Available exclusively at Trader Joe’s. Purchased for $4.99.
From the bottle:
“This smooth red combines the ripe fruit flavours of Merlot with the rich blackberry notes of Malbec to give an intensely fruity, soft full flavoured wine.
Delicious on its own, this wine is the perfect partner for roast lamb, steak, barbecued meats or with cheese.
While we’re all about cheap wine here at Reverse Wine Snob, we’re also realistic. There’s plenty of really bad cheap wine out there, especially when you start talking about wine under $5. It’s amazingly hard to make a quality wine for that low of a price – the cost of the bottle, cork and label eat up a good chunk of that alone. Add in the cost of shipping, which is all the way from Chile in the case of today’s wine, and there’s not much left.
And all this doesn’t even factor in the cost of the wine itself, the most important part! And then there’s the awful three tier distribution system in our country which fills distributors’ pockets at the expense of consumers and the wineries themselves. (See here and here for just two of many recent examples.) Add to that the retailer’s margin and it begins to boggle the mind that a wine could possibly be priced so low.
All this to say that when we find a good, quality wine that is able to overcome all these obstacles and sell at such a low price point we have to give it props, even if it’s not rocketing to the top of our rating scale. But that’s the beauty of our unique rating system — because it only costs $5 it doesn’t have to score as high of a Taste rating as a wine that costs $15 in order to qualify as a recommended buy.
The 2012 Panilonco “Chief of Lions” Merlot Malbec Reserva from the Errazuriz Ovalle Family and Vinedos Marchigue begins with pleasant aromas of plum and other ripe dark fruit including a little cranberry and a bit of wintergreen. This easy-drinking, medium-bodied wine tastes smooth and simple with lots of plum, blackberry and grape jam along with a hint of spice and even a few earthy notes. It could use a little more acidity and a longer finish but for $4.99 this is a surprisingly drinkable wine that is likely to be a crowd-pleaser.
Available exclusively at Trader Joe’s.
Overall Rating: 7.0
Other wines in the Trader Joe’s Top Picks 2014 Series:
- Trader Joe’s GSM Reserve Lot# 96 – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #1
- Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #2
- Il Tarocco Chianti Classico – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #3
- Panilonco Merlot Malbec Reserva – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #4
- Chateau Mayne Guyon 2011 – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #5
- Picton Bay South Island Pinot Noir – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #6
- Grifone Sangiovese – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #7
- La Granja Tempranillo – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #8
- Honey Moon Viognier – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #9
- Epicuro Aglianico – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #10
- Sauvignon Republic Sauvignon Blanc – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #11
- Rosa dell’Olmo Barbera d’Asti – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #12
- Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Napa Valley Meritage – Trader Joe’s Top Picks Wine #13
- See the picks from our 2013 series here!
Don’t Miss A Recommended Buy! Subscribe to our daily email to get The Reverse Wine Snob in your inbox!