The MoonX Black Pinot Noir 2016 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive produced for TJ’s by a well-respected family owned vineyards and winery located in Lodi, California that has been in business since 1924. As a Trader Joe’s exclusive wine there isn’t a great deal of information available concerning the making of the wine and that is intentional. It is not that they are trying to hide something, it’s that keeping costs low are of the utmost importance and spending money on a facts webpage isn’t in the budget. I suspect that the MoonX Pinot was created in response to the popularity of Meiomi Pinot Noir which is a riper, more full-bodied wine than traditional Pinot Noir. With the MoonX coming in at around ten bucks cheaper than the Meiomi. The label indicates California as the place of origin for the grapes, which means it is some sort of mix of grapes from possibly the Central Coast, the North Coast or the Central Valley. The producing winery is located on the Lodi AVA, and while Lodi is more inland and a warm growing region, they do produce Pinot Noir, though there are no specifics on where the grapes originated. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color s an opaque raspberry jam red with black highlights, I suspect that there may be some grapes in here other than Pinot Noir, since Pinot is usually a very see-thru garnet red. A bottle of wine must be 75% of one grape for that varietal to shown on the front label so there may be up to 25% of darker colored grapes in the mix. The nose is toasty oak, cherry, slightly herbal, a just a hint of smoke. This is a medium to full-bodied Pinot with bright acidity and a ripe fruit flavor profile. It tastes of black cherry, bitter dark chocolate, Dr. Pepper, and a little herbal tea. The mid-palate mirrors the body of the wine, but does add ripe strawberry and hard spice. The tannins are smooth, the acidity is in abundant supply, this is a food wine, maybe more of a BBQ food wine. The finish is big and full.
Yes, I know that the MoonX Black Pinot Noir does not taste or act like traditional Pinot Noir, but it does taste good. To my way of thinking, if I am going to enjoy an over-extracted, large Pinot Noir, I think I would go for the 7 dollar one and not the $18 offering. There are some really good, real-deal Pinot Noir in the $18 range, in the $6.99 range a fun, smooth, rich and tasty Pinot doesn’t have much competition. If you want to explore the Pinot Noir of the Russian River Valley AVA or the Willamette Valley AVA, this isn’t a good place to start, but if you want a super easy-drinking, smooth, tasty, the perfect pairing for pork or beef on the backyard grill, then the MoonX Black Pinot Noir 2016 is an excellent value.