The StoryThe Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a wine that sells for $6.99 at Trader Joe's. Is it a Trader Joe's exclusive? I don't know since this wine does not conform to the typical Trader Joe's exclusive wine brands. The Technique label is owned by the Precision Wine Company which has 9 different labels and specializes in Napa Valley wines. This bottling is not shown on their website, but there is a Technique Chardonnay from the Knights Valley AVA.The Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma is about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean but is a warmer climate growing region since it is blocked from the Ocean by mountains. The Russian River runs through the middle of the Alexander Valley and the river gives the AVA the cool mornings and the even cooler nights to offset the warm summer days. The Russian River AVA, which is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is south of Alexander Valley. The Alexander Valley is THE Sonoma AVA for Cabernet Sauvignon.The Precision Wine Company produces wines that sell in the $20 to $65 range and generally speaking Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon does not sell for $6.99. A typical Trader Joe's exclusive wine is contracted from a winery who along with Trader Joe's creates a dummy wine company and a unique wine label. The dummy wine company is used to hide the original source since Trader Joe's wines usually sell for less than the producing wineries line of wines. The details involving the production of the wine are hidden, to hide the original winery and to keep costs down. But with the Technique Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon we know who made the wine, cellared and bottled by does not mean too much, but we don't know why it is $6.99. Is this a wine they made especially for Trader Joe's and just didn't bother to hide the origin? Is this a Cabernet Sauvignon leftover from their wine club offerings? Is this a wine produced to sell for seven bucks or is it a wine that fits into the Precision Wine Companies portfolio and should list for $20 plus?Since Sonoma County Alexander Valley Sauvignon Cabernet doesn't sell for $6.99 in retail shops it probably does not fall into the first category, but what is what with this Cab Sauv remains a mystery. Maybe tasting will shed some light on just what is in the bottle. The alcohol content is 14.5%.The Tasting NotesThe color is a very nice shade of purple. The nose is subtle, the aromas are soft and integrated, there is ripe blackberry, black pepper, plum, oak spice, and a little vanilla. This is a balanced, dry Cabernet Sauvignon. It starts with blackberry, black licorice (Iknow licorice is supposed to be black, but I grew up on Twizzlers and they were red), black pepper, and soft, slightly sharp spice. The mid-palate brings raspberry, tart cranberry, none of these berries are super ripe and juicy, a little cream and a late slap of orange zest. The tannins are soft and sweet, you barely know they are there. The acidity is balanced and the finish is subtle and light but does linger.The Summary * If this were a twenty-dollar Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, I wouldn't be too impressed. It was nice to try, I liked it, but I would probably never revisit this wine at a later date. * But $6.99 makes all the difference. It has subtlety and balance that are rare in inexpensive Red wines. * So this is a Cab Sauv that is too good for 7 bucks and not so good for 20 dollars. But then again nobody but me mentioned $20 when talking about this wine so that comparison isn't fair. * But at $6.
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