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The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Diamond Mountain District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a $14.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive; this is also Lot #92, which may be important in this series of wines. For the last six months, TraderJoe’s has offered a line of small-batch wines featuring grapes from premier Napa Valley sub-AVA’s.
Are these wines $50 wines selling for $15? The answer is no. The grapes may be from the same vineyard as expensive bottles of wine, but the winemaking is probably very different from those Cabs. Trader Joe’s offers no information on the who, what, where, and when of these wines, so we have to look for clues to figure out what is happening here.
The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Diamond Mountain District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 has some bottle age. I am not sure when this wine was released, I think in September of 2020. This gives this Cabernet Sauvignon 3 years of aging. The other Platinum Reserve Napa wines that were available at my local TJ’s were 2019 vintages.
Even a lower-end Napa Valley sub-AVA Cabernet sells in the $40+ range. These wines undergo complicated wine-making procedures and detailed oak barrel aging to be worthy of their price tag. Many of the grapes lend themselves to long-term cellaring, and that calls for very precise winemaking. They do not want to find out in 10 years that something was not right.
These Trader Joe’s Platinum Cabernets from 2019 had to have had winemaking procedures not particularly different from most retail wine shop Cabernet Sauvignon in the under $15 category. These wines are made to come together quickly and be ready to sell sooner rather than later. These are interesting and unique Cabernet Sauvignon since they feature grapes never seen at this price point.
This leads us to the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Diamond Mountain District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Lot 92). I think TJ’s released this Cab around September 2020, which gives it 3 years of aging. The Diamond Mountain District Cabernet may have had some of the same winemaking techniques as the pricey bottles. Diamond Mountain Cabs sell for $50 to several hundred dollars per bottle.
Diamond Mountain District is a small AVA (about 600 acres planted) in the Northwest corner of Napa Valley. Spring Mountain is to the South and Calistoga is to the North, and east, Sonoma is to the West. This is one of the higher elevation growing areas in Napa; it is above the fog line. So, no morning fog to delay the heat of the day, but the higher altitude provides cool temps and intense sunlight.
We never know who made any of these Platinum Reserve wines, but the producers of the 2019 vintage wines may have gotten their hands on grapes or freshly crushed juice. The Diamond Mountain District, which seems to be produced in a more complicated style with some aging in mind, may well be from a local winery.
Since the other Platinum Reserve wines (2019 vintage) sell for the same $14.99 price with only a short aging period, this Cab stands out. There are many possible reasons for the extra aging, but Diamond Mountain is a small growing region, and excess grapes are not easy to come by. I am speculating, but the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Diamond Mountain District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Lot 92) may well be closer to the typical Diamond Mountain Cabs than the 2019 vintage TJ’s Napa Cabernet. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Diamond Mountain District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is garnet red with deep black highlights. The nose is ripe blackberry, vanilla, plum, a whiff of alcohol, saddle leather, herbs, bitter dark chocolate, and spice. The Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Diamond Mountain District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 has an excellent mouthfeel with complex flavors.
It tastes of blackberry, a sharp hit of exotic spice, cool blueberry, black pepper, a tannin sensation, and astringent tea. The mid-palate adds very tart cherry, orange zest, mint, toasty vanilla, a salty sensation, and ripe plum. There are more tannins on display than atypical $15 wine, but that is an excellent thing. The acidity is well-balanced; this is a well-made wine.
- If you can find the Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Diamond Mountain District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, BUY IT!