TJ’s Classics – Trader Joe’s Week 2013 Wines #8, #9 and #10

2011 Cocobon Red Wine, 2011 Trentatre Rosso 33 and 2009 Epicuro Salice Salentino Riserva.

[Check out our most recent Trader Joe’s series here!]

Today is the last day of our Trader Joe’s Week reviews and so we turn to a trio of reliably good, always cheap and almost always available Trader Joe’s exclusive wines.

2011-Cocobon-Red-WineFirst up is the 2011 Cocobon Red Wine, a wine that has rabid fans among Trader Joe’s devotees. It is such a reliable seller that the stores in my area have to re-stock this wine more than once a day. The wine is a blend of 61%Zinfandel, 17% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Petite Sirah from California. It is available exclusively at Trader Joe’s and was purchased for $7.99.

From the bottle:

“We’ve blended our favorite Bordeaux style varietals into a rich, silky wine with a soft, luxurious finish. Delight in aromas of ripe cherries and hints of sumptuous mocha that will fill your senses. Pair with roasted lamb or mint coulis or even a dark chocolate souffle to deliver that zen moment we all need.

Nirvana in a glass.

12.5% Alcohol”

This wine is made by Georgetta Dane who took over the winemaking duties at The Big House after Randall Grahm left. (He’s now with Bonny Doon Vineyards.) And even though this is not my favorite type of wine (a sweet red) it is well made and should be well appreciated by fans of this style.

The 2011 Cocobon Red Wine begins with a heady aroma full of oaky notes — vanilla, caramel and chocolate — plus red cherry and blackberry fruit. The wine tastes smooth and sweet with similar flavors to the nose. It’s easy to see why this wine is so popular as it is both easy to drink and very flavorful. The finish is medium-short and full of more sweet oak. This is a wine that should appeal greatly to all the Apothic Red fans out there.

Taste Rating: 7              Cost Rating: 9
Overall Rating: 7.5

Recommended Buy


Next up is a wine that has seen moments of greatness, the 2011 Trentatre Rosso 33. We were huge fans of the 2008 vintage but the 2009 vintage let us down. That’s one of the characteristics that makes these Trader Joe’s wine classics — while every vintage is reliably good for the price, every few years they hit one out of the park and really reinforce their cult status.

As always this wine is a blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 33% Montepulciano from Apulia, Italy. It is available exclusively at Trader Joe’s and was purchased for $5.99.

From the bottle:

“This unique wine comes from the Apulia Region located in the depth of Southern Italy. The blend is an equal amount of three different varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon 33,3%, Merlot 33,3%, and Montepulciano 33,4% collectively aged six months in oak barrels, hence the name “Trentatre” which in Italian means Thirtythree. The color is a deep purple-red with a pleasant fruity nose with hints of plum, cherry, and chocolate. Full bodied, it has a supple finish with soft tannins. Enjoy it with pasta, pizza, grilled meats, seasoned cheese…or even on its own!

14.0% Alcohol”

The 2011 Trentatre Rosso 33 begins with pleasant aromas of plum and a little smoke. Tasting the wine reveals sour fruit, lots of oak, a little licorice and a smooth texture, but that’s about it for this relatively simple wine. The finish is dry and of medium length. While it’s certainly good enough for only $5.99 it’s not the same as the vaunted 2008 (and 2007) vintages.

Taste Rating: 6              Cost Rating: 10
Overall Rating: 7.0

Recommended Buy

2009-Epicuro-Salice-Salentino-RiservaLastly we have the 2009 Epicuro Salice Salentino Riserva which is a blend of 80% Negroamaro and 20% Malvasia Nera from Salice Salentino, Apulia, Italy. It is available exclusively at Trader Joe’s and was purchased for $5.99. There are number of different Epicuro wines including a Nero d’Avola and a Primitivo, but this seems to the one that is most well liked year in and year out. We last reviewed the 2006 vintage of this wine.
From the bottle:

“A blend of Negroamaro 80% and Malvasia Nera 20%. Intense ruby red in color with orange reflections on the outside rim of the wine. Intense and persistent aromas of red, woodsy berries. On the palate the wine is dry, well balanced, and full bodied with a long finish. Serve at room temperature with rustic meat dishes.

13% Alcohol.”

The 2009 Epicuro Salice Salentino Riserva begins with pleasant aromas of ripe red berries, licorice and oak. You’ll want to give this one some time to breathe before tasting as the oak is a bit overwhelming at first. Once it has some air, there is a lot to enjoy here with the flavors in the mouth similar to the nose. Pair it with a pizza or pasta in red sauce to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.

Taste Rating: 6              Cost Rating: 10
Overall Rating: 7.0

Recommended Buy

Wine in the Trader Joe’s Week series:

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