8th Cabernet Shootout Results

8th Cabernet Shootout Results
Scores: Women Judges
Scores: Women Judges Bang for Your Buck
Scores: Men Judges
Scores: Men Judges Bang for Your Buck

Cabernet Sauvignon - Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Blend and Meritage - Other

All wines reviewed indicate a numerical score and are recommended “from the heart” with the additional reference of heart‘s designating the following:

heartheartheartheart = Love at First Sip = Gold Medal

heartheartheart = An Affair to Remember = Silver Medal

heartheart = Will Provide Fond Memories = Bronze Medal

See below for a listing of our top wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon

AuburnJames 2010 Reverence Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, $90.00
211 cases produced
Female: Brooding nose with tree bark essence, dark roasted fruit and lots of coffee. Full on tannins. Black tea, spices, olives notes, wild berry, and cassis fruit profile. Intense! 90

Male: Forward nose of cassis, mushroom, tobacco, and leather. The palate mirrors the nose. Big and thick texture. Coats the tongue. Needs time… it's just a baby. 88
AuburnJames 2009 RDH Bella Vista Block 1&4 Cabernet Sauvignon
Calistoga, $90.00
141 cases produced
Female: Light in color. Pomegranate aromas deliver strawberry, pomegranate and cherry flavors onto the palate. There is a touch of mocha on the finish. Lovely wine. Lighter style. 90

Male: The nose is simultaneously delicate and complex. Nuanced, layered and feminine. The palate exhibits cocoa, flowers, black fruit, and spice. 90
Barefoot Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $6.99
362000 cases produced
Female: Candied fruit on the nose with black cherries, stewed red currants, cedar, spice, and smoke on the palate. Well-balanced. Slightly jammy. Easy to drink. 87

Male: Strawberry aromas carry onto the palate with cocoa and soy flavors. Well-balanced. Lots of fruit over the mid-palate with a modest flavorful finish. 87
Barnard Griffin Winery 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, $40.00
190 cases produced
Female: Cloves and blackberry on the nose. Boysenberry and a touch of oak on entry opening to chocolate and praline with lovely brambly fruit. Nicely integrated and structured. Well-balanced acidity and tannins. Beautiful finish. 91

Male: Intoxicating chocolate pie aromas with cinnamon and graham cracker notes. Rich and concentrated on the palate showing lots of red and black fruit with the added layers of chocolate and spice. Yummy! 92
Bonneau 2010 Caton Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, $48.00
458 cases produced
Female: Deep garnet in color. Rhubarb and vanilla with some dark tones in the nose. The palate shows complex flavors of berries, cherries, vanilla, oak, and leather. Rich and persistent fruit throughout. On the verge of jammy but restrained. Big, lingering finish. 90

Male: Rhubarb with truffle back notes...a most interesting nose. Sumptuous palate. Nice smooth finish. 90
BOYANCI InSpire 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $60.00 ORANGE
230 cases produced
Female: Warm cherry compote aromas. Bright, lush red and black fruit in the mouth. Great balance. 90

Male: Black fruit with lots of oak on the nose and in the mouth. Rich on entry and shows nice flavors throughout. Lots of young tannins here. Needs time, but will age well. 89
Bridlewood Estate 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $15.00 PEACH
33200 cases produced
Female: Black currant, raisin and oak on the nose. Toasted oak and a vegetal character round out the black currant, stewed raspberries, cedar, and earth flavors. A great example of Cabernet Sauvignon. 89

Male: Blackberry with dried herbs (thyme and marjoram) at first then opening to milk chocolate, cola and black cherry. A vibrant wine. Instant coffee and cherry on the finish, which seems to go on forever. This promises to age well. 92
Cameron Hughes 2011 Lot 385 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $28.00
3750 cases produced
Female: Cranberry and pomegranate nose at first sniff, then savory herbs join in. Lighter style with cranberry and pomegranate flavors. Citrus notes on the finish. 87

Male: Complex aromas of dark fruit, cranberry, savory herbs, roasted meats, and a touch of sweet oak. Nicely layered palate on the leaner side. Finishes with uplifting acidity. Great food wine. 88
Cameron Hughes 2011 Lot 418 Cabernet Sauvignon
Oakville, $25.00 LIGHT PINK
450 cases produced
Female: Pretty nose of ripe cherry, sweet oak and spice. Generous cherry and berry flavors offset by racy acidity. Nice purity. Well integrated. 90

Male: Very deep color. Cassis, plum, blackberry, charred green pepper, and butter on the complex nose. Dusty plum and currant entry with dried herbs mid. Moves into a juicy, fruity finish with nice acids and fine tannins. 91
Cameron Hughes 2011 Lot 450 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $27.00 GRAY
625 cases produced
Female: Clove, caramel, lovely black cherry, and mineral notes on the nose and in the mouth. Well integrated and balanced. Full bodied with dark fruit flavors surrounded by herbs and spice. Good acidity and smooth tannins on the finish. 91

Male: Deep brick/garnet hue. The forward nose shows currant, spices, beets, and graham crackers. "Aha!" Beautiful entry on the palate mirroring the aromas. Firm structure, modest tannin and good acidity with a balanced finish. 90
Cameron Hughes 2011 Lot 451 Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, $27.00
375 cases produced
Female: The nose is a bit shy at first but opens to juicy blackberry and coffee aromas. Pretty in the mouth showing licorice, chocolate and toasted pecans supporting the core of dark fruit. Good layers, structure, and nice tannins. Great potential. 90

Male: Black fruit and floral notes on the nose. Rich black fruit with black olive accents on entry through mid. Deft use of oak. Chocolate on the long finish. 89
Cameron Hughes 2011 Lot 500 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $29.00
3000 cases produced
Female: Dark fruit - black raspberry and blueberry aromas repeat on the palate. Floral notes throughout. Lots of oak on the finish but there is plenty of fruit for balance. 90

Male: Pretty toasty aromas showing dark fruit and coffee notes. Nice texture. Grippy Cabernet tannins. Nice structure. Decant before drinking for full enjoyment. 89
Cannonball Wine Company 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $14.99
10000 cases produced
Female: Sour cherry, wild flowers, cherry cola, and vanilla on the nose. Juicy ripe fruit - berry, plum and a candied note. Sweet oak, vanilla and spun sugar all the way through the finish. 88

