Cabernet may be the reigning king of American grown luxury wines, but it also offers many value options that boast an incredible wine experience for very little money in exchange. Cabernet fans benefit from it being the most planted grape in the United States, and that means that after a lot of higher end barrel or vineyard selections are made, there’s great fruit left over and some of it makes it into a budget minded bottle.
2015 Noble Tree Wickersham Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California $15
When we talk about benefiting from the volume of Cabernet planted in quality sites in California, this wine is pretty much a prime example of what we mean. Quality fruit from a very renowned, cooler region in California. The wine is classically styled, and it’s price is stupefyingly low. While it clocks in at a pretty high alcohol %, it tastes nothing like it, this is a balanced, borderline elegant wine. Even better this is a single vineyard bottling of 100% Cabernet for under $20, so you’re the winner here.
Aromas of tobacco, graphite and red plums hint at a complex Cabernet particularly for this reasonable price. The palate is midweight, elegant and textured. Flavors of cocoa powder, blackberry and just a hint of spearmint.
2014 Heritance Napa Valley Cabernet, Napa Valley, California $30
This is a true Cali Cab classic. Fruit from renowned sites in Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and a few others are blended to capture the legendary style California is known for with Cabernet. The wine spent eighteen months in French oak and has been gifted with vanilla and tobacco aromatics that mingle with fruit and spice. The palate is layered and complex. Plenty of fruit and mocha character and loaded with structure. The finish is extraordinarily well balanced and tilts towards elegance.
Given the going price point for Cabernets of this kind of distinction, it’s very much a deal at $30.
There is outstanding New World Cabernet coming from beyond California, Argentina and Washington lead the pack.
2016 Trivento Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina $10
Outstanding bargain Cabernet with aromas of brambleberries, currant and espresso. The palate is brighter than you might expect from Cabernet owing to the wine’s fermentation in steel instead of barrel. This is an expressive fruit driven wine. Flavors of currant, blackberry and plum come to the fore while tannin and a long finish end the show.
2015 Chateau Ste Michelle 50th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington $15
Washington has perhaps become the best place in the New World for Cabernet Sauvignon value. Chateau Ste Michelle single-handedly built this state’s wine industry which now counts fourteen different AVAs and one thousand wineries.
This special commemorative Cabernet displays what Washington is known for, fruit and silky tannin. The aromatics of blue fruits, anise and baking spices. The palate is the kind of silky goodness that only comes from Washington, or so it seems. The sandy soils of the Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge vineyards make for some of the mostly beautifully structured wines you’ll find at any price point. The fantastic structure is rounded out with rich black fruit, espresso bean and spearmint at the finish.
2016 Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, $8
Chile’s Central Valley lays between the country’s Coastal Range and the Andes, irrigation is a possibility thanks the the Maipo River. The sandy and rocky alluvial soils make the Central Valley very well suited for the red wines that Chile has come be known for. Cabernet is by far the most widely planted variety throughout the region.
Effusively aromatic Cabernet from Chile, showing loads of black fruit, vanilla and barrel spice. The palate is lush red and black fruits and clove. The wine’s finish is polished and long lasting.