The 223 Grenache 2020 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s wine in the USofA, though it is available at wine shops outside the US in the $13 to $16 range. This is 100% Grenache sourced from vineyards near and around the village of Cébazan in the Languedoc region of southeast France.
The 223 in the name refers to the growing period for the Grenache grape, from bud break till the leaves fall. I doubt if that will ever be a trivia contest question, but you will impress everyone if it is. The 223 Grenache 2020 is produced by LGI Wines who make custom-label wines to order. This is a widespread business model in California, and this is the French version.
One cheap wine tip the CWF always gives is, if you want the best quality Red wine at the lowest price, learn to love Grenache (France) or Garnacha (Spain). Value-priced Grenache wines are not common in California or the West Coast in general. American wine drinkers are not exposed to affordable Granache wines.
There is an association of winemakers, mainly in the Central Coast AVA, called the Rhone Rangers, specializing in producing wines inspired by the Rhone Valley wines and the Languedoc. They are mainly boutique, small-batch wineries, and their wines, while they are a good value, are not value-priced.
The Grenache wines and blends from France and Spain are often sourced from old-vine vineyards and are made by winemakers who have decades of experience with the grape. These wines are quite often very affordable. Grenache does not need oak barrel aging, it has the structure to do fine without oak seasoning, but it also does well when aged in oak. The 223 Grenache 2020 is unoaked.
This wine is also vegan-friendly. You say it is made from grapes; why wouldn’t it be vegan-friendly? Fining a wine means removing the solids leftover from the winemaking process. Wines are traditionally “fined” using egg whites. While egg whites work very well, modern winemakers often switch to minerals to do the job.
The 223 Grenache 2020 has an alcohol content of 14.5%, which is more in line with Lodi Zinfandel than your typical French Red. A warm to hot growing season is probably responsible for very ripe grapes. But this is also a wine created for export and possibly made with Trader Joe’s in mind. A ripe, juicy Red wine is something that will appeal to American value wine drinkers.
223 Grenache 2020 tasting Notes
The 223 Grenache 2020 is a smooth, sleek, dark wine with some nice spice on the mid-palate. The color is an inky crimson red with black highlights. The nose is rich blackberry, black licorice, soft spice, a little mocha (I don’t know where that is coming from since there is no oak), raspberry, and light herbs.
It tastes like extracted, intense blackberry, softer plum, black pepper, a salty sensation, licorice, and dusty, mild tannins. The mid-palate offers a nice contrast from a blast of exotic spice, followed by raspberry and chewy herbs.
This Grenache has 14.5% alcohol, but it holds it well, it is a ripe wine, but the overall impression is a well-balanced wine.
- The 223 Grenache 2020 is a French wine that American value wine drinkers can easily understand.
- This is a tasty Grenache, full of ripe fruit and interesting counter-flavors.
- This wine sells for twice the Trader Joe’s price in Europe, so it is a bargain.