Male: Olives and blackberry aromas. Ripe, round and luscious in the mouth displaying sweet blackberries. Great acidity and the right kind of tannins make this a mouthwatering wine. Great structure, clean finish full of cedar and chocolate. Dee-lish! 90
Carlo Rossi Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $6.99
Female: Pretty bubblegum like aromas. Red fruit flavors with a hint of mint. Lively flavors with a decided sweetness and tea on the finish. Easy to drink. 83

Male: Light cherry aroma with an attractive mid-palate of cherry and spice. Simple and easy to drink. 83
Carnivor 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $11.99
33800 cases produced
Female: Deep purple, almost black in color. Vibrant black fruit, dried herbs, coffee, and roasted popcorn with butter… surprising but very pleasant! Coffee and berries on the palate. Delicious! Nice structure and texture. 90

Male: Super saturated ruby color. Rich and complex with a supple structure. Ripe fruit flavors with burnt chocolate and nice tannins on the finish. Nicely restrained in a truly finessed style. This will evolve beautifully! Wow! 90
Cass Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $45.00 GUNMETAL
900 cases produced
Female: A many layered nose of roses, raspberry, dark cherry, plum, and complementary savory spices. Sweet dark fruit on entry lead to a vibrant full-bodied palate which carries on with lovely spice notes. Well balanced. Nice! 91

Male: Warm sugar cookies, black cherries and a touch of forest floor on the nose. Full bodied bright fruit flavors showing intense red currant with lovely spice notes and tart acidity on the long finish. The oak, while apparent, is balanced by lush fruit. Excellent potential to age for another decade. 92
Chateau Margene 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $68.00 COBALT
352 cases produced
Female: Beautiful all around Cabernet with smoked cherry, vanilla, cigar, and blackberry aromas and flavors with an herbal component creating a perfect "Yin and Yang" experience. Unique and intriguing profile with a lovely long finish. 91

Male: Refined nose of raspberry compote and vanilla. Gorgeous blueberry palate on entry. Complex layers evolve showing blackberry, plum, fresh herbs, cocoa, and vanilla. Soft chewy tannins with tart acidity on the finish. Top notch! 92
Chateau Margene 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $56.00
406 cases produced
Female: Blackberries and plum fruit on the nose are replicated on the palate. Lots of toasty oak here with tooth coating tannins. Lay this baby down, it needs time. It will age well as there is plenty of fruit to carry this to maturity. 89

Male: Forward blackberry, black tea and olive aromas. Yummy! Big, complex wine with lots going on. Elegant finish. You must drink this! 90
Clif Family Winery 2010 Kit's Killer Cab Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $50.00 LILAC
500 cases produced
Female: Dusty damp earth with blackberries on the nose. The blackberry carries through onto the palate with cedar joining mid. Beautiful acidity and silky tannins. 90

Male: Vanilla, black currant, burnt sugar, chocolate, and smoked meat aromas. Lovely layers of flavor. Solid defined fruit over the mid-palate. Complex and elegant. 91
Cliff Creek Cellars 2009 NI Bar Sams Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Southern Oregon, $50.00
78 cases produced
Female: Deep brick red-black in color. Low and sultry aromatics of dark fruit, cigars and earthy/mineral notes. The palate is dark, spicy and seductive with an expansive flavor profile that moves to a lovely finish. 90

Male: Beautifully elevated cherry and citrus notes on the nose with gorgeous additional spice upon aerating. The palate explodes with fruit and spice. Excellent varietal definition. Firm structure with lovely tannins. 90
Cloak & Dagger 2009 The Assassin Ink Grade Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell Mountain, Napa, $65.00
75 cases produced
Female: Concentrated berry and vanilla aromas with woodsy nuances. Deep, dark fruit from entry through the long finish. Nicely balanced. 90

Male: Violet, berries, cedar, and cola aromas. The palate mirrors the nose, with the addition of leather notes on the elegant finish. Fine acid complements the firm tannins. 90
Darkhorse 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $8.99
50000 cases produced
Female: Bright black cherry aromas with a notable hit of coffee. Delightfully layered - dark and intense berry flavors, black pepper and coffee accents. Nice acid on the finish. 90

Male: Visually and aromatically… it's precisely what I love in Petite Sirah. Coffee grounds galore! Then blueberry preserves, yum! Much more delicate and feminine in the mouth in a layered sense with a sublime blueberry/coffee finish plus chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! It is Cabernet Sauvignon, after all. 90
Davis Family Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $60.00
700 cases produced
Female: The vibrant, smoky nose shows spice, cherry, and cedar. Strawberry, sour cherry and chocolate on the palate. Soft, yet vibrant. Silky tannins. 88

Male: The aromas are elegant and powerful but finessed with a lovely smoky note. Jammy but controlled on the palate. Round and lovely in the mouth. Finishes big but with precision. 89
Deerfield Ranch 2006 Reserve Los Chamizal Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, $65.00
175 cases produced
Female: Earthy dark fruit aromas with a hint of cedar. The palate begins rich and lush with cherry and red currants. Good length showing spices, leather and a touch of green pepper on the finish. 87

Male: Aromatics of cassis and black pepper with cherry and a touch of forest floor. The palate is well-built with restrained fruit and tannins. 88
Deerfield Ranch 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $38.00
600 cases produced
Female: The enticing woodsy, savory aroma is mirrored on the palate. Black cherry, red plums and spice persist through the lengthy finish. Wow! What balance! 92

Male: Aromas of berry with coffee and mocha. Black cherries, cream, cola, and black tea in the mouth with a nice burst of acid on the finish. 89
Eberle 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $34.00
1971 cases produced
Female: Deep brick red in color. Cassis, fresh cocoa and vanilla aromatics with lovely spice notes in the background. Sweet red cherry on the palate with a hint of molasses, vanilla and blackberry. Smoky character escalates towards the finish. Nice tannins. Well structured. Great food wine. 90

Male: Rich nose of cassis, cedar and earth. Fruit forward. Blackberry explodes on entry. Cedar and herbs enhance the fruit profile. Balanced - consistent from nose to palate to finish. 89
Eberle 2011 Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $20.00
3321 cases produced
Female: Subdued aroma. Clove and nutmeg adorned blackberry and cassis open up gloriously mid-palate. Nice depth and complexity shows through with aeration. 91

Male: Subtle smooth red berry, red plum, dried Italian herbs, and creamy oak notes on the edge of the nose. Balanced entry of red raspberry and red plum. Mouthfilling flavors move into a smooth mid-palate with the addition of chocolate notes. Refined finish of all of the components. Fine, silky tannins. 90
Ecluse Wines 2010 Reserve Lock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $69.00
120 cases produced
Female: Deep red/brown in color. Sweet smoked red cherry aromas with earthy mushroom and mineral notes. Cherry and rhubarb flavors merge with pepper and cinnamon notes on the palate in this balanced taste experience distinguished by smokiness. 89

