Photo of label of bottle of Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Lot #90

Trader Joe’s Introduces their Platinum Reserve Wines – this 2017 Mt. Veeder CabSauv is Good as Gold

Fast facts:

  • 2017 Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Lot 90 Napa Valley, California ($14.99 @Trader Joe’s, California)

News flash!

Trader Joe’s has a new higher tier of exclusive label wines: Platinum Reserve. Judging by the fact that one of their first releases is a Napa Cab from the prestigious Mount Veeder AVA, this is gonna be good for us lovers of wines with high QPR. (QPR = Quality to Price Ratio.)

AVA is an abbreviation for American Viticultural Area, of which there are 16 in Napa Valley alone.  You’re in good company if you can’t name them all, but this should help you next time you need to impress your friends:

See the source image

As you can see in the map above, Mt. Veeder is just over the Mayacamas Mountain Range from Sonoma. As we discussed in our prior post ( a good general rule is that hillside and higher altitude vineyards produce superior fruit, hence superior wines that do vineyards on valley floors.  Using the map above to support this “rule of thumb” some of the best wines in Napa come from not only Mount Veeder, but Howell Mountain, Diamond Mountain and Spring Mountain.  You get the picture.

The bad news is that this particular wine is only available in California (where it’s legal for them to purchase it directly from the winery and cut out the blood-sucking middlemen called distributors) so if this post finds you reading in the Golden State…get busy!

What Trader Joe’s Has to Say about this Platinum Reserve Wine

This wine was featured in TJ’s October Fearless Flyer.  They are somewhat biased, I admit, but here is what they had to say about this wine:

That name’s a mouthful, we know. Luckily, for anyone who gets a chance to try it, so is the wine. Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Lot 90 Napa Valley 2017 comes to us from a hillside AVA that’s one of the smallest sub-appellations in the Napa Valley. Because of the steep, mountainside terrain of primarily sedimentary clay and shale soils, vines struggle to take root and grapes grow differently. Mt. Veeder’s Cabernet grapes are renowned for their small size and intense flavors. That intensity translates into incredibly full-bodied wines that generally come with incredibly full-bodied prices. (Not at TJ’s, of course; keep reading.)

The ruby red wine inside each bottle of Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Lot 90 Napa Valley 2017 greets you with aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry, and blueberry, with earthy overtones. Each sip brings intense and rich wild berry flavors, with notes of cocoa and spice, and a hint of oak detected in the finish. It’s an ideal wine to serve with roasted meats, hearty pasta dishes, and full-flavored cheeses. Our price of $14.99 for each 750mL bottle represents a tremendous value – we haven’t seen Mt. Veeder Cabernet for less than $28 anywhere else. 

Glass and bottle of Trader Joe's 2017 Platinum Reserve Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with a Labradoodle photobomer
The Labradoodle photo bomber begging for a sip of the good stuff…

All bias aside, this IS a really nice wine.  It pours dark, portending deep and complex flavors.  In the glass, it delivers.  It is youthful and vibrant with a melange of berry, spice and dark fruit flavors. This is a wine that has clearly spent some time in expensive oak casks.  The finish is a bit “short” (for more discussion on “finish” see this post from last week: and the wine is still young and a bit tannic, but I found that letting it rest a bit after opening helped smooth things out.

A Wine for the Coming Seasons of Wood Fires, Heavy Sweaters and Food

Autumn has arrived, and soon wines such as this will be the right pairing for the season.  Typically, Mount Veeder Cabs are special occasion wines.  But at this price, this could be your everyday pour when the nights get chilly and you want to hunker down by a fire, with a good book and an even better wine.


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