Next time you’re at Trader Joe’s, pay extra close attention to the wines which make up the ‘end caps’ or the stacks of wine at the end of the aisles. Often these are the new wines or are staff favorites which come backed with high recommendations. In the case of Familia Nueva’s 2008 Liberté Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a favorite of the assistant manager who has guided me well in the past with wine selections; so this was definitely on the list to try.
The Wine: You won’t find this wine anywhere else but Trader Joe’s. It stems from Creston, California which lays between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo (here’s a map for a brief geography lesson). From the research I’ve done, it seems this winery can often have a hand in the private label wines Trader Joe’s carries from this region. OK, cool. So how does this wine taste?
The Experience: I had two experiences with this wine: un-decanted and decanted.
Un-decanted – This wine had a jammy red raspberry and dark fruit nose presented nicely with a rich red color with squeezes of blackberry violet to darken the juice. Sour Bing Cherries would best describe the palate with a light white pepper rounding out a medium-short finish. In the mid-palate, there was a slight earthy, perhaps green olive component which was making itself somewhat noticed. It was nice – but I could tell this wine had more to offer…Out came the decanter.
Decanted – As per the back label recommends 15-30 minutes in a decanter really turned this wine around and up a few notches. Naturally, the rich and attractive color remained the same, but a beautiful bouquet opened up to reveal a very pleasant red rose pedal, green olive, currant, and dark cherry components. On the palate you will find good representations of currant, cherries, earthiness and just the right amount of tannins and acidity to refresh your mouth. The finish remains medium-short, but there is the slightest hint of strawberries on last notes of the finish – I like. All indications point to this wine was oak aged, but there is no overbearing oakiness or vanilla components. This wine is comprised of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec and 1% Petite Sirah – which explains the simple complexities of the wine.
The Bottom Line: Worth-Buying/Buy-Half-A-Case
This is a solid bottle of Central California Cabernet, especially at the $10 price point. Liberté is a regular on the shelf at TJ’s which is the only reason this wine has the dual rating – otherwise I would highly suggest picking up a few bottles before it ran out. This is a Cab for both everyday and nicer occasions. Here is a good candidate of a wine to compare side by side with the Trader Joe’s Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($10) to taste two different regions and styles of California Cabernets. Buy this wine.
Question: What components do you like best about Cabernets from Northern California vs. Central California?
Wine Dork Info:
- Price: $10
- Appellation: Paso Robles, CA
- Wine Maker: Mike Sinor
- Grape Varietals: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec and 1% Petite Sirah
- Alcohol: 14.1%