Total wine and more: $9.99
Aaron: I was very impressed with this wine. I made a Cajun shrimp dish for dinner and was seeking something to stand up to it – this wine did so without wrecking the taste buds! The nose started off earthy and nutty but adapted into fruity flavors. Overall it was bold, rich and full which admittedly earned some bonus points. Unlike most of my wine adventures (when I either enjoy the nose or enjoy the taste), I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor of this Syrah. I seek out the bolder wines but normally am disappointed when the stronger tannins lead to unnecessary peppery aftertastes. This wine on the other hand featured strong berries in a slightly jammy setting. The spice was limited and the uncharacteristically medium-bodied flavor was not as rich as the nose, but still enjoyable. Of note, after a few sips I detected a nutty flavor at the beginning of the taste which was a pleasant predecessor to the fruits. 92 points
Teri: Sometimes the syrah varietal can be to bold or spicy to my taste, but this bottle had a warm balance. A bright fruit and earthy nose (fairly common for french wines) was nicely balanced by a medium bodied very long lasting raspberry flavor. The end trails with just a hint of spice. My only complaint was that the tannins were too full and rough for my preference leaving me with the urge to pucker my cheeks. Overall the wine was enjoyable but not my personal favorite. 84 points
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-The Vino Duo
Trader Joe’s: $3.99
Aaron: Teri hits the nail on the head with this one: standard but nothing too spectacular. I smelled earthy notes of spice mixed with fruit on the nose and felt that the “mediumness” of the body characterized the entire wine (yes I made up the word mediumness … expect to see it frequently throughout my posts from now on). The flavor included sweet, ripe fruits that played on the fringe of jammy but what really highlighted the quality of this wine was the tingling sensation that I normally taste when drinking carbonated water. 79 points
Teri: Trader Joe’s made a standard merlot but nothing too spectacular. The smell is faint with hints of dark cherry and spice. The flavors of the wine carry red but slightly tart fruits with medium tannins and a spice taste that lingers on the tongue. 78 points
Total Wine & More, $17.99
Aaron: My overall opinion of this Zin: find a different one. This may be a cute novelty and the bottle talks about how “big and bold” the flavor is, but when I blind tasted this I thought I was drinking a strong pinot. The nose was fruity and I concluded that the additional scent was of healthy tree leaves (unique I guess). The flavor was unfortunately not what I would expect for a $17 Zinfandel. I did taste dark berries and chocolate and I admittedly enjoyed the strong sense of nutmeg, but the body was just far too light for my preference. 85 points
Teri: This Zin was perfect for my taste: fruity and smooth with a smooth beautiful finish that lingers. The nose is bold but the taste is perfect. Flavors of blackberry and raspberry sit perfectly on the palate with long smooth tannins that yields a hit of nutmeg and coco on the finish. I love the novelty label that is perfectly memorable as the wine itself. 91 points