The Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Monterey Merlot 2012 is a $5.99 TJ’s exclusive and believe it or not, it is estate grown, produced and bottled by someone. The back of the bottle says Blue Canyon Wine Company, Greenfield, Ca., they are a front company and not an actual winery. There are 175 vineyards in Monterey, too many to guess the source. But if you see a list of wineries located in Greenfield, there a couple of likely candidates. This is a negociant wine, which means TJ’s purchased somebody’s excess wine and by contract can’t reveal the source, since it is being sold for far less than the original. The Petit Reserve Merlot has some sort of oak conditioning (a negociant wine can’t give out any particulars that could disclose the producing winery) and the alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is seriously purple. The nose is a little woody, oak spice, spiced gumdrops, blackberry, plums and molasses. This is a medium-bodied, dry, Merlot, smooth upfront with an interesting rough edge on the mid-palate. It starts with ripe blackberry, red plum, a little olive and Nestle’s Quick powder. The mid-palate brings oak spice, a slight pull from the tannins and raspberry. The tannins offer a welcome bit of structure and the acidity is well-integrated into the body of the wine. The finish is subtle, but lasts a while.
The Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Monterey Merlot 2012 is a complaint proof wine, how on earth can you bitch about an estate produced and bottled Merlot that sells for less than 6 bucks? Make sure you give the wine enough time to open up, there was a slightly sour taste that went away with an additional hour of waiting. Any 6 buck Merlot that needs an extra hour to open up is OK in my book. Give the TJ’s Petit Reserve Monterey Merlot 2012 enough time to come together and you will get a pretty decent $5.99 Merlot.