[Also check out our most recent Trader Joe's series here!]
Trader Joe's Week continues with a couple iconic and expensive Italian varieties on the cheap. The question is, are they worth it?
First up is the 2008 Sommavite Brunello di Montalcino Annata. This wine is 100% Sangiovese from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. It is available exclusively at Trader Joe's and was purchased for $13.99.
From the bottle:
"Recognized as a "Four Star" vintage, our 2008 Sommavite Brunello exhibits the pure fruit of dark cherries, dried berries and flowers followed by a full-bodied yet silky finish. We suggest opening the bottle an hour in advance and matching with hearty cuisine.
The 2008 Sommavite Brunello di Montalcino Annata certainly starts off right. Abundant aromas of dark fruit, dried herbs and some spice combine to create a very attractive nose. Tasting the wine reveals a very smooth and silky texture with dark, sour fruit. The tannins are soft and dry. There's not a lot of complexity here, but it is certainly tasty. On the finish the dark fruit turns even more sour. I'm sure Brunello aficionados could pick this one apart but the bottom line is that for $14 this is quite a nice wine (and less than 1/3 the cost of a normal Brunello).
Overall Rating: 7.5
Next up is the 2009 Rocca dell'Olmo Barbaresco which is 100% Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy. Again, this wine is available exclusively at Trader Joe's. It was purchased for $9.99.
From the bottle:
"Barbaresco is a distinguished and aristocratic red wine. Ruby-red shading to garnet in color, it is very intense and forward with scents of violet and vanilla. Rich and generous in the mouth, with an elegant and lingering finish.
As we stated above this wine is a Trader Joe's exclusive which many times makes finding the actual producer of the wine difficult. In this case a web search revealed that the label was trademarked by Terre da Vino, a cooperative of 3,000 growers representing almost 15,000 acres of vineyards in Piedmont, Italy. It doesn't look like they have many wines available in the U.S. but the few that do make their way here are not cheap.
The 2009 Rocca dell'Olmo Barbaresco begins with a pleasant aroma of black cherry and spice along with a little licorice and a hint of leather. This medium-bodied wine tastes soft and easy to drink with fine, dusty tannins and lots of savory red and black cherry. It also has good acidity which would help to make it a very good food wine. It ends dry, with good length and long lingering spice notes. While I haven't tasted a ton of Barbaresco in my lifetime (since it is typically out of our price range), I have had a lot of $10 wine and this is one damn tasty bottle for that price. And as good as this wine is, don't bother with the $20 Barolo from the same label -- it's not up to nearly the same standard.
Overall Rating: 8.8
Wine in the Trader Joe's Week series:
- Berton Vineyard The Black Shiraz 2011 - Trader Joe's Week Wine #1. Plus The Trader Joe's Pricing Strategy Revealed!
- Cheap and Refreshing White Wines - Trader Joe's Week Wines #2 and #3
- Cantina Del Grifone 1967 Toscana 2009 - Trader Joe's Week Wine #4. A perfect partner for a pizza!
- Pontificis GSM Blend 2011 - Trader Joe's Week Wine #5. A GSM blend for the masses!
- Brunello and Barbaresco On The Cheap - Trader Joe's Week Wines #6 and #7. The 2008 Sommavite Brunello di Montalcino Annata and the 2009 Rocca dell'Olmo Barbaresco
- TJ's Classics - Trader Joe's Week Wines #8, #9 and #10. The 2011 Cocobon Red Wine, 2011 Trentatre Rosso 33 and 2009 Epicuro Salice Salentino Riserva.
- Also be sure to check our Costco Week series for another source of great, inexpensive and widely available wine!