Cabernet Sauvignon tagged posts

A Paul Hobbs Napa Cab Under $20?

November 21, 2012 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  No comments

Ahnfeldt Napa Cabernet 2009I've tasted several vintages of the Ahnfeldt Cabernet, and while I always thought it was a solid wine, I never found it particularly exciting... until they hired Paul Hobbs.  Hobbs is the Cabernet master (along with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Malbec).  Somehow every wine he makes, or consults for, turns out great.  At $19.95, this has to be the greatest value in Napa Cabernet.

Paul Hobbs is probably best known for his own label which produces Cabernet starting at $75 for the Napa Valley bottling and going up to $250 for the To Kalon Vineyard bottling.  The other part of Hobbs' business is consulting for several wineries from California to Argentina.  Wineries lucky enough to acquire his consulting expertise usually experience dramatic increases in the quality of their wines.

Read More

Robert Craig Affinity – High End Napa Cab Under $40

September 28, 2012 Cellar WorthyHigh End ValuesSpecial Occasions  No comments

Robert Craig's Affinity bottling really got on the map after Robert Parker awarded it 96 points in the 2007 vintage. I bought 4 bottles without tasting it. I've only had one and I'm very happy with the purchase. It's an exceptional wine.

That wine is long since sold out but, having drunk both pretty recently, I actually think the 2009 is drinking better today. Time will tell which ends up as the better wine, but today the 2009 is a massive Cabernet with a ripe nose of dark fruit with a background of oak. But where this wine really stands out from other Napa cabs in the price range is the velvet texture and exceedingly long, highly nuanced finish. A true Bordeaux-like elegance exists with Affinity, which makes since because it's grown just south of the Stags Leap District in a cooler

Read More

Finally, A Great Napa Cabernet Under $25

June 5, 2012 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  No comments

Now that the economy is thawing out, it's getting much harder to find good Napa Cabernet under $25.  In fact, the last one I wrote up was on November 1st of last year.  As a point of reference, I've written up several Bordeaux and Rhone blends under $25 since then.  So I was thrilled to taste White Oak's 2007 Napa Cabernet.

With most wineries realeasing 2009s, I'm not sure why this '07 is still around but I have an idea.  2007 was such a great vintage (arguably the best of the decade) and the economy was in the crapper.  So there were an excess of great values on the market at the time.  Fast forward to today and the economy has improved and two good, but not exceptional, vintages have been released (at higher prices).    How do those '07s look now?

This is super dense and

Read More

Second Wines Rock – Napa Cabernet Edition

April 25, 2012 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

If you read Wine Spectator's March issue, you're aware of the outstanding values the second wines of Bordeaux's top Chateau.  Napa has a long history of copying (and often improving upon) French winemaking, so it comes as no surprise that some of the Napa Valley's top labels also produce some fantastic second wines.

Here are some of my favorite second wines, in no particular order, with first/flagship wine in parenthesis.  When possible, I linked wines that are available for purchase .
Darioush Caravan - $37.95 (Darioush Signature - $88)
Since the 2007 vintage, this has not only been a great second wine, but one of my favorite Napa Cabernets, period!  It's a huge, complex wine that completely destroys most Napa Cabs both on quality and value.  The price has gone up from $30 since the

Read More

A $100 Togni Cabernet for $35

March 12, 2012 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Okay, the title of this post might be a little misleading.  The wine discussed here is not THE $100 Philip Togni Cabernet but it is made by the same person, comes from the same vineyard, and ages in the same 40% new French oak barrels as the $100 wine.  This wine, at 1/3 the price, is simply from the barrels that didn't make the cut for the more expensive version.

Try this analogy: I recently bought a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  The sales guy told me "you're basically getting a Mercedes ML350 for $20k less".  You see, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee was built on the same platform as the Merc.  Same frame, suspension, steering, some of the interior bits.  Sure it doesn't have as many gadgets and it's not quite as flashy, but the most important parts are Mercedes.

The same goes for Philip

Read More

A 91 pt Washington Cabernet Under $15 – Chateau Smith 2009

March 9, 2012 Daily Drinkers  No comments

I'm tired of being disappointed with the Cabernet I try in the under $20 price range.  Most are made of remnant or bulk wine, which is by definition sub-par.  So when I saw a 91 point rating awarded to this Washington Cab, I had to give it a try.

Charles Smith could very well be confused with Sammy Hagar with his golden mop and bold personality. Naturally, he applies that rock star attitude to his wine with bold labels and crazy names.  I love Sammy Hagar and Charles Smith, but I could deal without the shtick because he doesn't need it - the wines speak for themselves.  His K Vintners wines receive massive scores and his value priced label, simply called Charles Smith Wines, is all about value without pretension.  If this Cabernet is any indication, Smith is on the right track.


Read More

Caymus Strikes Again in 2009

December 1, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Which Napa winery releases their Cabernet almost a full year before most other high end producers?  Caymus. Why?  Because every single vintage sells out before the next is ready to be released.  Somehow Chuck Wagner manages to produce an incredibly consistent Cabernet regardless of the vintage, and his loyal fans recognize this.

Wanger put out a well produced informative video about how he makes Caymus wines.  If you are interested in the process, you would enjoy this video.  View the video on YouTube here.

Caymus's consistency comes down to vineyard management and after watching the video, I was surprised to learn that Caymus harvests by machine- something that most high-end wineries would not admit to.  It obviously works for them, and I appreciate that Wagner isn't interested in

Read More

A 90 Point Cabernet under $10 – Columbia Crest H3

November 28, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

I just got back from a vacation in St. Thomas where everything, including wine, is obscenely expensive.  As I was standing in the  aisle of the local supermarket, Food Center, the wine I picked without hesitation was a Columbia Crest Chardonnay.  Sure, it was 150% the cost of the same wine here in the U.S. but even at that price it was still absolutely a great value.

Such is the case with nearly all of Columbia Crest's wines and year after year the Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills, labeled "H3" is a standout among standouts.  Napa needs to watch its back because a trojan horse (or rabbit), called Washington's Columbia Valley, is making wines that are every bit as good, though different, and much less expensive.

The 2009 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet is one of those incredible

Read More

Deal Alert: 95 Point Hall Napa Cab Under $40

November 10, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Hall has been on a real run lately.  Since the 2006 vintage, they have received solid 90+ scores, but in the 2008 vintage their Napa Cabernet hit the magic 95 point mark (from Robert Parker).  What's magic about 95 points?  Price.  It's almost impossible to find a Robert Parker 95 point Napa Cabernet under $100, let alone $40.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single Napa Cab from the 2008 vintage that hit this prestigious value mark.  A couple from 2007 come to mind like Robert Craig Affinity and... okay, no more come to mind.  Affinity sold out in an instant and the same will happen with this Hall bargain.

This wine is made by David Ramey and comes mostly from Sacrashe Vineyard.
Buy Here: 2008 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet $39.95
Robert Parker 95 points

Read More