The Story The Rain Cloud Red Blend 2016 is a $5.99 wine from Trader Joe's. This is a bit of a mystery wine, there is no official information for it on the web. The Rain Cloud Red won a Silver Medal in the Cabernet Sauvignon based Red blend category at the San Fransisco Chronicle Wine Competition, it was the least expensive ($9.99) wine in the category. There was also no mention of this wine being affiliated with Trader Joe's. So, what can we tell from the bottle? The bottle is a heavy, this is no light weight eco-bottle, which you would expect for a $5.99 wine. Light weight bottle means less bottle cost and lower shipping costs since shipping is determined by weight. The label is two colors, which helps with reducing printing costs, but is well done and attractive, the black and gold looks good. It is a 2016 vintage, which gives the Rain Cloud a fair amount of bottle age. A Cabernet Sauvignon based Red wine will need time to come together to reach its peak. It looks like the Rain Cloud Red was given the proper time. The winery listed on the back is a faux-winery, probably created just for this wine. The wine competition tells us that the Rain Cloud Red Blend was not produced to sell for $5.99, but $9.99. How it became a Trader Joe's wine, I don't know. But it is an award-winning (Silver Medal) wine that originally sold for almost ten bucks. The alcohol content is a typical for California, 14.5%. The Tasting Notes The color is an opaque cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries and spice, with dusty chocolate powder, and a slightly herbal edge. This Red blend has medium+ body and a flavor profile that hits way harder than $5.99. It tastes of ripe black cherry, a slap of exotic, slightly sharp spice, tart cranberry, and chocolate bar chocolate. The mid-palate offers blackberry and cream, and a late hit of black licorice. The tannins are smooth and so is the acidity. This is a smooth wine with an occasion slap of sharp flavors, which gives the wine a little personality. The finish is full and lasts a respectable time. The Summary * This is a killer Red Blend at $5.99. At closer to $10 the Rain Cloud Red Blend will have some competition, but at $5.99 it is a standout. * Don't be afraid of trying very cheap Trader Joe's wines. Five years ago a $5.99 probably was not going to be a pleasant experience. Today, more often than not they deliver way above their price tag. * With very inexpensive wine, the bottle itself will give you clues. Learn how to read what to read what the bottle is telling you. An eco-bottle and a boring label should indicate a wine where they cut corners to reach a price-point. Heavy bottle and an artistic label may mean a wine that somehow fell into the lower price range.
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