Male: Dark chocolate and cherry aromas with added plum and brown spice notes. Vibrant acid shows through. The palate dances with fruit and lovely spice. 91
Ecluse Wines 2011 Lock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $38.00
295 cases produced
Female: Tart fruit compote aromas. Round and full cherry pie, currant and raspberry flavors with black tea spiced accents. Bright and lively. Elegant. 89

Male: Cassis, clove, barnyard, and tobacco aromatics. The palate replicates the aromas. Nicely balanced wine. 87
En Garde 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley, $98.00
130 cases produced
Female: Blackberry, black raspberry, lavender, black cherry, black olive, and black pepper emanate from the glass. This is a big and complex wine. Layers of flavors encompassing Old and New World styles. Great mouthfeel and a lovely long finish. 91

Male: Complex aromas of cherry, black cherry, spice, some earth elements, and some Old World bottle development. Even though there is extended barrel time, the aromatics are still bright and fresh. The palate is beautifully developed. The range of flavors covers all parts of the palate with black fruit and soft evolving tannins. Long satisfying finish that goes fresh and bright from the nice acidity. 92
En Garde 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley, $78.00
130 cases produced
Female: Aromas of sweet, smoky red cherry, black cherry and caramel with pepper overtones. The nose carries onto the palate. Vibrant palate of sweet red fruit and cedar notes. Classic Cabernet. Black tea on the finish. Lovely! 90

Male: Nose of richness (cassis and cedar) and great depth. The palate is consistent with some unexpected light barnyard and dry grass adding to the flavor profile. 91
entwine 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $12.99
Female: Cherry/black cherry aromas. Cherry and sour cherry flavors mingle on the palate finishing with green tea and bright acidity. 87

Male: Black cherry, light cassis, savory mushrooms, and herb aromas. Bright red cherry with light spice. Acids elevate finish. 87
Estate 1856 2011 Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $42.00 WHITE
55 cases produced
Female: Seductive dark aromas of plum, rhubarb and pepper lead to an intense palate. Sweet, dark fruit with spice in the mouth. The finish has a lovely herbal quality that lingers on the palate with silky tannins. 90

Male: Lovely, classic nose which needs a little coaxing at first but is definitely worth the wait. Very smooth, lovely and balanced in the mouth. Just enough tannin. It's very harmonious and invites another taste, which is just as wonderful as the previous ones. 91
Field Stone Winery 2010 Wally's Block Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $30.00 DUSTY ROSE
243 cases produced
Female: A brooding nose leads to plum, ripe cherry, mocha, and coffee notes on the palate. Muscular with firm tannins. Great acid. Nice and it's only a baby, laying this down for 6-12 months will bring great rewards. 90

Male: The nose is deep and brooding showing smoky cherry and black pepper with intense blackberry fruit and peppery tannins. It's a mouthful! Huge, youthful tannins but the big fruit will carry this to maturity. Lay this baby down. 90
Field Stone Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $18.99 DUSTY ROSE
1348 cases produced
Female: Damp earth and eucalyptus with violets on the nose. Nice blackberry on entry with vanilla and smoke joining in. Beautifully balanced. Nice food wine. "I want more!" 91

Male: A very pretty wine, well balanced and generous. Plenty of oak evident in the vanilla overtones, balanced by enough fruit that comes across as a melange of blackberry and plum. Chalky tannins, Good potential for cellaring. 90
Four Sisters Ranch 2010 Serena's Vineyard Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $24.00
2000 cases produced
Female: Floral notes, a touch of earth, blueberries and blackberries on the nose. Lush fruit with yummy accents. Nice integration. 90

Male: Barnyard, leather, cherry, and green olive aromas. Pretty straightforward Cabernet Sauvignon flavors. Light to medium bodied. 88
Frei Brothers Reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $27.00
51700 cases produced
Female: Lovely violet and berry nose. Soft palate of complex berry flavors well integrated with oak. Nicely balanced. 88

Male: Aromas of chocolate covered raspberries define the unique nose. Chocolate, black cherry and spicy oak on the palate. Well-balanced. Good acidity on the long finish. 90
Gallo Signature Series 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $40.00 DARK GREEN
4592 cases produced
Female: Herbal and dark raspberry aromas. Streamlined on the palate with racy acidity. Dark chocolate and plum flavors with spice kicking in on the back palate. The oak is well integrated. Very food friendly. "Yummy." 91

Male: Inky red ruby in color. Nose of vanilla, cedar and red fruit. Integrated fruit and tannins wrapped around sweet red cherries with cedar and cigar box on the long finish. A very nice wine. Serve with a medium rare Filet Mignon. 92
Ghost Pines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa/Sonoma/Lake, $23.00
22500 cases produced
Female: Flowery notes on the nose at first sniff, then black cherry aromas take over. Rich black and red fruit on entry through mid-palate. Tart fruit and baking spices on the finish. Nice touch of oak and acid. 88

Male: Cassis aroma. Supple tannins. Excellent balance. Subtle complexity on the palate with earth, bitter chocolate, black fruit, and brown spices. Long finish. 89
Grady Family Vineyards 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Lodi, $18.00
166 cases produced
Female: Freshly ground coffee aromas. Currant and tart cherry entry with a touch of sweetness on the finish. Nice acid. Simple and easy to drink. 86

Male: Cherry and clove aromas. Light body. Silky and elegant in the mouth. Cherry and clove profile from nose to finish. 86
Guglielmo 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Clara Valley, $25.00
460 cases produced
Female: Toasted marshmallows on the nose. Cherry and cranberry in the mouth. Very well-balanced. Ready to drink. 90

Male: Juniper, blackberry and leather on the nose. Blackberry, oak and coffee on the palate from start to finish. 87
Harris Tesla 2006 Estate Reserve Harris Tesla Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $25.00
180 cases produced
Female: Baking spice and black cherry aromas with a touch of Christmas spice. Cherry, black cherry and cassis flavors with a mocha backnote. Finishes with bright acidity. Suggest decanting, there is some sendiment here. Bright and alive for a seven-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon. 89

