9th Cabernet Shootout Results

9th Cabernet Shootout Results
Scores: Women Judges
Scores: Women Judges Bang for Your Buck
Scores: Men Judges
Scores: Men Judges Bang for Your Buck

All wines reviewed indicate a numerical score and are awarded medals as follows:

Double Gold

90 or above from both Male and Female Judging Panels = Double Gold

Gold

90 or above from either Male or Female Judging Panel = Gold Medal

Silver

80-89 from either Male or Female Judging Panel = Silver Medal




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

Cabernet Sauvignon

3 Steves Winery 2012 Small Lot #2 Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $44.95
170 cases produced
Female: Lush Bing cherries, blueberries and black fruit with hints of tobacco and dried herbs in the glass. Firm acidity on the palate showcases the fruit flavors. A lovely soft and silky fruit filled finish is supported and enhanced by firm tannins. 90
Male: Cassis, ripe plum, and white pepper highlight the attractive aromatics. There is a generous core of both black fruit and young fresh cherry. Moderate tannins and good acidity combine with a nice spice tone on the finish. 88
@Wine 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $40.00 BLACK
2062 cases produced
Female: Blackberry, graphite, cedar, rich earth, and dried mushroom aromatics. Balanced with great flavors. Silky texture. Delicious showing medium tart cherries, red plums and some cranberry. Vanilla, caramel and light toast join in on the finish. Should age very well. 92
Male: The enhanced development of the aromatics lend strong credence to the benefits of time in bottle for well-made wines. That appears to be the case here with lovely black fruit and dried red fruit accented by cassis, cigar box, mint, and black licorice. Ripe and rich black fruit with a nice balance of leaner red fruit fill the very solid core. Tannins are mature and well developed and work very well with the depth of fruit and spice on the palate. A real treat now, will continue to age nicely as there is lots left to both the fruit and tannins. 91
A Jo Elet 2011 Estate McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $49.00
197 cases produced
Female: Elements of both French and American oak weave toast and vanilla notes into a nicely defined aromatic of fruit and spice. Lovely color to this wine. Dense black fruit dances across the palate with great depth and length which carries through and true to the finish. Tasty. 87
Male: An attractive assortment of barrel and toast elements with nicely defined black fruit. Palate holds your attention with nice layering of both black and red fruit components with accents of spice and roasted herbs. There is some nice length to the finish making this wine very enjoyable. 88
Ackerman Family Vineyards 2008 Estate Stonehaven Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, $95.00 ORCHID
400 cases produced
Female: Sweet and smoky aromatic profile with red cherry, molasses, with a hint of earth and meaty notes. Brushed suede textured palate reveals charred red cherry, black pepper, cedar, and spice notes. Nicely balanced. A masculine wine. 90
Male: Dark and extracted, the nose profiles ripe black fruit, mocha, graphite, and baking spice. Aromas are replicated nicely within the palate with lush tannins formed around a core of ripe black fruit. A big style that screams California depth of fruit. 88
Angels Landing 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa, $25.00
1200 cases produced
Female: Rhubarb, cassis, cranberry, and a touch of black olive on the nose. Black cherry, cherry compote flavors on entry then a flood of oak tannins. Needs time to develop. 85
Male: Aromas are layered… violet, mild barbecue, boysenberry, mint chocolate, and a touch of menthol. Bright, vibrant fruit on the palate. The tannins are a bit dry but the wine finishes fresh. 89
Angels Landing 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa, $32.00
879 cases produced
Female: Wild and juicy with well developed aromatics of ripe blueberry and black currant. Hint of earth and sandalwood. Palate has great length and depth with layers of both black and red fruit accented by barrel notes. Complex. Well balanced and integrated. A nice example of New World Cabernet. 89
Male: Nicely evolved and sophisticated aromatics of ripe black fruit and fresh plum. Secondary notes of ripe blueberry and a bit of minerality and earth. Palate replicates the fruit nicely off of the aromatics with rich black cherry and mocha notes adding complexity. Blueberry noted as well. Tannins are nicely proportioned to all the fruit filling and carry the weight of the palate well. Right touch of acidity provides freshness to the finish that invites you back for more. 91
Arbios 2010 Arbios Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $34.99 GUNMETAL
1370 cases produced
