The Beau Jardin Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is a $8.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive, or maybe not. The back label shows that Chateau St. Jean (Sonoma) vinted and bottled this Cabernet. While vinted and bottled only indicates that Chateau St. Jean produced less than 10% of this wine and bottled it at their facility, it does not rule out that a subsidiary or an affiliate had a hand in production. The back label also adds this clue, if you go to Chateau St. Jean’s website and look up their 2014 California Cabernet Sauvignon, the description and tasting notes match the Beau Jardin back label notes word for word. Either 1) whomever writes the promotional copy got lazy, 2) these wines are remarkably similar or 3) maybe they are the same wine with a different label. A quick check of the internet shows the Chateau St. Jean selling for a range of $11 to $16. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is dark, barely see-thru black cherry red. The nose is blackberry, baking spice, vanilla, plum, chocolate and raspberry. This is a medium bodied Cab, with good structure and lively fruit flavors. It tastes of ripe black cherry, plum, milk chocolate and cranberry. The mid-palate brings sour cherry and a late slap of spice. The tannins are sleek and the acidity is well-balanced, this is a food wine. The flavors of this Cab engage your palate and don’t let go, from start to a long finish.
I used to think it was easier to find a decent sub-$10 Pinot Noir and it was to find a good inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon, but the Beau Jardin Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is a very solid $8.99 wine. Good structure, well-balanced and fruit forward the way California wines should be. Pair it with any red meat you can cook on the backyard grill or sip it on the patio, it drinks well on its own.