Male: Well-developed aromatics of barrel notes and black fruit. Bright red cherry, cassis, plum, and herb notes on the palate. Finishes bright and alive. 90
J. Rickards Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $38.00 HOT PINK
347 cases produced
Female: Deep purple/black hue. Black cherry, rhubarb and dusty sage notes in the nose. Rich and full bodied palate with dark fruit, herbs and firm but dusty tannins. Perfectly balanced wine. 90

Male: Layered nose displaying blackberry, black currant, cedar, pencil shavings, cinnamon, cloves, and light earth notes. This wine shows vibrant acidity, great balance and soft tannins yet it has a firm structure. Extraordinarily aromatic finish that lingers and lingers. 91
Jamieson Ranch 2011 Double Lariat Limited Production Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $50.00 PERIWINKLE
3000 cases produced
Female: Deep purple/black in color. Warm and sultry aromas of red cherry, plum and blackberries with oodles of minerality and oak. The palate is vibrant and balanced with dark fruit, minerals and firm tannins on the finish. Will age well. 91

Male: Unique nose of black fruit and cotton candy… Scrumptious! Big and chewy mouthfeel. Cherry and blackberry fruit, finishing with a good dose of dusty tannins. Nice balance. 90
Kick Butt Cab 2010 Kick Butt Cab Newsom Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Texas High Plains, $25.00
900 cases produced
Female: Deli meats and toasted savory herb notes on the nose. Red and black fruit on the palate. Lovely. Finishes with some enhancing barrel notes and pleasant acidity. Nice wine. 88

Male: The nose is layered showing roasted savory meats, black fruit, round warm barrel notes, spice, and light black pepper. Generous palate up front finishes with an appealing leanness and well-placed acidity. Well-made. Fruit on the palate could develop further which would add even more dimension to this wine. 88
Laurel Glen 2010 The Laureate Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Mountain, $85.00
90 cases produced
Female: Leather and spice on the nose. Lean entry and then...ripe wild berries take center stage. Vibrant acidity rocks it out! Ethereal and elegantly complex. 91

Male: Dusty concentrated sour cherry, red currant and raspberry aromas. Immediately appealing. The palate initially mirrors the nose, then expands into a truly STUNNING back palate of never ending candy-fruit layers. 92
Laurel Glen 2011 Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Mountain, $30.00
1546 cases produced
Female: Sweet vanilla on the nose at first then opens to floral and chamomile. Blueberry flavors at the core with black pepper notes and judicious tannins and acids. Nice finish. "More please." 90

Male: The nose is reticent at first but opens to candied cherry aromas. The palate is lovely and inviting. This is a pretty wine! Bold black fruit on the palate. Lovely finish! 91
Liberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $6.99
Female: Juicy strawberry, cherry and black cherry aromas repeat on the palate. Light and fruity almost like soda pop. A wine a mother-in-law could love. 83

Male: Pretty youthful aromatics of cherry and oak. Light in color. Sweet on entry and throughout the palate. A sipper. 84
Louer 2011 Louer Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
St. Helena, $35.00 RED
500 cases produced
Female: Sweet oak notes arise from the glass introducing the vibrant nose of blueberry, blackberry and oodles of savory spice. Candied berry and ripe cherry splashed with vanilla extract coat the palate, pie spice accents add depth. Great structure and length. Delicious! 95

Male: Dark red garnet in color. Berry, cola and spice on the nose opening to raspberry and cranberry flavors leading to a delicious mid-palate displaying chocolate covered cherry flavors. This is a young wine with lots of potential. Acid and oak are balanced and the fruit is well integrated. 91
Louis M. Martini 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $18.00
303800 cases produced
Female: Chocolate, cherry, dried cherry, tobacco, and leather aromas replicate on the palate. Sweet and sexy wine. 88

Male: Faint aromas of tar and bark. Pretty and focused blackberry palate with touches of lavender. Nice components. 87
Louis M. Martini 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $34.00
91900 cases produced
Female: Intense aromatics of black cherry, dried herbs and cedar. Husky and masculine with dark fruit, leather, cedar, and spice… picture a dark, book-lined library. 89

Male: Red and black currants, plum, oak, and vanilla aromas. The fruit repeats on entry with vanilla and oak on the finish. Complex and well structured. 89
Louis M. Martini 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $30.00
21942 cases produced
Female: Provocatively aromatic! Gorgeous black fruit, clove, spices, and a suggestion of leather. Pretty oak accents flow across the palate. Well crafted and complex with a lifted, memorable finish. 92

Male: Nice dark, thick blue/red ruby color. Sweet blueberry pie on entry. Cassis and cedar with a subtle currant and herb edge through the mid-palate. Finishes with notes of sweet blackberry and cassis. Nice acid and wood integration. 91
Louis M. Martini 2010 Lot 1 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $145.00
95 cases produced
Female: Cherry, cotton candy aromas and entry. Dense fruit on the palate with vanilla overtones. Nicely ripe. Oak is evident. 89

Male: Vanilla cookies and raspberry jam on the sweet, lovely nose. Chocolate is added on the palate. Balanced mouthfeel with nice acid. Every component is well presented. 90
Lucas & Lewellen 2010 Valley View Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Barbara County, $27.00 TEAL
1014 cases produced
Female: Deeply hued. Intriguing nose with an earthy edge that opens to black raspberry and plum on the nose and is joined on the palate by cassis and herbs. Nicely made. Beautiful acidity. Meant to be enjoyed with food. 93

Male: Vinous nose of red currant, raspberry, kir, dried herbs, and dried leaves that are interwoven nicely. Lovely currant, berry and dried herb entry. The chocolate, herb and berry mid moves into a focused finish of tobacco, berry and bell pepper. Subtle acid and nice tannins. 90
Lucas & Lewellen 2009 CLONE 6 Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Barbara County, $48.00
169 cases produced
Female: Potpourri spice, dark chocolate and black cherry… gorgeous nose! Big, plush and balanced. Velvety mouthfeel packed with consistent flavors. Lovely! 92

Male: Blueberry, dark currant and rhubarb aromas. The palate is sensual... concentrated red and black fruit with a bold finish. Good integration of flavors and tannin. 90
McGrail Vineyards 2010 Reserve McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $39.00
1683 cases produced
Female: Earthy, spicy aroma with deep dark fruit. Rich, dense and powerful black currant, berry, dried herbs, and tobacco merge intensely on the palate. Muscular with firm tannins. 91

