In the left corner, we have the Stags Leap Wine Cellars 2007 ’Artemis‘ Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the right corner, we have the Trader Joe’s Reserve – 2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
This was a pairing I had wanted to do since the Alexander Valley arrived about two weeks ago. Our last wine tasting/holiday party proved to be a great chance! So I featured this duo. I wanted to place the TJ’s Reserve against a high(er) cost wine to see how it would fair against which one would hope is a well built wine. I really like tasting two wines next to each other, it gives you a real chance for comparison and assessing what a wine is really worth to you, price-wise. Pretty much all of our crew tastings are the ‘pop and pour’ type of tastings; I wasn’t able to give either wine more than 45 minutes time to breathe and develop before giving each one a taste. (We will have an aireator for next time…)
Off the bat, the TJ’s Reserve has a nice dark berry and slightly dusty nose and both elements are transfered to the palate. There are tannins, but are not that incredibly tight or dominant, so this is one with maaaybe 2-3 years lay down time. But we are certainly dealing with a better than average daily drinker that will draw positive comments and nods of approval for the price. At $10 dollars per cork, you are getting value and bang out of this wine. Simply put, this is more affordable rendition of Cab from this part of Northern California.
The Stags Leap Wine Cellars ‘Artemis’ only really began to show its paid for refinements at about minute 45 and after tasting several other wines. It’s balance and attention to detail in the palate was becoming more evident than the TJ’s Reserve. The wine tasted and reacted very well in the mouth. It has the tall tale signs of its Napa Valley appellation - juicy dark berries, dustiness, tannins, oak and vanilla which all played well with each other on the palate; the nose is what you’d expect but rather conservative. Simply good wine chemistry. $50 bones.
Bottom Line: The Trader Joe’s customer looking for good wine to be consumed shortly after purchase, buy the TJ’s Reserve Alexander Valley. I feel this wine lives up to it’s price point and could add an fun dimension to a blind tasting event next to one of the Big Boys. If I were headed to the snow for the weekend and planned on not leaving the cabin all day, I’d bring the Stag’s Leap to enjoy it’s changes throughout the day.
Question: Have you had any interesting results blind tasting California Cabs?
Bonus Dork Info:
- Wine Maker – Nick Goldschmidt
- Barrel Aging – 100% barrel aged, 22% new barrels (time unknown)
- ABV – 13.9%
- pH – 3.65
- SO2 – 77pm
- TA – 6.1 g/L
- RS – <3 g/L
- Fining Agent – None
- Wine Maker – Nicki Pruss
- Harvested – August 30th – October 8th, 2007
- Barrel Aging – 18 months, 34% new French oak
- Blend – 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 2% Syrah, 1% Petit Verdot
- Alcohol – 14.%
- pH – 3.76
- Tirtatable Acidity – 0.56 g/100ml