The Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut Rose’ is a $9.99 limited edition Trader’ Joe’s exclusive produced from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grown in vineyards in the North Coast AVA which includes Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, and Lake County, all of which are north of San Francisco in Northern California. The TJ’s Reserve is made with the Traditional Method for producing Bubbly, which is the same as used in Champagne and Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier are the 3 main grapes used in making Champagne. TJ’s currently offers a Reserve North Coast Brut Sparkling Wine (not a Rose’) and with that bottling the Chardonnay is from the Russian River in Mendocino and the Pinot Noir is from Carneros, a premium Pinot growing AVA that is half in Sonoma and half in Napa and I would think the grapes for the Rose’ are similarly sourced, if not exactly sourced. Now if a Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are both Red grapes and in Champagne style wines they make White wine, then is Rose’ the same thing but a different color? Well, maybe, but in Champagne they are allowed to blend in a Red wine to the White Bubbly to get the desired color and the full-bodied Red wine adds flavor and weight to the wine. And that is probably what they did here, that is why Rose’ Bubbly tends to be darker and fruiter. The TJ’s Reserve 2nd fermentation lasted 12 months, this is where the Bubbles are made, they bottled the juice that was fermented once then add a measured amount of yeast and sugar to each bottle. Here after a year they removed the dead yeast, topped off the White Bubbly with Red wine until it was the proper shade of pink, put a cork and cage on top and sent it out to the stores. In comparison in Champagne the 2nd fermentation lasts at least 1 1/2 years and most Champagne Houses go well beyond that, but then again, they are not selling their Bubbles for $9.99. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
The color, well at first I thought they made a mistake labeling this wine, because it is barely pink, more of a gold with an amber tint, but with loads of tiny bubbles. The nose is a mix of cherry and lemon, crisp apple, brioche, peach, and pear. This is a fruit driven, nicely balanced Bubbly, not as intense as Champagne, but very flavorful. It tastes of strawberry, pink grapefruit, soft lemon/lime, and green apple. The mid-palate brings a little minerality, a light salty, nutty flavor and a hint of peaches and cream. The acidity is definitely part of the flavor profile, but is still mild enough not to interrupt you’re sipping pleasure. The finish mirrors the mid-palate and hangs around for a proper amount of time.
I like the Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut Rose’ it isn’t as intense and powerful as real Champagne, but it is 3 or 4 times cheaper than most well-known entry-level Champagne and it has very good, balanced flavor. With this Bubbly you will drink more of than you planned, I keep stopping typing to grab another sip. With some wines you finish your glass eventually and with others it’s “what happened my glass is empty again.” 10 buck Bubbly that goes down easy is a bargain in my book, well I don’t have a book, but I do have a website.