It’s been a little while since I wrote up on a Trader Joe’s food and wine pairing. How thrilling that is turned out that our entire meal was based in items from one of our favorite stores.
It wasn’t planned that way or was it? Cue mysterious music.
There are wines sitting my stash that have been cozy and snuggled in hiding for more than a year. And some for a couple of years. The 2011 Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Lot 27 Napa Valley Meritage is one of those I’ve had for a while.
If memory serves me correct I purchased this in mid-to-late 2014 and I sadly put it off to the side. Perhaps it was being set aside for a special occasion. Not all wines are created equal, even though many table wines should be. This I would put up just a notch higher as I purchased it for around $13.00. For a TJ’s wine that is a bit higher.
I have no idea what this Meritage included. Nothing on the bottle would tell you any different. But I will say it was surprisingly good and got better with each sip. It was breathing for a while and definitely improved as time went on.
I did detect some oak, spices (including cinnamon or vanilla?) and most likely some black cherries. A wide assortment of berries could be another component, and you could take your pick as to what they might be. I just thought it was a solid wine that exceeded my expectations.
Why exceed? Because sometimes cheap doesn’t always mean good. I love Trader Joe’s and my go to for wine is their store near Old Town Alexandria, VA. I’ve wrote about them before.
Maybe it was the first time, feeling like a kid at a new toy store or discovering something brand new. It felt fresh and inviting. And there were so many bottles between $5-$8, that you could get in trouble. Maybe the good kind of trouble. That feeling hasn’t been back as much. Is it because I have expectations? Well the last few bottles have been a bit disappointing, and those cheap prices have slowly gone up.
So I went with one just a little bit higher and we’ve been rewarded. If you see this in your local Trader Joe’s, I would give it a shot. It’s not going to be the best wine you’ve ever had but that isn’t the intention. It can go with anything you please. My hunch tells me a sweeter meal woks more effectively here.
Luckily for us, we paired it with some Korean-Inspired Pork Shoulder sliders and Sweet Potato Frites, all brought to us by our aforementioned pals.
This was the different kind of sweet treat than we’re used to having. But sweet nonetheless.
Hopefully more love to Trader Joe’s to come.