The Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is an $8.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive, we reviewed 2015 Petiole and that vintage sold for $9.99. The 2015 version had a Fearless Flyer write-up which indicated the Pinot was made by a large Oregon producer and the Pinot was aged in oak barrels for 14 months. I don’t know if the 2017 and the 2015 vintages are related, it could well be sourced from different vineyards with different production techniques. Either way, a sub-$10 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is highly unusual, even with Trader Joe’s contract wine label price advantages. The 2015 Petiole Pinot was an enjoyable wine, so if the past is an indicator 2017 should bring great value.
The petiole is the part of the plant where the leaf meets the stem. With grapevines in the vineyard, this is the part of the vine that is tested to determine the health of the plant. The petiole indicates if the nutrients are efficiently being distributed. There are no technical notes for this wine, so the back label is all we have to go by. It says this Pinot is “delectably charming” which is nice to know, and it also says there are vanilla and spice which indicates some sort of oak aging. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is see-thru garnet red. The nose is a legitimate Pinot nose, herbal, with cherry, mushroom, vanilla, a hint of smoke, and a whiff of spice. This Pinot Noir starts with a silky mouth-feel, then takes on a rougher edge on the mid-palate. It tastes of ripe black cherry, cola, licorice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds sharp exotic spice, orange peel, vanilla, and plum. The acidity gives this pinot length and the tannins are sweet and out of the way. The finish is fairly full and flows for quite some time.
- The Petiole Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is better than any $8.99 Pinot has a right to be.
- With the expensive Oregon Pinots, maybe they are a little more ethereal, more complex and maybe the spice in the Petiole could be better integrated, but that’s nitpicking.
- If you offered a friend a glass and didn’t let them know the price, just that it is a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, they will be shocked when you tell them it’s $8.99.