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This is a cautionary post about buying a wine based solely on ratings. I know better but even someone who’s done this for a while can be dazzled by rhetoric, multi-thumbs or points (high or low).

Last week I featured the thumbsupwine.com site. I mentioned that I don’t always agree with the reviews but it can, at times, be a useful site. They had posted that day about the LaGranja 360 Tempranillo/Garnacha blend  ($5.99) from Trader Joe’s, giving it a two thumbs up. I’m unable to locate the review though, because they change every day.

Tempranillo is one of my favorite wines so I thought I’d see how this one fared. I really should have read the Lagranja360 website first.

FullSizeRenderLagranja360’s comment: “The zebra on the label shows her desire to change her image. She paints her pelt a brighter colour. This represents the desire of the wine to change the traditional world of wine to an innovative new concept. La Granja 360 Tempranillo Garnacha has dark and ruby colour and offers up a nose of red cherry accompanied by a whiff of incense. Sweet, ripe and tasty, this wine is it all.”

Had I read this blurb, it would have been enough to warn me off this one. I LOVE traditional Tempranillo and don’t wish for change. Dry, savory, spicy, medium-ish body…that’s what I enjoy. This wine is nothing like, and if I’d done my research, I’d have realized it never presented itself as such.

It is fruit forward. REALLY fruit forward. To be honest, I sincerely hope that they are the only ones trying to “change the traditional world of wine to an innovative new concept”. It would be sad to me to see true Spanish Tempranillo go the way of the higher alcohol, sweet fruit bombs so prevalent these days.

However, let me reiterate that I truly enjoy the traditional style of Tempranillo. That is my taste preference. If you prefer a sweeter, fruitier wine…this could be right up your alley (and a good price to make it even more tempting). Just don’t expect a true Spanish Tempranillo or Garnacha style; and by that I mean a blend that is possibly fruit forward because of the Garnacha, with Tempranillo dry, savory and spicy undertones, giving it dimension/depth/character…I obviously expected too much from a $5.99 wine.  On the other hand, sometimes Trader Joe’s really surprises me with the deals they offer…so I went into it with high hopes.

Overall, this has been a good reminder for me to further research before I purchase. Tastes vary so much in wine (as with everything else) that it’s better to read the description of the wine (to get an idea of the taste profile) than go by a “thumbs up”, “thumbs down” or points related review. Points (or thumbs) really mean very little, if you don’t like the wine. I’ve seen some wines rated very low by critics that are quite nice…dimensional, layered…but not in the high alcohol, fruit forward style that particular critic favors. So do yourself a favor…if you follow blogs, wine writers or websites…read between the lines. Taste and explore for yourself…you might find that there’s a whole wine world out there that you haven’t yet visited.

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