Trader Joe’s Reserve Carignane 2012

image of Carignane TJ's

Trader Joe’s Reserve Carignane

Trader Joe’s Reserve Carignane 2012 Lot 87

On our recent trip to France and Spain, we tasted a ton of wines that were blends containing the Carignane grape and ones that were nearly or altogether 100% Carignane. These wines were from the Southern Rhone and the Languedoc in France and the Priorat and Montsant regions of Spain. You hardly ever see a wine labeled Carignane from anywhere in the U.S. I spotted the Trader Joe’s Reserve Carignane Lot 87 – 2012 on the shelf at the Millbrae store for $9.99 and purchased a bottle to give it a try.

We are beginning to see some red wines from the 2012 Vintage, one that many are touting as one of the best vintages in many years. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this wine. This 2012 Carignane came from vineyards in Mendocino County. I do not know exactly where these grapes were sourced but more than likely they are from the Redwood Valley area near Ukiah. I enjoyed this wine, although it was far different in style from any of the Carignane wines I tasted in France or Spain. The Trader Joe’s Reserve Carignane gives off red and dark fruit flavors, but predominantly cherry. It is medium bodied but a bit short on the lingering finish described on the front label. Overall, a very enjoyable wine that is certainly food friendly. I think the wine is a perfect match with one of the rotisserie chickens at Mollie Stones, Whole Foods, etc.

It is unfortunate that Trader Joe’s has little information on the label about how the wine was made and the exact location of the vineyards or if there is any blend to the wine. Trader Joe’s likes to keep their wines top secret. I don’t really understand why!

E Locations Wine from Orin Swift – $15 K&L Wines

E wine is the second edition of this Spanish red blend, and once again it is a delicious wine that captures the essence of Spain. It is so enjoyable and compelling with each sip. For $14.99 I think this wine is an outstanding bargain wine. It goes well with a variety of meat dishes. The E Locations wine is a blend of Grenacha, Tempranillo, Monsastrell, and Carignane form the Priorat, Jumulla, Toro, Rioja, and Ribera del Duero. It is mind blowing how winemaker David Phinney can put this wine blend together from so many areas and come out with a masterpiece. For me, I get aromas of spice and blueberries and matching flavors on the palate. I love the complexity of this wine and the great long finish to the wine. When I sip this wine, I think Paella. I love cooking up a Paella and I know this wine will match perfectly. 90 Points

image of e locations wine

E Locations


  1. The first varietal Carignan I ever tasted was made by Simi Winery in the 1930’s. It was a surprise to see but just a wonderful bottle of wine. When Simi changed hands in the early ’70 s they had a large stash of old wines and sold them for pennies on the dollar. Look forward to more varietal Carignanin the future.

    • Cline Cellars makes a Carignane and has Carignane vineyards in Costa Contra County. I also believe that they use Carignane with some of their red blends. Perhaps the Cashmere.

Speak Your Mind