This guide to the Trader Joe’s Merlot (Grower’s Reserve) is part of our value wine series. Discover great tasting and affordable wines at insanely low prices. The Trader Joe’s Grower’s Reserve Merlot can be found at your local TJ’s for as little as $4.99 in most markets. Scroll down further in this article to see prices by state.

Best Merlot at Trader Joe's - Trader Joe's Grower's Reserve Merlot Review, Tasting Notes and Food Pairings

Unfortunately, the Trader Joe’s Merlot Grower’s Reserve is priced at $5.99 in my local market, though most states carry it at $4.99. Keep an eye out for it around the store, they typically feature on stands in the middle or near the wine aisle.

Trader Joe’s Merlot Grower’s Reserve Review

 Organically grown in California, USA

Our Score

We’ve been drinking some extraordinary Merlot’s so far this year, but given the taste and PRICE of this wine, I knew it was time to do another value Trader Joe’s review. Many of our readers frequent TJ’s, so it’s worth discussing in a little more detail. When I stumbled across a single remaining bottle of Merlot at my local Trader Joe’s, I had to investigate further. Why is this thing flying off the shelves?

Related: Checkout our top rated value wines from Trader Joe’s to try this year

Well, for one, it’s not everyday you see a wine priced at $4.99 — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. At that price point though, it’s understandable why people are just walking by and grabbing a bottle. Plus, Trader Joe’s has done a remarkable job over the years at sourcing their own grapes from vineyards around the world and crafting wines under their own label. Where many other retailers have tried and failed at this, Trader Joe’s has succeeded — year after year. That being said, TJ’s loyalists are likely to be confident in their branded purchases, and they’re winning me over as well. I’ve also noticed little difference vintage after vintage — a result likely due to the fact that grapes are sourced from several ideal Californian Merlot regions in an effort to achieve consistency.

Did I mention that the Trader Joe’s Merlot is also ORGANIC? Yeah, it is. For those of us who are sensitive to pesticides and unnecessary pollutants and excess sulfates, this Merlot offers a safer bet to wake up the next morning without a headache or puffy eyes.

Trader Joe’s Merlot Calories

If you’re concerned about the calories you’re ingesting — don’t be. The benefits of having a couple glasses of red wine, especially when it’s organic far exceed the negatives. But, if you are curious about Trader Joe’s Merlot calories, it’s safe to say you’ll run yourself about 120 calories per 5 ounce pour. That’s on par with most other Merlot’s from the region, though some premium wines with higher alcohol content may exceed this. The key is to consume wine in moderation. Plus, new studies are revealing that a glass of red wine a day is beneficial to your blood and heart and carries benefits you can typically only acquire by working out for an hour. So… drink up!

Serving the TJ’s Merlot

Given the youth of the wine and the elevated acidity present, it makes sense to chill the bottle to about 61 degrees Fahrenheit prior to serving. About 15 minutes in your average fridge. Following chilling, this wine should ideally be decanted for about 20 minutes in either a decanter with a large surface area of a self-aerating wine glass (use code WINEDERLUST for 10% off any of these awesome decanters or self-aerating glasses). Decantation is not necessary, but allowing this Merlot to breathe a bit will help soften the acidic nuances. 

Trader Joe’s Merlot Grower’s Reserve Tasting Notes

In the glass, this wine shows its youth with a medium intensity ruby color and low viscosity. The nose pops with fresh red fruits and subtle vanilla tones. On the opening palate, this wine exhibits a medium body, a bit on the lighter side with rhubarb, red cherries, raspberries and blackberry. The mid-palate reveals medium-plus acidity and oaky tones of vanilla and cacao. Tannins are mild. Also detectable are some mild and inviting herbaceous tones and spices, along the lines of dry underbrush and subtle cracked black pepper. Approaching the finish, red fruit flavors remain dominant with a mild hint of spice box over a medium finish.

Trader Joe's Merlot Food Pairing - Penne alla Vodka - Grower's Reserve

Penne alla Vodka with your choice of meat makes for an ideal pairing alongside the Trader Joe’s Grower’s Reserve Merlot red wine. Image courtesy New York Times.

Food Pairings That Go Well with the Trader Joe’s Merlot

This Merlot is a great candidate to be paired alongside and tomato-based pasta dish. Penne alla vodka and chicken or Veal Bolognese are both fantastic choices. Your classic Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs dish will no doubt be a crowd pleaser.

Checkout some of these great recipes:

Trader Joe’s Merlot Price by State

According to Trader Joe’s — TJ’s Grower’s Reserve California Merlot is currently available in Trader Joe’s stores where wine is sold in the following regions (it is $4.99, unless otherwise noted): AZ, CA, DC, FL: $5.99, GA: $5.99, IA, IL, IN, KY: $5.99, MA, MI, MO, NC, NE, NH: $6.99, NJ, NM, NV, OH: $6.49, OR, SC, TX: $5.99, WA, WI & VA.


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