2012 Terrenal Kosher Wines – new Vintages at Trader Joe’s
It has been only six months since we last posted about the kosher wines at Trader Joe’s. Which by the way, is very deja vu from what I said in that previous posting as well. Terrenal, has been very good at keeping up production, releasing solid QPR wines, and essentially making us all happy – until Trader Joe’s runs out of the wine and then we have to wait for 6 or so months until the next vintage arrives!
By the time I released the last posting, the 2011 Terrenal Chardonnay had essentially run dry, in all of the Trader Joe’s in my area. The good and bad about store specific wines is that, for the most part they are reasonably priced – but they have the downside of always being in high demand and in relatively low supply.
The Banero continues to not be available here in the west coast. The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo are both available in the area, but the clear winners are the new 2012 Chardonnay and Malbec.
There is ZERO comparison between the last Terrenal Malbec and this new one. All I can say is that if you blind folded me and asked me to guess the varietal of the 2012 Malbec, I would have guessed Australian Shiraz, given the crazy blueberry and floral notes. Nothing comes close to this wine, in terms of price – I mean that seriously! I have never tasted a $4.99 bottle of wine that tastes this good – period! So for a QPR brain-dead winner, get some bottles of the 2012 Terrenal Malbec, and it is mevushal to boot!
The new 2012 Chardonnay continues to impress, a wine that shows what a talented winemaker can do with unoaked chardonnay. This wine may not be a home run, but it is clearly a very solid single that could have been legged out into a double, if not for the few issues listed below. The Malbec, on the other hand was a solid single that was easily legged out into a double.
Continuing through the portfolio of Trader Joe’s kosher wines, the Sara Bee is available throughout the Trader Joe chain of stores, as the Moscato craze has yet to calm down in the wine world. Sara Bee continues to taste as wonderful as always, while the 2010 Tempranillo is not tasting as good as the last time I tasted it, and the 2010 Cabernet from Spain is starting to lose some of its charm.
I am posting the previous notes as a reference, so that you do not need to go back to the older posting:
2012 Terrenal Chardonnay (Curico Valley, Chile) – Score: B+ (QPR)
This is a new vintage of the very successful and reasonably priced unoaked Chardonnay available at Trader Joe stores nationwide. The price may be right (4.99 a pop), but price has ZERO bearings on how I score a wine. This wine smells different from the 2011 but has very similar tastes.
The only con I could find is the more bitter finish than the 2011 vintage and fact that it is now closed with a 2-inch plastic cork! One would not think that a longer plastic cork is annoying, but it is harder to get out and harder to replace temporally and take off again. The nose screams with grapefruit, lemon fraiche, guava, peach, and vanilla, all expressed with ripe almost sweet fruit. The mouth is really nice with sweet lemon, fig, Asian pear, yellow apple, along with lovely and almost mouth-coating mouth. The finish is long with melon, good balanced acidity, a bit of sweet citrus zest (without the pith), lovely tart citrus, along with a bit of vanilla and floral notes to close out the party.
2012 Terrenal Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) – Score: B++ (QPR)
I told my friend about this wine and he said that his son has raved about it as well. He swung by the house and loved the floral and blueberry liquor nose. So what was the outcome, the next time I went to Trader Joe’s they were sold out! So much for recommending wines to my friends next time! :-)
WOW! This wine starts off with a crazy attack of floral notes and about nothing else – really it starts of smelling like a lilac, rose, and Jasmine bouquet. However, with a bit of air and time, lovely ribbons of blueberry, black cherry, black pepper, and spice appear. The mouth is smooth and round with nice ripe fruit, almost layered and definitely attention grabbing, with blackcurrant, tea, and spice. The finish is long and almost rich with more blue and black fruit, root beer, and nice tannin that coats the mouth along with bitter hops and herb. BARVO!!
2010 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon (Yecla, Spain) (not-mevushal) – Score: B to B+
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is rich and vibrant with black forest fruit, an almost perfumed nose of blackberry, and raspberry, along with black cherry, rich earth, and herb. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a nice, but its previous complexity is slipping somewhat, though backed by spicy fruit, almost mouth coating tannin, and nice blackcurrant, in a round mouthfeel. The finish is spicy with an almost green tea finish. This is a wine that goes a long way to making you rethink entry-level wines. I could care less what this wine costs, this is a fine wine, but one that is not as good as it was some time ago – enjoy now.
2010 Terrenal Tempranillo (Yecla, Spain) (not-mevushal) – Score: B
The nose on this wine is rich and vibrant with floral notes, black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, earthy aromas, herb, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a nice quaffer, but lacks any attention grabbing notes, with spicy fruit, nice round tannin, rich earth, and an overall mouth feel that spicy and enjoyable. The finish is round with nice spice along with a dollop of herb and vanilla on the long finish. This is a fine wine, but not what I had originally thought, it has lost a bit of the luster, but still a fine wine.
N.V. Sara Bee Moscato (Italy, Puglia) – Score: B++
The nose on this effervescent light gold-colored wine starts off with a powerful hit of honey and a touch of yeast. After a small bit of time, the wine explodes with summer and tropical fruits, peach, apricot, mango, pear, lychee, and papaya. This wine has a wonderful effervescence and fruity nose. The mouth on this medium plus bodied wine is lovely with nice effervescence, sweet honey, papaya, lychee, and pear. The mid palate is balanced nicely with acid and light toast, and effervescence. The finish is long and tasty with papaya, honey, and caramel, with the honey and caramel lingering long on the palate.
This is a more balanced, fuller, effervescent wine than the usual kosher blue-bottle Bartenura Moscato. Nothing against the Bartenura Moscato, but it does not compare and it is at least double to triple the price of this wonderful wine. Get a bottle or two and try it out. The Sara Bee Moscato is available at Trader Joe. Finally, as usual my score NEVER includes the price. This wine is scored what it is scored solely on its merit – irrelevant to its price, availability, or its kosher status.
N.V. Banero Prosecco – Score B+
The nose on this straw-colored Prosecco is screaming with a lovely bubble fest, along with a nice muscat nose, perfume, orange rind, yeast, toast, and honey. The mouth on this rich medium bodied wine starts off with a hit of bitterness, apple, honey, prolonged small mousse bubbles, and toast. The mid palate is core with acidity, toast, and drop of yeast, and orange peel. The finish is long and mousse-y with honey, slight bitterness, and toast. This is a wine that has a bit of beer bitterness at the start, which fades a bit, but lingers with a nice balance of perceived sweetness from the honey notes. The mouth is rich with small mousse bubbles that lie on your palate for a very long time, long after the wine is gone.