Rutherford for $15! Can such an inexpensive Cab from such a renowned region really taste good? We find out in our review of the Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 97.
There's no info on how this vintage was made, but the first iteration of this wine, the 2017, spent 6 months in oak barrels (50% French and 50% American). Given this new version is a 2019 and on the market already I'm guessing it is similar. We should also note that the naming convention on this vintage is slightly different, labeled as Napa Valley instead of Napa County and Lot 97 versus Lot 88 on the 2017.
The Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is available exclusively at Trader Joe's and sells for just $14.99.
And as we've noted recently, Rutherford Cabernet under $20 is popping up everywhere, including the Member's Mark version at Sam's Club and the Kirkland Signature edition at Costco. Both of those wines; however, push our price limit at $18 and $20 respectively. Can a $15 version from Trader Joe's possibly compare to these, much less to the real deal retailing for well over $20? Let's find out.
There's no info on label except that like a lot of the Trader Joe's wines, it is cellared and bottled by Behind The Scene Wine Company. It has 14.5% Alcohol.
More specifically, the label points to Rutherford, and even more specifically, we can tell you some of Napa’s best vineyards in Rutherford, west of Highway 29, stretching from the road to the base of the Mayacamas Mountains. Those who know call this area the “Rutherford Bench.”
Well, that certainly sounds promising and it delivers at first sniff. The 2019 Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 97 begins with a really wonderful aroma of black cherry, licorice, cola, spice, cocoa and more.
Taking a sip shows lots of smooth, ripe, dark fruit on the savory palate along with really well integrated spice. Excellent touches of vanilla and spice lead into dry, savory, very long, dusty and a bit chewy finish. Being so young, the wine does need a good amount of time to be at its best so if you drink it now give it plenty of time to breathe or just let it get some more age in the bottle.
While we wouldn't rate it any higher than the Sam's or Costco versions, it is definitely a solid 9 on our Taste scale which means this one gets the nod in the overall rating thanks to its lower price. Buy it if you see it!