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Old 08-10-2006, 07:25 AM posted to
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Default First impression of Trader Joe's "Napa River" wines

TJ's is now selling $5 wines called Napa River. They're apparently
made from excess Napa Valley bulk wine bought and bottled by Bronco.

I got one of each today to try. I do not know how consistent the
bottlings are, but Bronco seem to experts in blending huge quantities
of wine at a time.

The 2004 Napa County Chardonnay (I suspect much of the fruit comes from
outlaying areas like Guenoc, Pope Valley or even nearby Wooden Valley) is
actually quite good if you like Napa mainstream, medium-bodied Chard with a
nice nose, bit of spice, mild dose of oak and a topping of MLF custard,
decent finish with a little flint. Actually very nice and a bargain at $5;
I suspect this blend contains a non-trivial amount of very good wine that
normally sells for much more. I'm actually going to go back tomorrow for
perhaps a case of this.

The 2003 Napa Valley Merlot is kinda thin and a little weedy, but does taste
like Merlot. I'm thinking it's mostly moderately-ripe Carneros Merlot that's
seen only a mild dose of oak. Not really on my list for buying again, except
perhaps for making coq au vin.

The 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is medium-bodied and ready to drink.
Like the Chard, it really tastes like what one would expect from Napa Cab,
and there's a decent shot of mid-Valley character in this one. Reminds me a
little of BV Napa Valley, actually. Reasonably nice and a fair deal at $5.
I may get a half-case of this.

They're all much better than Charles Shaw, no glaring technical flaws
and quite drinkable at the very minimum. The Chard is the winner in
this group and the Cab a fine also-ran.


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Old 08-10-2006, 10:59 PM posted to
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Default First impression of Trader Joe's "Napa River" wines

My local TJs do not sell wine. NY law is one location per entity, the
recently opened NYC TJ's has an adjoining wine store (another NYC law,
wine stores have to have separate entrances). If I'm in that
neighborhood I'll try to buy a bottle or two. I know in the case of 2BC
with the huge volume tht Bronco was doing that batch variation was
immense. Curious what happens here. Thanks for posting.

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