Male: Inky in the glass. Dark chocolate, berry and cola aromas. Opulent and focused black cherry and currant palate with lovely filling mouthfeel, medium tannins and good acids on the finish. 90
Mirassou Sun 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $12.00
70500 cases produced
Female: Medium red/black in color. Aromas of spiced plums with hints of leather and white pepper. Sweet dark fruit flavors lead the palate, which is soft and balanced. Dusty tannins on the finish. 86

Male: Bold color and aromatic intensity showing plum and cigar box and a hint of mint. Wonderful restraint on the palate with soft tannins on the finish. 87
Orsianna 2009 Orsi Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Mendocino, $19.95
1500 cases produced
Female: Aromas of cherry, red currant and sweet brown spices with earthy back notes. Herbaceous on the palate showing cedar, leather and earthiness that is nicely balanced with the fruit character of ripe currants and raspberries. Long finish. 89

Male: Rich nose of cassis, herbs, mint, graham cracker crust, and cedar. The aromas are replicated on the palate, with the addition of orange peel. Medium bodied with soft tannins. 88
Park Avenue 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
55% Mendocino County, 45% Napa Valley, $19.99
400 cases produced
Female: Subtle nose of baked cherry, cassis and spice. Slightly angular palate with red fruit, spice and vegetal back notes. Pronounced tannins dominate the mid-palate but soften along the way. 83

Male: Fruit forward nose with berries and some stemmy back notes. Simple fruit on the palate. Youthful. 83
PEJU 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $50.00
8500 cases produced
Female: Tart fruit aroma. Herbal notes join wild berry and cherry fruit on the palate. Savory spice mid. Bright and very food friendly. Nicely balanced purity! 90

Male: Bright red berry, cranberry, dried oregano, marjoram, cassis, and an earthy note on the nose. Cranberry, cherry and dried herb entry through the mid-palate. Creamy fruit shows on the smooth finish with a lot of fine tannins. 91
Pendleton Estate 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $49.00
100 cases produced
Female: Strawberry and plum aromas with some back notes of greenery. Berries on the palate with a rush of acid on the long finish. A lovely food wine. 89

Male: Violet, berries and sweet oak on the nose. Seamless palate with orange peel added to the nose nuances. Firm tannins on the finish. 88
Penman Springs Vineyard 2009 Reserve Penman Springs Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $35.00 BLUE
146 cases produced
Female: Cocoa, spice cake, vanilla, and light cherry aromas. Yummy on the palate. Easy to quaff showing red cherry, boysenberry and a touch of savory spice. Bright cherry citrus and tea notes on the finish. Nicely balanced, lovely acid and gentle use of oak. 90

Male: Blackberries, coffee and chocolate aromas. Loads of blackberry and cherry fruit with good acid and tannin balance. Juicy and enjoyable with a long finish showing leather and earth. 91
Penman Springs Vineyard 2010 Old Block Penman Springs Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $17.00
329 cases produced
Female: Cocoa and cola aromas. Brambly fruit and fig on entry lead to gripping tannins on the finish that shout for food. Nice! 90

Male: Definitive old world nose of earth and fruit. Delicious fruit flavor profile. Well done! 89
Prizm Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $60.00
175 cases produced
Female: Strawberry jam aromas are replicated on the pretty entry. Cherry pie and fruit cake with candied orange peel on the mid-palate through the finish. Graceful texture. 88

Male: Blackberry, oak and earth on the nose. A classic, balanced Cabernet. Nice finish. 88
R&B Cellars 2008 Reserve Bingham Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $50.00
500 cases produced
Female: Vanilla bean and cherry aroma. Sweet and dense berry and black cherry fruit prevails throughout. Herbs join in on the finish. 90

Male: Ripe black cherry aromas. Dark and intense berries and black pepper on the palate. Nice acid on the finish. 90
Redwood Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $8.00
232725 cases produced
Female: Fresh berries on the nose. Delicious mouthful of berry, cinnamon and orange peel. Sweet but pretty. It needs a touch more structure to be considered excellent but very nice as it is. 87

Male: Faint coffee grounds, chocolate, blueberry, and cedar notes on the nose. Cool and smooth on the palate. Not an expensive wine, but lovely and easy to drink. 86
Roberts + Rogers 2011 Los Posadas Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell Mountain, $70.00
600 cases produced
Female: Deep purple/black in color. Balanced, fruit forward nose of lush blackberry and plum with complementary black pepper notes. Smoky palate is full of dark fruit, black pepper and spice. Invigorating and long lasting --definitely a crowd pleaser. 90

Male: Deep, pretty ruby garnet color. Good legs. The nose is intriguing, balanced and complex showing berries, earth, spice, and brioche. A really elegant mouthfeel with penetrating flavors and silky tannins. Lively acids on the finish. Structured and balanced. Nice wine! 91
Rocca Family Vineyards 2010 Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Yountville, $85.00 PUMPKIN
680 cases produced
Female: Cocoa jumps from the glass. Plum, black berries and a touch of peppermint weave through the palate. Lush and generously fruited. 91

Male: Dark brick in color. Nice refined classic nose showing raspberry and cream with black cherry and pepper. Big, smooth, cool mouth entry. Lush long palate with great structure and body. 92
Rocca Family Vineyards 2010 Estate Collinetta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, $85.00 TURQUOISE
189 cases produced
Female: Pretty mulled spice aroma. Cinnamon and ginger meet black plum, wild berry and vanilla bean mid-palate. Lush and supple with dense fruit from start to finish. Bright acidity offsets the rich fruit. Lovely! 91

Male: Inky blue/black dense color. An attractive nose of blackberry and chocolate. "Love the depth and complexity of the aromatics." Very nice in the mouth showing berries and chocolate. Wonderfully balanced. Seamless. Long finish. Ageworthy! "A really fantastic Cab," wrote one of our winemakers on the judging panel. 96
Shenanigans Fine Irish Cab 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Lodi, $15.00
300 cases produced
Female: Mocha and cooked strawberry aromas. The palate is simple and friendly with red fruit and light black fruit and a hint of baking spice on the finish. Easy to drink. 86

Male: Dark, inky purple in color. Nose of cedar, leather and red currant. Raspberry and chocolate flavors mid-palate with bay leaf and red berry on the finish. 85
Shingleback 2011 Davey Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
McLaren Vale, $23.00
2500 cases produced
Female: Forest floor aromas. Yummy red and black fruit flavors - cranberry and blackberry are joined by savory spice mid. Nicely balanced. Food friendly. 90

