Caves du Fournalet Cotes du Rhone 2011 Wine Review (NW)
Red currant notes on the nose
Light to medium bodied on the palate
Cherry and spice on the finish with light pepper accents
Well, I haven't reviewed many Trader Joe's wines on this site in part because PB does a great job covering the Trader Joe's selection for our readers. He hasn't hit this one yet, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.
Here's the deal: this is a simple, straightforward wine that tastes like it should and goes down easily. It's a "you get what you pay for wine". But there's a catch- it's a noteworthy wine because there simply isn't a lot of Cotes du Rhone imported into the US at this price. As a Trader Joe's exclusive, it's only $5.99. Packaged in a squat 750mL botttle that recalls a common French bottle shape from several hundred years ago, it's probably tucked away on the bottom shelf of the French red wine section going unnoticed.
This is where Trader Joe's shines, particularly now with French, Italian, and South American wine (name brand wines are not particularly good bargains at TJ's). They sell a ton of exclusive house brand bottlings at single digit prices built on the successful Charles Shaw model. There are some really good Cotes du Rhone wines at $10-20 in most other wine shops, but you just won't find much wine priced at six bucks like this.
These bargain wines at Trader Joe's are in the spirit of the table wines of Europe. Consumed night after night at the dinner table, they are simple, affordable, reliable wines that no one in their right mind would wax eloquent about on a blog like this. On the other hand, in the US we tend to put special status on wine and consume far less per capita. As a result, we analyze and perhaps over-analyze even cheap everyday wine. The problem is compounded by restaurant markups on cheap wine in the US that are often 300-400% over retail forcing us to, at times, treat even simple bottles as splurges. This is not the intent for a wine like this. Just pour a glass, drink it with dinner, and do it again the next night.
Thanks to Trader Joe's for capturing this spirit. While I don't buy a lot of wine there, I appreciate the model and am glad to see that its allowed people to sample wines from around the world at rock bottom prices. Raise a glass!