Trader Joe’s Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

The Trader Joe’s Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. The Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer says this wine would sell for around $25 at a retail wine shop. A quick web check showed a 2017 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon selling in 2023 for a range of $20 to $70.

Trader Joe's Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Most wines, both Red and White, selling for ten bucks tend to be 2020 or 2021 vintage. A 2017 vintage $9.99 wine is out of place. A typical value-priced $10 wine can be cellared for five or six years. It is produced to be at its peak on release and extra aging may or may not improve the wine.

Drink-it-now value-priced wines are made from grapes with tannins and acidity that will allow the wine to come together in a shorter amount of time. Grapes with these attributes are plentiful and the reduced aging and production time allow the wines to hit the market sooner at a good price.

The Trader Joe’s Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is already (in February 2023) at the edge of the typical cellaring recommendation. This is either a wine that needs to be consumed by year’s end or it was not made like the typical value-priced wine.

Wines in the $25 to $50 come from grapes with more tannins and more acidity. These grapes can be heavily extracted during the fermentation process and have enough structure last a decent length of time. Maybe not 15 to 25 years like the top wines but a good 10 years and these wines will also improve with age, even though they too are ready to drink upon release.

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Is the Trader Joe’s Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 one of these wines or maybe something in between? Without production notes, it is hard to tell. But since the Fearless Flyer pegs this to be the equal of a $25 we can safely guess that this is no ten-dollar Cabernet. The alcohol a mild by today’s standards 13%.

The Trader Joe’s Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Tasting Notes

The color is a deep dark black cherry red. The nose is ripe blackberry, chocolate, black pepper, a savory note, mushroom, meat cooking on the grill, and floral around the edges. This is an interesting nose. The Trader Joe’s Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is bright and alive, the extra age has not dimmed this Cab at all.

This Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like ripe blackberry, soft spice, blueberry, a little black pepper, and plum. The mid-palate shows sour cherry, chewy tannins, toasty vanilla, more spice, and cranberry. This Cabernet Sauvignon is silky smooth with a nice contrasting slightly rough edge.

The Summary

  • The Trader Joe’s Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a good tasting Cab, I have no doubts it was once intended to sell for $25.
  • A $25 wine that sells for $9.99 is the definition of a wine bargain.

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.