17.5 winehiker points*
Last month, my friend Kim passed along a personal wine recommendation to myself and to my friend Vindu. Vindu was the first to respond, saying:
Kim and Russ,
Finally found the 2001 Pyrus in my local Trader Joe’s today. Bought a bottle, cracked it open. OH. MY. GOD. It’s the most awesome $8 red I have ever tasted. Smooth like a Bordeaux blend, yet complex and with a nice warm finish. Low acidity, just pure grape perfection.
I’m going back tomorrow for a case. At least.
Having tasted a fair amount of wine in the company of both friends, I figured I didn’t need to be told a third time. In fact, Vindu’s palate often appears to be similar to mine in that he tends to like many of the same flavor and body profiles that I do, plus he and I tend to vote the same group picks at tastings.
I high-tailed it over to Trader Joe’s after a recent local hike. You never know how fast word can spread, and I wanted to make sure I got at least one bottle before this $8 gem was all gone. I arrived at the Los Altos store, scanned the wine aisle, and though I did find some Lindeman’s wines, I didn’t find any Pyrus. The help staff made a call on my behalf to the Sunnyvale store where, sure enough, they had about 18 bottles on hand. A few minutes later, I walked out of that Sunnyvale store with 4 bottles of promise in my hands.
The 2001 vintage of Lindeman’s Pyrus, from the Coonawarra region of Australia, is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc, and wholly drinkable right out of the bottle. It’s violet color in the glass is pleasing, and so are its immediate berry, cherry, and slight tobacco aromas. There’s even a slight hint of gold in the wine’s color, suggesting that the wine has aged nicely.
On balance, this wine is solid, with a mildly spicy sweetness and an acid/tannin structure that rocks steady. While smooth in body, presumably from the presence of the Merlot, it’s texture on the tongue is not entirely stellar, though it’s mighty close. With the Pyrus’ moderate fruit complexity, rounded balance aspects, medium-full body, and crowd-pleasing finish, I’d say that this wine is an excellent one to tell your friends about.
But you might just want to keep the Pyrus to yourself as a very well-made and affordable bottle of Bordeaux-style wine for everyday drinking. You better hurry, though — the way my buddy Vindu is buying this stuff, it’s flying off the shelves at Trader Joe’s.
Yep, Vindu has four cases already. And incidentally, Vindu’s got a friend in Australia who laments the current price of the 2001 Pyrus in the Land Down Under to be over $40 a bottle. Good enough reason to stock up now.
$7.99 at Trader Joe’s
Disclosure: I soon after purchased a case of this wine myself from Trader Joe’s. At this price, how could I not?
Also see guest author Vindu Goel’s follow-up post, Pyrus vs. Pyrus: Is the Lindemans Pyrus 2000 better than the 2001?
*Rated on the 20-point Davis scale.