The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Sonoma Brut NV (2020) is a Trader Joe’s $14.99 non-vintage blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier sourced from vineyards in Sonoma County AVA in Northern California.
The back label says this Bubbly was “produced and bottled by” Rack and Riddle, Healdsburg, California. They are an independent wine company that specializes in Traditional Method (same as Champagne) Sparkling wine.
There are some California Sparkling wine producers that do have their own production facilities for the second fermentation of Sparkling wines. But there are many brands of California Sparkling wines that originate ate Rack and Riddle.
The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Sonoma Brut NV (2020) is part of the Platinum Reserve series of Trader Joe’s wines the break out of the typical TJ’s $9.99 or less price point. The Fearless Flyer has mentioned in the past that the Platinum Reserve wines are equal in quality to wine selling at twice the price.
That is a bit of a problem when talking about Traditional Method Sparkling wine since Champagne dominates the market and commands a price greater than the competition. The price of Champagne is not based on the cost of production as much as it is based on what you are willing to pay for it.
Most other Traditional Method Sparkling wines that do not come from the Champagne region are forced to sell their wines at more affordable prices to compete. So is a non-vintage Sonoma County Bubbly made by a custom wine service, even if it is a very good custom wine service really equal to a thirty dollar California Sparkling wine?
The answer is maybe, it could well be, but since we know nothing about the production details that would confirm its higher price, it hard to tell. At $14.99, the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Sonoma Brut NV (2020) competes directly with California Bubbly from Chandon, Piper, Gloria Ferrer, Roederer, and the New Mexico Bubbly from Gruet.
With those other wines, there is a pedigree and the vineyards and the production techniques are documented, while Trader Joe’s Bubbly is a one-off wine with no documentation.
I have not tasted the Bubbly yet so all this musing may be mute if it turns out to be sensational and the Platinum Reserve wines that I have tried were well worth the money.
It is just that with most Trader Joe’s wine it is easy to tell if you are getting a bargain or not, these Platinum wines start to bring some doubt if the elevated price is warranted on every occasion.
So on to the tasting portion, the alcohol content is a precise 12.72% and this is a Brut Bubbly or not sweet.
Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Sonoma Brut NV (2020) Tasting Notes
The color is at first looks almost silver, then turns to gold, the bubbles are tiny and energetic. The nose is slightly yeasty, with green apple, lemon, lime, grapefruit, melon, cherry, and a whiff of minerality.
This is a nicely balanced Bubbly, it does taste expensive (but then again, so does its competition), it is both smooth and tart. It tastes of chewy crusty bakery bread, tart lemon, tart apple, cherry hard candy, and a salty sensation.
The mid-palate adds kiwi, pear, soft spice, and a mix of peach and melon. The acidity is excellent it allows the flavors to unfold and will have you reaching for the next sip. This bottle will be empty before you realize it, so pace yourself.
- I still do not know if Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Sonoma Brut NV (2020) at $14.99 is better than its competition, there are some strong Bubbly in this price range.
- Is it worth $14.99? Yes, it definitely is, this is quality Bubbles.
- So, there you go. I do not know if this is a bargain, but you do get what you pay for and that is great drinking Sparkling wine.