Male: Blackberry and savory herbs with some light chocolate showing in the nose. Sweet fruit, soft tannins and balanced acidity. Big finish showing cassis, cherry, herbs, and nicely integrated tannins. 90
Sol Rouge 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $75.00
150 cases produced
Female: Extracted nose of sour cherry and baking spices. Nicely textured and weighted on the palate. Some vegetal notes on the finish. 87

Male: Very dark in the glass. Aromas of tobacco, cigar box, black cherry with some vegetal tones. Soft but big in the mouth at the same time. Juicy textured finish. 89
Sol Rouge 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Lake County, $32.00 AQUA
150 cases produced
Female: Deep brick red-black hue with smoked red cherry and baking spice aromas. Lush, alluring palate showing smoked cherry and pomegranate surrounded by lovely herbal and spice notes. Long even finish with a luscious crescendo of fruit and spice flavors. Yummy! 91

Male: Very nicely structured aromatics showing floral and berry notes with cassis, cedar, tea, leather, earth, and coffee layers. Restrained and sophisticated. The flavors explode on the palate with fruit, spice and dusty tannins. 90
The Naked Grape Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $7.99
84000 cases produced
Female: Aromas reminiscent of the kitchen – vanilla, baking spice and Kirsch. Blueberry, spice and vanilla on the palate. There's a delightful sweetness in the mouth. Nice finish with medium tannins. A crowd pleaser. 87

Male: Soft in appearance and in aromas. Lavender and cassis on entry. Deft touch of oak surrounds the fruit core. Soft texture the balanced finish. 88
The Steven Kent Winery 2010 Folkendt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $65.00
143 cases produced
Female: Mint, chocolate/mint, black cherry, potpourri spices, and eucalyptus. Did I say mint? 🙂 Nice in the mouth. Balanced and pretty. 89

Male: Dusty dark fruit aromas with tobacco, mushroom and tea leaves. Lovely round dark fruit over the mid-palate. The finish is a bit tannic. 87
The Steven Kent Winery 2010 Home Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $65.00 DENIM
189 cases produced
Female: Cedar and rhubarb notes on the nose. Elegantly balanced with red fruit, clove and cinnamon spice through the palate. Precise balance and lifted finish. 91

Male: Berries and toffee aromas. Loads of sweet fruit in the mouth...cherry pie flavors with crisp acidity and light tannins. Well made and enjoyable. A lighter style. 89
The Steven Kent Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $48.00 YELLOW
930 cases produced
Female: Sultry smoky nose of baked cherry pie. Soft and spicy red cherry flavors wrapped in savory pepper and spice notes with a light caramel quality. Nicely integrated. Oak, vanilla, and fruit marry nicely on the mid-palate through the finish. Beautiful wine. 92

Male: Excellent structure on this wine. Tannins are soft making this very elegant. Cherry at the core with a bit of green olive and a hint of dusty earth. 90
The Winery San Francisco 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
North Coast, $24.99
750 cases produced
Female: Savory baked fruit pie aromas with complementary spice/pepper back notes. Vibrant palate of pronounced stone cherries, black pepper and smoky notes on the finish. Would be great with pork tenderloin. 88

Male: Bold and brawny in the glass. Dark fruit aromas with a gorgeous licorice component. Zesty fruit on the palate leads to a powerful and worthy finish. 88
The Winery San Francisco 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $45.00 TAN
250 cases produced
Female: Cola and black cherry on the nose. Bright red fruit on entry opening to cola and darker fruit mid. Sassy acidity. Nice wine! 90

Male: Mocha and blackberry aromas. Generous in the mouth - round and supple. Currants and black pepper with juicy acids and fine tannins. Nice wine. 90
Timark Wines 2010 Rafael Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Oak Knoll, $65.00 GREEN
25 cases produced
Female: Black cherry, sour cherry and earth notes on the nose. Tight on entry opening to black raspberry flavors with a flood of savory spice. Well made. Needs time (or decant next time) and this baby will come together beautifully. 90

Male: Inky garnet red. Quiet nose of leather and cassis. Solid red currant palate with ample linear expansive mouthfeel. Good finish. Textbook structure, nose and palate. 91
Tisdale Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $4.99
Female: Light in color almost Pinot Noir like. Light cherry aromas and flavors. Simple, easy to drink. 80

Male: Light in color. A touch of cloves on the nose. Sweet red fruit on the palate. Drinkable. 80
TRE 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Central Coast, $11.99
622 cases produced
Female: Black cherry in the nose and on entry, moving to sour cherry on the finish. Big tannins. 85

Male: Blackberry jam, toasted oak and vanilla aromatics. A youthful wine. Cherry flavors with a touch of mint and pomegranate on the finish. Good structure. The finish lingers. 86
Triumph Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
St. Helena, $25.00
4000 cases produced
Female: Sweet dark cherry, raspberry and plum with a slight dustiness on the nose. Black currant, vanilla, spice, and oak on the palate. Shows a hint of leather and tobacco on the long finish. Well-balanced. 89

Male: Menthol and licorice with rich, dark black cherry on the nose. Sweet fruit on the palate showing a nice texture and tight tannins on the finish. 87
Turning Leaf Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $8.00
227720 cases produced
Female: Red raspberry candy aromas replicate on the palate. A sipper. 82

Male: Youthful nose showing caramel and raspberry jam. Rhubarb and plum on the palate. Simple and easy to drink. 82
Weibel Family 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Redwood Valley, $18.95
200 cases produced
Female: Minty chocolate aroma with blackberry and vanilla accents - pie spice too. Nicely textured and easy to quaff. Lively acidity. Nicely balanced. 88

Male: Low pitched nose of dried cherry, blue fruit and earthy aromas. Cherry and vanilla with dried herbal accents on the palate and in the finish very long finish. Soft tannins, firm structure. Good potential. 88
Wente Vineyards 2011 The Nth Degree Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $80.00
Female: Cherry cola on the nose replicates on entry with a vanilla focus. Spiced oak notes and cookie dough with brown spices mid-palate. Excellent structure with big but well integrated tannins. 90

Male: Inky dark purple in color. Aromatics of cherry pie, licorice, cassis, and dried herbs. The palate replicates the nose nicely with currant and berry flavors on entry and dried herbs mid-palate leading to a long finish showing nice acidity and fine tannins. 90
Wente Vineyards 2011 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $18.00
Female: The nose invites you in. Bright black cherry with savory spices, baking spices and cherry pie aromas. Lovely cherry flavors at the core with Constant Comment tea accents. Great finish. I want a Margherita pizza! 90

