2005 XS Red California Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per uncork29.com “A couple weeks back while out doing some shopping, we happened upon a relatively new offering from the The Hess Group, which operates one of our favorite wineries here in the valley–The Hess Collection up on beautiful Mount Veeder. It seems as though the 2005 vintage produced a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon, some excess as it were, which Hess has turned into its $6 XS Red 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Never one to pass up trying something new, we bought a bottle and gave it a shot with our homemade pizza. At 13.5% alcohol, the wine was soft on the nose and very fruit forward on the palate. We got hints of plum, blackberry and bell pepper and found it to have a somewhat disappointing finish. All told though, for six bucks you can’t really go wrong with the XS Red for any everyday table wine type-deal”

What I Think:

As mentioned I got the inside scoop on this one from the good people over at letsgokings.com and headed out to track it down. Nearby we have a Trader Joe’s and Cost Plus next door to each either. Upon arrival I ran into Cost Plus to check some things out and as always ended up taking a look at the wine. Low and behold saw this bottle for $5.99. I was on my way to Trader Joe’s next but given that I had my 2 year old son with me I wasn’t coming back to get this one if they didn’t have it next door. So I forked over the $6 just in case. Get next door, they have it, $3.99. I don’t know about you but if I am working at Cost Plus I am taking this bottle out of peoples’ hands and sending them next door. I couldn’t live with that on my conscience. Again I ask, Trader Joe’s how do you do it!

Shortly after I get it home I twist off the screw cap and am greeted with green pepper aromas on the nose. This triggers warning bells for me. In my uneducated mind I attribute this two ways. To fresh wine that has been bottled recently and needs to settle. Or to wine that is just not good. Given the results that follow we know this is indeed a worthwhile effort so “fresh” must be the correct answer in this case. On the palate the wine is fruit forward, but not in an overpowering way which is so often typical in lower priced offerings to hide all of the other flaws. Flavors of plum and dark currant were laid over heavy barrel notes leading to a smoky, spicy finish with just a tinge of green pepper. On day 2, the green pepper was gone from both the nose and the finish making it even that much more pleasant. This wine is very straight forward, a perfect quaffer. Only one question remains, is this declassified juice from the Hess Collection better than the $2.99 Red Flyer offering from Hahn Estates. That is a question I will be happy to answer for you. In the meantime grab a bottle of each and let me know what you think!

Rating: Buy It