The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2020 is a $14.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. I am not sure the difference between a Platinum Reserve, a Diamond Reserve, and the good old Grand Reserve Trader Joe’s wines. But they do have a track record of being solid bang-for-the-buck wine.
The Santa Lucia Highlands is situated in the foothills on the east side of the Santa Lucia Mountains in Monterey County. It is south of Monterey Bay, and the Blue Grand Canyon is off the coast. The Blue Grand Canyon is a deep canyon in the Pacific Ocean that retains cold water and is one of the coldest spots in the entire ocean.
It is a prime Pinot Noir growing region, with great soil and warm days followed by very cool nights, the perfect recipe for Pinot Noir grapes. 60% of the vines planted in the AVA are Pinot Noir.
So, Santa Lucia Highlands is a terrific place for Pinot Noir wines but is the story with the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2020? A $14.99 price tag is slightly unusual for Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s says this little concerning its origin, but that is expected with negotiant wine. The original winery does not want you to know where it came from.
2020 vintage Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot sells in the $18 to $35 range. Pinot with more age can get very pricey. Is this TJ’s Pinot one of those $18 to $35 wines, or is it from a more expensive Pinot Noir and had different oak aging so it could be released for sale sooner?
Under normal circumstances, I would figure the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2020 was one of the $18 to $35 wines. But Covid has created many difficulties for the wine industry. Restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, resorts, and wedding venues which were massive buyers of high-end wine, have been limited in 2020 and 2021.
A great deal of wine should have sold in the last two years that had their intended buyers close down for extended periods. New vintages are coming in the pipeline, and these older vintages have to be sold somewhere. Expect to see trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Costco wines coming with affordable wine from high-end growing regions.
In 2008 during the worldwide economic meltdown, there were new bargains at Trader Joe’s every month. New retail wine shop brands popped up for one of two years with bargain-priced wine until the economic problems sorted themselves out and the wine industry returned to normal.
I do not know the origin of the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2020, but I would not be surprised if this Trader Joe’s wine came in some form from a wine that sold two or three times the price. The alcohol is rather stiff for a Pinot Noir 14.5%.
The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red with some serious black highlights. The nose is ripe red berries, BBQ on the grill, mushroom, herbs, spice, and plum. The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2020 starts silky and smooth; it acquires some rough edges on the mid-palate.
This Pinot Noir tastes like tart cherry, black pepper, spice, a little not sweet Dr. Pepper, and cranberry. The mid-palate adds sharp spice, milk chocolate, orange zest, and raspberry. The acidity is well-balanced, and it allows the flavors to unfold completely.
- The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2020 is a solid Pinot Noir, it has too much alcohol for my liking. It gives this Pinot Noir too much oomph, when good Pinot needs to be delicate.
- This is a food wine, when paired properly the extra dose of alcohol would disappear.
- It drinks fine and if you prefer your Pinot Noir along the lines of Meiomi this could be a favorite.