The Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from vineyards in California. There is an exception to this being an exclusive wine. In New York, grocery stores can only sell beer; wine must be sold at liquor stores. An online wine retailer in New York sells the Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 for $11.99.
It is not always easy to quantify the exact degree of bargain Trader Joe’s lines represent, but in this case, a seven-buck wine in TJ’s equals a twelve-dollar wine in New York. There is no information available about the production of this Pinot Noir, and I did check the national trademark registry and found out who owns the brand name.
This wine comes from a wine business owned by a family that operated vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley for decades but sold off their holdings and became negociants. A negociant is a French term for a wine business where they purchase surplus wine from existing wineries and resell the wine under their label for a lower price than the original.
Since their identity is not on the label, I will not name them. But, they do have extensive contacts throughout the California wine trade and beyond. In the negociant system, the name of the original winery needs to be hidden since the reseller is undercutting its price. I am hiding the negociant name since my only information linking them to this wine is a trademark listing.
The Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 is three years old, which is a good age for a $6.99/$11.99 Pinot Noir. Is this a Pinot that was produced in a way that needed extra aging to find its balance? Or is this a wine released last year, and there is still a supply left on the shelves?
The current supply chain issues are impacting Trader Joe’s. On my last visit, they had condensed the wine department to half its original size because of the lack of wine, and the import section was 1/3 of the selection it had a month ago. Trader Joe’s may be clearing out their warehouse to keep the store stocked.
The Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 is a negociant wine meaning that it should be less expensive than its original cost, and Trader Joe’s is a low-price wine store, so that we may be getting double savings. California on the label indicates the wine was sourced from vineyards in two or more AVAs, including the Central Coast AVA, North Coast AVA, and Central Valley AVA. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru, clear, garnet red with some black highlights. Pinot Noir should be a light color; it may have another grape added in if it is darker. The nose is pretty good, ripe cherry, herbs, mushroom, soft spice, dried fall leaves, and plum. The Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 is an excellent old-school California Pinot Noir, soft and smooth with an exciting array of flavors.
It tastes like cherry, tea, ripe raspberry, black pepper, herbs, and spice. The mid-palate adds French vanilla, orange zest, a slap of exotic spice, and tart cranberry. The tannins are soft, and the acidity beckons you to take another sip. Pinot Noir has some funky/cool flavors that are not always found in value-priced Pinot Noir. The Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 has those flavors, so maybe the $11.99 New York price tag is on the money.
- The Butler Pond Pinot Noir 2018 is a solid Pinot Noir and a bargain at Trader Joe’s $6.99 price.