The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a $14.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. This is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot sourced somewhere in Napa Valley. Trader Joe’s says, “This is a very, very, very (very) special wine that comes from one of the most prestigious wineries in Napa.” They also say, “wines like this can sell elsewhere for up to hundreds per bottle.”
That is an excellent introduction to $14.99 wine, and Trader Joe’s usually does not over-hype their wines. But is the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 a $100 wine selling for $15?
The first clue to this Cabernet is a 2020 vintage in the Fall of 2021 that is awfully young for a Napa Valley Red wine. This is one of the few 2020 Napa Cabs that are currently released, a more typical current vintage would be 2019 or 2018. The 2020 vintage Napa Cabernets for sale now sell in the $20 to $35 range, depending on the producer’s prestige.
Custom wine brand wineries make most Trader Joe’s Reserve Series wines, specializing in these one-off wines. But the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is sourced from an actual Napa Valley winery supposedly using the same grapes and vineyards as their main wines.
Trader Joe’s is not giving any clues to the origin of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Most top Napa Valley wineries get their grapes from smaller appellations, such as Oakville or Rutherford. Giving us Napa Valley as a location is the least they can do.
So, this wine is a product from a famous winery, but it is way too early of a release. You can get clues about the wine’s production techniques from its release date. A young wine, say a red wine from 2020, is made to allow the wine to come together quickly. They control the tannins and the acidity; they use a light touch with the oak seasoning.
A top Napa Valley Red gets all the bells and whistles during production, and if it takes an extra year or two for the wine to find its balance, that is ok since the customer is willing to pay for all the extras.
How can Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 be as young as it is and still be compared to wine that sells for hundreds of dollars? I guess that the grapes, the juice is from a prestigious winery, which at $14.99 is worth the price of the wine. But maybe had a different oak barrel treatment.
While what Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer says about the wine and what we actually have does not completely add up, a young wine from a top Napa winery is an interesting and unique wine. SO, on to the tasting portion to see if that helps make sense of this Cab. The alcohol content is 15%.
Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is opaque, deep, dark red; there is almost more black than red. The nose is blackberry, black pepper, warm spice, caramel, French vanilla, ripe plum, and mint. The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 does have finesse and length; maybe this is the expensive stuff.
This Cab tastes of sleek, rich blackberry, exotic but balanced spice, cooling sweet vanilla, and raspberry. The mid-palate offers a slightly rough but welcome brush of tannins, a blast of oak spice (maybe this Cabernet Sauvignon could have used a bit more aging), bitter dark chocolate, and dried coconut.
The tannins show, but in a good way, while the acidity is exceptionally balanced.
- The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a wine that is well worth drinking.
- This is a small batch wine that when it sells out it os gone forever.
- A 2020 vintage Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is too young when compared to the typical Napa Valley Cabernet release, but that does not mean it is not an excellent wine.
- This young Napa Valley Cabernet is a rarer wine than all but the most exclusive Napa Cabs, take advantage while you can.
- One added observation is that the bottle is a Napa Cab bottle and there is a real cork. I keep my corks and over the years less than 10% of the bottles on CWF have real corks. This wine has a real deal cork.