The VINTJS Organic Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is an $8.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive produced for them by DnA Vineyards, located in Mendocino County, California. DnA Vineyards is Dennis Patton and Andrea Silverstein, with Dennis having been a fixture in the Mendocino wine industry for over 40 years. DnA makes some of my favorite Trader Joe’s exclusive wine. While DnA does have their own vineyards in both Mendocino and Sonoma, this is most likely a wine where DnA acted as a negociant, which means they purchased wine from an established winery and then sells the wine under their own label, usually at a reduced price from the original wine. Now, here is the odd part about the VINTJS Organic Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, it”s the 2014 vintage. Current vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon in the value price range is 2016, even some Napa Cabs (not the ones meant to be cellared for 15 years) are in the 2015 vintage. 2014 was not a bumper crop, it was one of the drought years, where yield was smaller than usual, so why the 4 years of age? Actually the last 2 or 3 sub-ten buck TJ’s wines where older vintages. Are they leftovers from past years? I didn’t think wine was like the close-out rack at department stores, the 1st week the item is this price and the next week if it is still there they mark it down even further. Maybe it is that simple, wines in this price range are not made to last forever, you can put away expensive wines for 10 or 20 years, but value wine is made to drink now and won’t improve over time. If you want to know who the original producer of this wine is you can Google “organic Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon” and a list of likely suspects will come up. Or you can just drink the wine, a $8.99 organic, single AVA, Cabernet Sauvignon does not come along every day. The alcohol content is 13.7%.
The color is a very dark cherry red with extra black highlights. The nose is very promising, oak spice, vanilla, dark berries, brownies baking in the oven, plum, and a slap of exotic spice. This is a soft, rounded Cab, not super complex, but rather tasty. It starts with blackberry, tart raspberry, Snickers chocolate, soft blueberry, and vanilla. The mid-palate brings cranberry and baking spice, and a late shot of orange zest. The tannins don’t bite and the acidity is abundant enough to be a food wine, but mild enough to be a sipping wine. The finish fades quickly but does not completely go away.
The VINTJS Organic Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is a very well priced California Cabernet Sauvignon. It has more taste and structure than you can reasonably expect at this price point. A delicious California Cab that sells for under 9 bucks and is organic as an added bonus is a very, very good thing. It does not have the richness and the depth of more expensive Cabernet Sauvignon, but it overachieves at $8.99.