The Trader Joe’s Reserve Sonoma County Sangiovese Lot 128 2015 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. And that is about all the details I know about this wine. It seems some years TJ’s sells a Lot 135 Reserve Sangiovese that is sourced from grapes grown in the Alexander Valley AVA, which is located inside Sonoma County. The back label says this Sangiovese as “vinted and bottled” by ABJ Wnes which just happen to share an address with Rack and Riddle Custom Wine Services. If you see a Sparkling wine from a brand that does not normally deal in Bubbly, there is a good chance that Rack and Riddle was involved in the wine production. Sparkling wine, Champagne-style, is their speciality but they also do still wines. As a reminder, Chianti is Sangiovese wine grown in the Chianti region of Tuscany. While most of the wines coming from Northern California are influenced by the wines of Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) and Burgundy (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) of France, many of the original farmers who first planted grapes in California came from Italy, so Sangiovese vines were a natural choice. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The color is a raspberry jam red with an almost clear halo. The nose is cherry, plum, molasses, spearmint, toasty vanilla, and chocolate. This is a warm, smooth Sangiovese with a spicy, complex mid-palate. It tastes of black cherry, black berry, a little pepper, and soft plum. The mid-palate brings a mix of spice, a little baking spice and a bit of exotic spice, along with licorice and tart cherry. The tannins are smooth and the acidity is well-balanced by the body of the wine. The finish is large and in charge.
The Trader Joe’s Reserve Sonoma County Sangiovese Lot 128 2015 is a very solid California Red wine. The smooth mouth-feel and the spicy mid-palate keep things fun and interesting. It also has some chocolate undertones that dance in and out of the flavors that you don’t normally see at this price point. All in all the Lot 128 is ten bucks well spent.