How To Drink Trader Joe’s Coastal Merlot

What To Drink This Weekend

Trader Joe's Coastal Merlot Review by Confession Girl

I’m all for saving money, especially when you have a weekly wine and beer post. So, this week I wanted to try a $5 wine to see if its worth the expenditure. I went to the source of bargain, Trader Joe’s and bought the Coastal Merlot.

Trader Joe’s
Coastal Merlot
2012 Vintage
Central Coast (Location)
$4.99 per bottle

Since most Trader Joe’s wines are private label it’s pretty difficult to get the wine makers tasting notes. I opened up the bottle and let it aerate for an hour before I poured my glass. The color is a darker ruby burgundy, but fairly translucent like a pinot noir.

This bottle offers a very smooth tasting flavor profile. It’s almost too underwhelming in this case. Merlots are known to be softer, fruiter then other varieties like cabernets, but the maturity of the wine didn’t allow for depth of flavor. Definitely fruitiness from cherry came through on the palette, but like I mentioned the profile is very underdeveloped. The Coastal Merlot offers a very small amount of dryness, soft tannins and acidity is pretty mild.

Honestly, no. If you are going to shell out $5 for a wine I would recommend that you spend just a tad more and go for a $10 bottle. I have found some amazing, full-flavored wines that are fruiter, and softer then the Coastal Merlot. I think you will get more for your money, and not feel like you’re just drinking wine.

If you do find yourself trying the Coastal Merlot my suggestion is to pair this wine with a spicy dish. It’s been overwhelmingly hot in Southern California the past few days, so cooking light has been a must! I made a kale salad with spicy chicken with garlic bread. The bitterness from the kale was a nice pairing to this very subtle wine, and the spiciness from the chicken mellowed out the sweetness. Hope you enjoy!

Kale Salad with Spicy Chicken

Kale Salad with Spicy Chicken Recipe by Confession Girl

3 chicken breasts
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch salt
3 pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup of Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

1 package Trader Joe’s Kale salad
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 carrot (shaved)
2 portabello mushrooms
Handful of Trader Joe’s Spicy Sweet Pecans
Sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 – 1 cup of Balsamic Rice Vinegar or your favorite dressing
Garlic Bread (optional)

Feeds 3-4 people

Season chicken with pepper, salt and pepper flakes on both sides. Add the chili sauce and pat on chicken. Heat a large skillet for frying. Add oil when hot. Pan fry chicken until cooked in the middle, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Let chicken stand on cutting board covered for a few minutes. Remove cover and cool.

Chop your kale, tomatoes, mushrooms and pecans to your liking. Peel carrots or chop depending on your preference. Add to a mixing bowl. Add gorgonzola cheese and dressing. Mix well. Serve with garlic bread!


Karen a TV-aholic, enjoys the finer things in life, like sipping on wine, guzzling craft beer, reading thrillers and running. Studied nutrition and anthropology at University of Santa Barbara, but decided to follow a career in creative. Follow me on Twitter @confessiongirl2

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