The Liberte Pinot Noir 2017 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from vineyards in San Luis Obispo County inside the Paso Robles AVA which is inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Liberte has been a Trader Joe’s brand for some time, I think we first reviewed these wines with the 2009 vintage.
The vineyards in San Luis Obispo are located close to the Pacific Ocean allowing the region to have one of the coolest climates in California. The vineyards for the Liberte Pinot Noir 2017 are located 14 miles from the coast.
Paso Robles AVA is known for winemakers not following the Old World wine traditions. Other California wine regions use Bordeaux or Burgundy as an ideal, but in Paso, if someone has a new idea or technique they are not afraid to give it a try.
San Luis Obispo (SLO) is home to an enclave of young winemakers making wines aimed at younger serious wine drinkers. There are many interesting wineries and wine brands from SLO that are worth seeking out. How Liberte, like a Trader Joe’s wine, fits into all that I am not sure, but I do know this is a good area for wine.
The back of the label says this wine was vinted and bottled by Familia Nueva Vineyards. As I remember Familia Nueva was an independent winery in the past. I could no longer find their website, but Liberte has a site, there is a link in paragraph number 2.
One of the things that I enjoy about Trader Joe’s wine is that is easy to find single sub-AVA wines at a price that is far less expensive than retail wine shops. A $9.99 Pinot Noir typically has California as its place of origin, not a fancy sub-AVA like SLO.
There is not much in the way of technical information on the Liberte wine website (they also produce a Cabernet Sauvignon which is one of the specialties of Paso Robles). They do mention vanilla which may indicate that they used some American oak to age the Pinot Noir.
The biggest clue concerning the production of the Liberte Pinot Noir 2017 is the vintage. The 2017 vintage is the current year available, if this was made to be a young, drink-it-now wine the vintage could be 2019. That would be a Pinot that was made to come together quickly and be ready for sale.
A 2017 vintage indicates that they produced this wine in a way that more complex, which is not typically the case for wine selling for ten bucks. Pinot Noir from a fancy sub-AVA does not sell for ten bucks. But the Liberte wines do sell for that and have for ten years.
The packaging for the Liberte Pinot Noir 2017 is eye-catching, the label is very art nouveau, I think and the label is embossed. The cork is a real cork, not a composite or other material, you do not know how rare that is in value-priced wine. The packaging goes beyond the norms for ten buck wine. The alcohol content is a healthy 14.3%.
Liberte Pinot Noir 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red with black highlights. The nose is ripe cherry, herbs, spice, black pepper, tea, raspberry, it is a pretty decent Pinot Noir nose.
This is a soft, smooth Pinot Noir that is rough around the edges and on the first sip maybe can use another year of age. It tastes of ripe cherry, sharp spice, sweet plum, and light herbs. The mid-palate offers strawberry in cream (not sweet), orange zest, tart cranberry, and tea. The acidity lets the flavors do their thing but otherwise does not interfere. The tannins are sweet and provide a bit of structure.
- The Liberte Pinot Noir 2017 is pretty good for a $9.99 Pinot Noir, it tastes good and has a solid structure.
- This Pinot Noir will work well for the typical Thanksgiving menu, it will not overpower the mild turkey flavor, the herbal elements match well with stuffing, the harvest fruit flavors are seasonal and the acidity will help clean the palate. All that for $9.99.