It's no secret that California Cabernet Sauvignon can get pretty pricey pretty quickly. While higher price points by no means guarantee that you'll like the wine more than your favorite $20 Cab, if you hit it right and select Cabs that are truly worth the extra cash you'll stack the odds in your favor. So, here are eight Cabs that are worth the cash, year in and year out. They are consistent, quality-driven Cabs - meaning they spend money on new oak, select grapes from premium growers or grow themselves and have a winemaker that knows what it takes to make a Cab that you'll remember long after the last drop.
Big, dense, juicy fruit laid along miles of well-engineered structure and loads of Cabernet character make this a top wine pick vintage in and vintage out. Rich, ripe blackberry, dark cherry and red currant fruit lend both depth and concentration, while tannins remain immensely pliable and offer full support to the fruit profile. Earth and acidity, balance and integrity, and a finish that goes on and on are all hallmarks of this stunning Napa Valley Cab.
When it comes to Classic California Cabernet Sauvignon, Cakebread Cellars tops the charts with oenophiles that place a high premium on bottled elegance with a track record of consistency year in and year out. The 2006 Cakebread "Dancing Bear" Napa Cabernet Sauvignon brings an engaging mix of style and structure, power and elegance, fruit and freedom. the palate profile offers dense layers of dark fruit wrapped around well-placed tannins, with a focus on blackberry and black cherry fruit rising to the forefront. Upright acidity, an unexpected minerality and a marathon finish give the Cakebread "Dancing Bear" plenty of reasons to dance. This Cab is certainly good to go now or give it another decade to unveil more of its structural secrets.
Gorgeous garnet in color, the 2005 Silver Oak Napa Cab exudes elegance with intense fruit, well-rounded structure placing defined tannins front and center and plenty of persistence on the finish. Overall this is a big, rich Cab that can be enjoyed now or aged for another decade or two. Would make a tremendous gift or celebration wine.
Deep, dark fruit in the form of blueberry, plum and currant debut on the palate, surrounded by a lovely mix of dark chocolate, espresso and black pepper spice. The tannins are tame, the finish is strong and the fruit is top notch. This is a full-bodied, full-throttle wine with the amps to go with ultra-rich cuts of game, pork loin, or filet mignon.
Shafer's 2007 One Point Five hails from Napa's prestigious Stags Leap District, known for producing well-integrated Cabs of intensity and opulence. Shafer's One Point Five embodies the Stags Leap reputation and then takes it up a notch to bring a wine with outstanding aromatic development, fresh black cherry and blackberry fruit mingled with mocha and earth. Dense, dark fruit supported by sound structure and ample tannins will take this Cab a good decade and beyond. A keeper for sure!
The 2006 Swanson "Alexis" Oakville Cab is a knockout Napa Valley Cab, packed with dark cherry fruit and the ripe, jammy flavors of currant and blackberry. Chocolate covered coffee beans, laced with the sweet notes of vanilla do double duty on the dark fruit profile. The tannin structure is well-integrated, but provides plenty of extension for further ageing.
A natural ambassador for the legendary titles of "Napa Cab," Swanson Vinyard's Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon is one of those "special wines," that you either buy or save for "special occasions" and would be a perfect fit for a fancy dinner driven by prime rib, beef tenderloin or roasted duck.
Loads of fresh blackberry fruit mix it up with the jam-driven flavors of plum and dark cherry, add a full-body, tight layers of spice and tannins that will only loosen up given a bit more time and you have a dynamite wine for drinking now or holding for another 5-7 years.
The '05 Grgich Hills Cab has got plenty of power, yet boasts both beautiful balance and solid structure. On the palate, you can expect dark berry fruit, peppery spice and a full-blown finish.