Male: Cocoa powder, black cherry, coriander, mushroom, and a hint of allspice create a beautiful aromatic profile. The palate is leaner than expected but the red and black fruit are inviting and charming. Nice acidity and evolving finish. Great wine to enjoy with red sauced Italian dishes. 90
Whalebone Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $35.00
800 cases produced
Female: Concentrated blackberry, lovely cherry, strawberry, and vanilla aromas with woodsy nuances. Deeply concentrated fruit. nice acid. Chocolate and cola notes on the finish. Well balanced. 89

Male: Aromas of black cherries with prominent leaf and herb notes. Black cherry and savory herbs on the palate with light tannins. "I find the Provencal character in the aroma is very attractive and the overall elegance of the wine is very appealing." 90
Whalebone Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $35.00
800 cases produced
Female: Floral and spice aromas with a touch of dill. Very ripe plum on the palate. Black tea and toasted notes on the finish. 90

Male: A shy Cabernet nose opens to a dense palate of cola, dark fruit and good oak integration. Good grip. Well balanced. 90
William Hill Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $40.00 BEIGE
6874 cases produced
Female: Cigar and vanilla aromas. Dark blueberry and sweet spice flavors that are nicely integrated with silky tannins on the lingering finish. 90

Male: Rich blackberry, cedar and coffee aromatics. The richly layered palate screams drink me! The palate reflects the nose with the addition of vanilla. Firm, balanced finish. Well done! 91
William Hill Estate 2010 Bench Blend Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $45.00
1580 cases produced
Female: Root beer aromas lead to cherry, blackberry jam and vanilla bean flavors. Rich and lush fruit. Sweet fruit prevails with a back note of toasted baking spices. Nice acid on the finish. Well made and consumer friendly. 90

Male: Licorice, cassis, kir, caramelized butterscotch, berry, and subtle herb notes on the nose. Cassis and raspberry. Viscous herb mid-palate leads into deep fruit, acid and wonderful oak integration. Finishes beautifully. One of our winemaker judges loved this wine! 92

Cabernet Franc

3 Steves Winery 2011 Cabernet Franc
Cienega Valley, $35.00
74 cases produced
Female: Dark and brooding, rich deep purple/black in the glass. Licorice, blackberry and cigar aromas. Blackberry and black pepper flavors. Silky tannins. Very enjoyable. 89

Male: Dark garnet in color. Rich black cherry, pomegranate and spice aromatic. Zesty black fruit with great balance and structure. An exceptional wine. 94
AuburnJames 2009 Cabernet Franc
North Coast, $44.00
223 cases produced
Female: Deep black/red in color. Intense extracted fruit aroma of plum, black raspberry, vanilla, cedar, and eucalyptus. Bramble and blackberry at the core of the long and vibrant palate. Oak use is deft. High tannins leave cigar box elements on the finish. Lay this baby down to be rewarded. It will be stunning in another year or two. 92

Male: Elevated rich cherry and cassis are primary aromas. Back notes of pomegranate. Richly formed lively palate. Great wine! 90
BOYANCI InSpire ROMAnce 2011 Stagecoach Vineyards Cabernet Franc
Napa, $65.00 ORCHID
70 cases produced
Female: Deep purple/black in color. The nose is subtle yet powerful showing dark cocoa, black tea, boysenberry, and earth notes. The boysenberry carries through onto the palate and is joined by plum and dried blueberry flavors. There is a pronounced mineral quality to this wine. Nice silky tannins. 91

Male: Rich blackberry, cigar box, mocha, chocolate, and cedar on the complex nose. True to varietal with herbal, blackberry and deft oak blend. Firm, balanced finish. Well structured with an evolving palate. 90
Cliff Creek Cellars 2008 Estate Sams Valley Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Southern Oregon, $28.00 BLACK
185 cases produced
Female: There's a floral element to the nose with sweet red fruit and cinnamon spice that draws me in. Nicely acidic with sour cherry. Medium bodied with silky tannins and a nice lingering finish. Great food pairing wine! 90

Male: Scarlet/garnet in color. Dried herbs, blackberries and blueberries on the nose and palate. Lively palate. Well structured and balanced. 90
Deerfield Ranch 2008 Cabernet Franc
Sonoma Valley, $58.00 MAGENTA
210 cases produced
Female: Deep red/brown in color. Baked red cherry aromas with brown baking spices. Vibrant spicy palate with lovely smoked red cherry and tart rhubarb with nice white pepper to complement. Great food wine. 90

Male: Cocoa and coffee is wrapped around lush black fruit on the nose and well formed palate. Sleek wine. Tons of spice on the elegant, balanced finish. Extremely well made. 94
En Garde 2011 Ghielmetti Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Livermore Valley, $48.00 WEDGEWOOD
25 cases produced
Female: Ruby with a light rim. Mushrooms on the initial nose are joined by raspberry and dark cherry. There is a powdery element and sweet spice aromas too. Medium bodied. Cherry and smoke on the palate. Nice finish. "Love those tannins!" 92

Male: Dark garnet in color. Fragrant nose of violets, blackberry and oak. The palate is complex, sleek and well formed adding cedar and leather to the aromatic nuances. Linear, balanced finish. Nice food wine. 90
Enoteca Five 2011 Silvaspoons Vineyards Cabernet Franc
Lodi, $28.00 LIGHT BLUE
100 cases produced
Female: Earth, cedar and blackberry on the nose through entry. Cigar box notes join mid-palate through the finish where an added element of blackberry joins in. Would be great with grilled steak. 90

Male: Dramatic barnyard and old world nose. The palate is alive with fruit, spice, and white pepper. Excellent Euro-style rendition. 90
Lucas & Lewellen 2009 Estate Valley View Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Santa Barbara County, $26.00
211 cases produced
Female: Raspberry and fresh cherry aromas replicate on palate. Lovely acid. Toasted herbs on the finish. 87

Male: Berries show from start to finish. The wine is a bit shy at first but shows vibrant fruit on the finish with mineral and dried cranberry notes. 87
Texas Hills Vineyard 2010 Newsom Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Texas High Plains, $25.00
1247 cases produced
Female: Sassafras and blackberry tea aromas open to very sweet red fruit, going to sour cherry on the finish. A very pleasant wine. 85

Male: Strong oak aromas almost overpower the dark berry and orange peel on the nose. With aeration, the fruit elements come through. Eucalyptus, sweet oak, blackberry, orange peel, and celery notes on the palate. Balanced finish. 86
Wente Vineyards 2011 Small Lot Cabernet Franc
Livermore Valley, $40.00
Female: Deep purple black in color. Rich black cherry and plum aromas with a dusty minerality. Cherry and blueberry are beautifully integrated with oak. Well made! 91

