- 2021 Pinot Noir, Trader Joe’s Reserve Lot #241, Santa Barbara County, California ($9.99 @Trader Joe’s in California)
Pinot Noir has a problem. It’s being loved to death.
Its precise rank varies by which list you consult, but it remains securely in the top 5 of all wine grapes, and second only to Cabernet Sauvignon in the U.S. for red wines.
It is axiomatic that the more popular a wine grape becomes, the harder it is to find wines that have our much coveted QPR.
The result is rivers of Pinot Noir bottlings that, well, don’t taste much like Pinot Noir. We are happy to report that this Lot #241 bottling from Trader Joe’s is a refreshing exception. And it comes from one of the best places to grow Pinot Noir in California – coastal Santa Barbara County.
Because of its southern-facing coastline and the east-west orientation of its coastal mountains, Santa Barbara county is uniquely hospitable to Pinot Noir grapes. The fog rolls in each evening and stays through the morning, when sunshine returns for a while. This, along with the cooling effect of the ocean breezes, makes Pinot Noir very happy. Its 2021 vintage saw a long growing season, which allowed for the grapes to ripen evenly and for their flavors to really mature, as the grapes spent more time on the vines.
The wine is classically light to medium bodied, aged in French oak.
Classic nose of black cherry, forest floor and smoke from a distant fire. Flavors of ripe cherry, cranberry, and white pepper are beautifully balanced with bright acidity and a silky, fruit-driven finish. Pinot Noir is an incredibly versatile food wine. Have a glass with appetizers like shrimp cocktail, cheese and fresh figs. Or pair with white and red meat entrees. 14.7% ABV
Need More Wine Picks from Trader Joe’s – or Costco?
If your search for this wine lands you in Trader Joe’s, take along our handy Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.
And if your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.