the name Rabbit Ridge on the cork. They are a well known producer in Paso Robles. The cork also provided a clue to the blend. Rabbit Ridge is known for their work with Zinfandels and other red varietals including Syrah and some of the lesser Bordeaux varieties.
Beyond the cork, once I poured the wine into a glass for tasting I was struck by the wine’s color. It displays a lovely brick color that reflects the wine’s 4+ years of age. The nose had aromas of plum, cherry, and black pepper. The first sips showed a smooth pastiche of raspberry, chocolate and black cherry.
You know how much we love unearthing deals for you. I don’t know that we have ever found a wine with a QPR (quality to price ratio) anywhere near this one.
If you are lucky enough to find some in your local Trader Joe’s, don’t hesitate to “risk” $36 to buy a case!