Langtry Estate, “R.C.T.J.W.F.” Petite Sirah 2006

by Tim Elliott on January 2, 2009

At the end of last year I started a series called “Wines For Recessionary Times” but neglected to post many reviews. Tonight I’ll start to get back on track by featuring a wine I picked up recently at Trader Joe‘s market for $5.99. This is a throwback to wines from the past with TJ’s as they used to be quite active in tracking down good values on the California bulk market. But in recent years, they have mainly been known for their Two Buck Chuck, which to be fair is just box wine in a bottle sold for $2-3 depending upon how close you live to the factory.

Trader Joe's "R.C.T.J.W.F." Petite Sirah 2006Tonight’s selection is from Langtry Estate who are probably better known for their Guenoc label of value priced wines. Both of their brands feature a Petite Sirah that I have enjoyed in the past and this wine is probably made from declassified barrels. Nothing wrong with getting some cash for excess inventory and from my experience here I think they will sell this effort through pretty quickly. The name “R.C.T.J.W.F.” is an acronym for “Really Cool Trader Joe’s Wine Find” and I’m hoping to see some other varieties in this series show up this year.

Tasting Notes:

Langtry Estate, “R.C.T.J.W.F.” Petite Sirah 2006 ($6) – Very dark purple-black in color with aromas of slightly stewed plum and blueberry jam. Juicy blackberry and blueberry fruit finishing with polished tannins. A fruit bomb but still nicely done for the price.

13.9% ABV
Natural cork closure
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bret_linfo36251 bret linford

    Tim, do you know why it is called the 'Langtry Estate'? Silent film star bought this property and the name has stuck. Located outside of Middletown, Lake County, CA…

  • http://www.ourwinestory.com Dylan

    The minimalist label is really fun. I feel like I'm looking at a bottle that has been marked as a container during barrel transition in the cellar.

  • http://enobytes.org Pamela

    Having once lived in the Lillie Langtry house, I can assure you that Lillie would be rolling over in her grave if she saw this label – but to each his own. Langtry Estate use to be Guenoc's high end line. If you've ever had the chance to taste their Meritage back in the 90's, you know how special it is and if you can get your hands on a bottle you are in for a real treat. I'm all for value wines (especially in this economy) but I am surprised this wine wasn't specifically marketed as one of their lower end 'Lake County' wines. I'm sure its probably a pretty good value wine overall, but I'm shocked to see the words 'Langtry Estate' and 'TJ's excusive' juxtaposed as a Langtry selection – I'm intrigued to say the least.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bret_linfo36251 bret linford

      Very intriging, Pamela! We've tasted there once and bough a few 1/2 bottles of the meritage. Very good…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/winecast winecast

      It is somewhat surprising they didn't use another brand or hide this under some other name but it's on the back where most consumers don't look anyway so little brand damage done. I just always attribute the wine to the producer listed on the bottle.

    • http://enobytes.org Pamela

      It is somewhat surprising – I'm curious where the grapes came from (Guenoc Valley app or elsewhere – does it say Tim?) and how many cases they made.

      Bret – pretty good Meritage! I'm sad I didn't cellar a bottle or two.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/winecast winecast

        The appellation is just "California" on the label so the grapes could have come from anywhere. Most likely this was a blend from 2 or more AVA's.

  • Dr Bananabrains

    Guess somebody read this or just got a clue as I just bought a bottle with a tasteful label that has CULINARY RESERVE SELECT on it as well. I suspect those are just three random words used by TJ, but does not say TJ on it anywhere.

    I think it was about 6 or 7 bucks and although not even reminiscent of the meritages, I would buy and drink it again. I agree with Tim that declassed barrels can be an awesome value and this ain't a bad mix. It is very thick fruity and there are moments of clarity where it comes together, but overall it what it is: a decent blend of decent grapes with no class but Lake really.

    As it works out, I am happy to find decent bottles of wine for under ten bucks! Decent ain't greatness, make no mistake, but you can taste more than just generic taste of the fruits here. I found I enjoyed this more when fully hydrated; it is a wine that can make you thirsty.

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