Male: Deep ruby-garnet color. Classic Cabernet Franc. Blackberry-blueberry from the nose through the finish. Fresh, juicy. Perfect structure and balance. Silky smooth texture. Gentle use of oak. 91

Cabernet Blend and Meritage

Artiste Winery Chaise Bleue Cabernet Blend
Santa Barbara County, $38.00 LIGHT YELLOW
208 cases produced
Female: Red fruit and herbal notes on the nose. "Yum!" Black cherry at the core with accents of black plums, green pepper, vanilla bean, and dried herbs. Well integrated with nice oak notes. Lots of acid on the finish. Makes you want another sip. Great with red sauce. 96

Male: Dark, inky garnet color. Fore taste of clean Cabernet Franc fruit. The mid-palate shows black fruit, cedar and molasses. Nicely balanced and smooth across the palate. Long finish of cassis and oak. Nice tannins. Perfect for prime rib. 90
AuburnJames 2009 Artist Series Meritage
Napa Valley, $85.00 BLUE GREEN
253 cases produced
Female: Dusty berry aroma with vanilla notes. Earth entry, cassis and tart plums join herbs and spice box notes mid-palate. The gorgeous lifted finish shows cranberry and citrus. Yum! 90

Male: Thick, dark blood color. Blackberries, black pepper and a light smoky quality on the nose. Intense in the mouth...solid acidity with black cherries and tannins. Quite young. Big cherry fruit finish with lingering dark chocolate and tannins. 90
AuburnJames 2009 Meritage
Napa Valley, $55.00
321 cases produced
Female: Smoky cherry, cassis, licorice, and herbs notes on the nose. Rich blackberry at the core with bittersweet chocolate accents on the expansive and vibrant palate. Medium tannins on the subdued finish. 90

Male: Definitive chocolate layered on black raspberry aromas with a touch of cedar box. Generous palate of layered black fruit and cherry with lovely spice notes. Nice! 90
Barnard Griffin Winery 2009 Partners Reserve Sagemoor Vineyard Cabernet Blend
Columbia Valley, $60.00
180 cases produced
Female: Cherry vanilla flavors leap from the glass. Lush entry expands on the palate full of red cherries, boysenberry, dried herbs, and a hint of cinnamon. Nicely balanced. Very consumer friendly wine. 91

Male: Pretty in the glass displaying a dark ruby color. Coffee, raspberry and milk chocolate notes with a touch of mint underneath. Fairly strong on the palate with ripe black cherry, white pepper and big acidity. The tannins and acidity are noteworthy but well integrated. 90
BOYANCI 2010 Stagecoach Vineyards Cabernet Blend
Napa Valley, $110.00 GOLD
200 cases produced
Female: Darkly hued in the glass. Opens with blackberry and cassis aromas and flavors. Dense and concentrated fruit accented with leather and a hint of black pepper. Powerfully built with firm tannins and nicely integrated oak. 91

Male: The nose shows a lean Bordeaux-style with graphite, mineral, a hint of dried herbs, and tobacco opening to dark brooding fruit. The palate is dense and dark. Sweet vanilla, creme brulee and pure dark fruit. Earth, cocoa and dark fruit with underlying tannin on the finish. Big and intense! Lots of wonderful concentration. 91
Cliff Creek Cellars 2008 Estate Grown Claret Sams Valley Vineyard
Southern Oregon, $25.00
652 cases produced
Female: Cherry pie aromas lead to bright cherry and red plum at the core. Lean style with plenty of acidity and nice tea spice on the finish. 89

Male: Raspberry and chocolate aromas with deep woodsy undertones. Nice in the mouth with broad black cherry fruit and powdered cocoa notes. Beautifully balanced. Well done! 91
Deerfield Ranch 2005 Trio Vineyard Meritage
Napa, $75.00
700 cases produced
Female: Vibrant nose of black currant and cherry with pronounced green pepper notes. Cherry and blackberry in the mouth. Nice! 87

Male: Lovely black fruit aromas with nutmeg, violets and coffee. Mixed red fruit flavors on entry with rhubarb coming on strong mid- and leather on the finish. Great acidity. 87
Ecluse Wines 2011 Ensemble Cabernet Blend
Paso Robles, $42.00 CHARTREUSE
275 cases produced
Female: Inviting dark berry aroma with a rich and smooth entry full of blackberry, cassis, tobacco, spice, and vanilla drenching the palate. Nicely balanced too! 90

Male: Nice shiny garnet color. Ripe nose full of raspberry and chocolate. Very round on the palate with great texture and creaminess. "I really like that the oak isn't overbearing." Nice berries and mocha finish. Great balance. 91
Penman Springs Vineyard 2010 Artisan Cuvee Penman Springs Vineyard Meritage
Paso Robles, $25.00
245 cases produced
Female: Bright strawberry, cherry and sweet raspberry jam aromas. Lovely layered palate. Youthful and fun! 89

Male: Delicately perfumed aromatics cranberry, mint and cedar. Precise entry of cherry and black cherry which expands on the palate. Leather and cedar on the finish. 90
Summerhill Pyramid Winery 2010 Osoyoos Vineyard Cabernet Blend
Okanagan Valley, $30.00
Female: Berry pie on the nose. Juicy blackberry, plum and blueberry meet with tobacco spice. Cassis and lively acidity on the palate with a burst of sour cherry on the finish. Finishes lean and clean. 90

Male: Deep cassis and spice aromas with a nice mintiness. "Possibly Alexander Valley." Fairly big and structured. Black currant fruit with cherry/chocolate layers. Finishes with solid acidity and lingering dusty cherry flavors. 90


Estate 1856 2011 Bordeaux Blend
Sonoma County, $38.00 BURGUNDY
105 cases produced
Female: Dark fruit and black tea aromas and flavors capture the senses. Cassis, tobacco spice and a hint of menthol swirl on the palate. Fresh and lively with nice oak integration. 90

Male: Punch of fruit with an herbal left hook. Black cherry, cola, olive, and iodine aromatics with a slight smoky undertone. Big tannins and deep fruit intensity on the palate. Black plum and bitter chocolate flavors with an intense but well balanced blend of tannin and acidity. Lingering cola, coffee and toffee on the nice long finish. 93
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