I know I review a lot of Trader Joe’s branded wine, but it’s usually because I can count on it being good and a good value for the money. Occasionally, one of these is so stupendous I’d like to do a blind taste testing because it will floor you. The Trader Joe’s 2013 Grand Reserve Meritage is one of those, my friends! One of the best wines I had in 2016. Here is the thing, not many cases were made; If you have a TJ’s near you look for it and if they don’t have it, ask the wine steward to look to see if the store is getting more. If there is a waiting list, get on it. This is a $50+ bottle masquerading as a $13 bottle.
I know very little about the Trader Joe’s 2013 Grand Reserve Meritage other than what the Fearless Flyer has to offer. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec. Merlot is the lion’s share with everything else blended. It was aged for 22 months in French Oak. I lightly chilled the wine down to around 64 degrees. I used a both a Bordeaux glass from Riedel and a standard stemless red wine glass. I aerated both pours with my Vinturi. It did taste slightly richer and fuller in the tasting glass but was still a knockout in my regular old stemless. When I opened the bottle, I got a strong aroma of cherry. The wine is a very dark red violet with a much lighter rim. The ABV is higher than my average bottle at 14.5% so plan your evening accordingly.
The Trader Joe’s 2013 Grand Reserve Meritage has a very perfumed nose with cherries, mocha, raspberry, cedar, tobacco, violets, and oak. It tastes much the same but with the additions of leather, mushroom, herbs, spices, and a more rich espresso note. The wine is dry with moderately fine but well-integrated tannin structure. The finish is exceptionally long and is full of oak, tobacco, dried fruit, and leather. I drank the remainder the next day, and it was spicier and the leather even more apparent.
The Trader Joe’s 2013 Grand Reserve Meritage is a big wine that’s lightly restrained and elegant. It blew my socks off! Easily a 92 point score, possibly higher with a little decanting. I do feel this could have been chilled just a bit more too due to the alcohol content. This is pretty much the best bargain I’ve had all year, and it’s worth calling ALL your local TJ’s to find it. We’re not getting anymore up here but if you see it, just buy it all. I should have!
Have you tried the Trader Joe’s 2013 Grand Reserve Meritage? If so let us know what you thought!