A real Trader Joe’s mystery wine. The back of the label says,”Produced and bottled by Tribunal Cellars, Kenwood, Ca.,” but there does not seem to be an actual Tribunal Cellars Winery. Tribunal Cellars is owned by the same people who make Stonefly Wines in Napa, but Tribunal and Stonefly do not seemed to be connected in any other way. UPDATE: It is produced by Kunde Estates, a high-end winery in Sonoma. The sign at Trader Joe’s said the 2008 Tribunal Red Wine was aged in oak barrels for 20 months. This adds to the intrigue, nobody ages a wine for almost two years in oak and then turns around and sells the wine for $9.99. Even the bottle is twice as heavy as your usual Trader Joe’s wine bottle. Since the Tribunal is a blend, a finished product sourced from Sonoma County and not an excess single varietal grape being sold off, three things come to mind. 1) The wine didn’t meet the winemakers standards, so they sold it off under another label or 2) somebody needed money, so they sold the wine to Trader Joe’s to make quick cash or 3) a winery changed their line-up and this was a leftover orphan wine that Trader Joe’s snapped up. Anyway, there is no breakdown of the grapes used in the blend, but with the grapes being sourced from Sonoma, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel are probably involved. The alcohol content is 15.1%.
The color is an opaque black cherry with red highlights. The nose is cherry, leather, chocolate, vanilla and eucalyptus. Very nice mouth feel, silky smooth and lots of flavor. Loads of blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and chocolate goodness, not complex, but big, juicy and tasty. A pretty good chocolate covered blueberry finish.
A first rate California red blend everyday wine. Well worth the $9.99 that Trader Joe’s is asking for the Tribunal Sonoma Red. This drinks very well on its own or would pair beautifully burgers, pizza, roasts and stews.