Vinas Chilenas Trader Joe’s – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2006

Let’s call this 3 buck Chuck from Chile.  I can understand why TJ’s would want to create a wine from Chile.  The region is hot, and produces some great wine for the money.  I’m not sure what the overall process was for this venture, but it says it is produced and bottled by Videma S.A.

You know, this might be a spoiled bottle.  It smells bad and tastes bad.  Or maybe it just IS bad.  I also have the Merlot, and it isn’t near as bad, so I think I’ll take this bottle of Cab back to TJ’s and see if they’ll trade for another bottle.  If that one sucks too, I’ll just say, OK, this wine just plain sucks.  Check out my review of the Merlot.

OK, I’ve traded the bad bottle for a new one, that seems much better.  Phew!  Alright, let’s do this proper…

Color is medium to dark garnet w/purple.  I don’t have a candle at the moment, but I’d say it would light up nicely.

The nose is pretty tight, as would be expected.  It ain’t givin’ up much.  Maybe some plumb, red currant, and a slight floral aspect.  As slight as it is, I’m surprised at how “nice” it is.  Maybe its just because of how bad the first bottle smelled.

The taste was also surprising.  Mostly raspberries, with a hint of cherry and strawberry, a developing black pepper.  Mouth-feel is soft with low acidity and almost nonexistent tannins.  Really smooth, and a bit light.  The finish is of strawberries and raspberries, lingering black pepper, although slight.  There is a slight unpleasantness in there, not sure what it is, but another sip takes care of that.  :-D 

All in all I have to agree with the few people I’ve talked to about it… “it really isn’t bad”.  I like the Merlot better, but this doesn’t suck, to be sure.  If you’re on a TIGHT budget, I can’t imagine you could get a better wine at this price.  Probably the best wine under $5 ever.  If you’re drinking two buck chuck, switch to this set of 3 buck Chilean Chuck.  Beware of the bad bottle though!  ;-P

Rating:  80

Price:  $3

3 comments on “Vinas Chilenas Trader Joe’s – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2006

  1. I am a sommelier in the San Francisco bay area. I routinely sell wines in my michelin rated restaurant for upwards of 2 or 3 hundred dollars. I daily taste the finest wines from all over the world.

    All that being said, Trader Joe’s Chilean Cabernet is my personal house wine. Like you, I have gotten the occasional bad bottle, but for $3 a bottle, there is not another bottle out there from anywhere that even come close to this in terms of quality.

    My advise is buy this by the caseful and forget about 2 buck chuck for casual everyday drinking. Believe me, you will not miss that extra dollar.

  2. You know I had forgotten about that little gem! Thanks for the reminder! We”re going to re-taste it and see how much we agree. It certainly would be a cost cutter!

    On a similar note, we recently got a case of Haven’s Merlot for $7/bottle at K&L Wines… now that ‘s a bargain! I’m not sure I would like to spend the retail $20 for a bottle of it though, but for $7 it is a steal. Too bad this winery closed its doors. ;-(

  3. Well, we tried the current vintage of the Merlot and Cab…

    The Merlot was so-so, but still, a good deal for the price. It didn’t last overnight with the cork out, which superior wines have no trouble doing.

    The Cab was pretty decent. Maybe around 88pts. I will probably switch to this wine as a daily drinker when my supply of Havens Merlot runs out. You are certainly right about one thing… it is a screaming deal at $3/bottle. I would also highly recommend this wine as a daily drinker. Not so much for a date wine though, you’re better off splurging a little on your date. :-) Maybe try the 2003 Gagliole Rosso… soooo yummy and pretty (looking, smelling, and tasting)!

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