Female: Blackberry jam, green tea notes and a touch of cola on the nose. The palate mirrors the aromas. Youthful wine that has a long life. 90
Male: Clean and fresh fruit aromas with a candied note and a touch of gingerbread. A pleasant, easy drink drinking wine that would pair beautifully with grilled pork or grilled portobello mushrooms. This is still a baby. Enjoy for years to come. 88
AuburnJames 2010 Block #2 Bella Vista Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Calistoga, $75.00
236 cases produced
Female: A big wallop of pine boughs, forest glade, juniper berries and intense pure cigar box aromas emanate from the glass. Black currant flavors are enhanced with menthol and bay leaf accents. Velvety texture. Full fruit with licorice on the finish. This is an intense wine. 88
Male: A dramatic first impression from aromatics that break tradition with notes of forest floor, mushroom, restrained black fruit, and distinctive cedar and spice notes. Mid-palate is layered nicely with both black cherry and pomegranate framed with earthy tannins and mulled spice tones. Well balanced on the finish with lingering cola notes and cocoa powder. 91
AuburnJames 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $59.00
481 cases produced
Female: Black cherry and burnt coffee aromas. The flavors are mouth coating, almost creamy...cherry compote with herbal notes on the finish. 86
Male: Warm and exotic nose showing black fruit and Asian spices. Solid core of black fruit enhanced with spice elements. Dusty tannins on the finish. 88
Barboursville Vineyards 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Virginia, $74.99
Female: Vanilla, coffee, cocoa, herbs, and cassis aromas. Mushrooms and dark earth with dark fruit and herbs on the palate. The finish is dry, but pleasant. 87
Male: Blackberries and wet earth on the nose replicate in the mouth. Full and ripe on the palate. Big fruit, big texture, and chewy tannins. Blue fruit, chocolate and coffee on the finish. 90
Barefoot Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
Argentina, $6.99
Female: Floral and spice nose revealing clove and cinnamon. Wonderful blueberry joins in. Blueberry, blackberry flavors. Soft tannins at first turn into a meaty palate. Velvety in the mouth. Enjoy roasted lamb with an herb de Provence crust and this wine. 90
Male: A lovely nose is nicely proportioned between the black fruit notes and baking spice with vanilla tones. Cherry pie filling combine with fresh black cherry on the palate. Very appealing as it finishes with moderate length and long lasting Cabernet flavors. 90
Baus Family Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $18.00 HOT PINK
1500 cases produced
Female: Initially a bit syrupy on the nose...summer Maine blueberries in a glass. Blue, red and black fruit on the palate with a hint of peppermint and menthol. Mouth filling flavors. Big, weighty and well structured. Nice finish with a hint of bitterness. Good acidity. Soft tannins. 91
Male: An attractive aromatic of fruit and spice with a freshness to the black fruit component that is appealing. The fruit component carrying through on the palate is highlighted by black cherry with a nice smoke and vanilla accent. The finish fits the palate nicely with softer tannins and enough acidity to carry it through to completion. Enjoyable. 90
Bouchaine 2012 Landucci Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, Napa Valley, $70.00
499 cases produced
Female: Toasted sesame seeds and other exotic Asian spices draw me in...the nose is interesting, almost Pinot-like. Pretty dark black cherry and red cherry fruit flavors at the core is deftly seasoned with oak spice. Lovely balance. "I like!" 91
Male: Deep and dark in the glass. Vanilla, slight barnyard, dark, dark black cherry and black raspberry aromatics are replicated on the palate with black pepper surrounding the core of black fruit. 89
Calcareous Vineyard 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $40.00
370 cases produced
Female: Aromas of chocolate, coffee and blueberries with hints of black fruit. Vibrant lush palate. Big, rich and ripe flavors. Very structured. Tastes but doesn't look highly extracted with dark red and black fruit flavors...licorice and herbs showing on the long finish. 91
Male: Aromatics make a serious statement right up front on this wine. Well developed and complex black fruit driven by black cherry and currants are nicely accented by hints of fig, mocha, toast, and sweet vanilla bean. Palate is equally well developed with the solid black fruit core leading the way to layers of red fruit and spice. All of this is brought together by a firm tannin structure that has developed nicely in tandem with the fruit and spice side. Long and luxurious. 93
Cameron Hughes Wine 2012 Lot 525 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $29.00
700 cases produced
Female: Dark wild berry with a nice sense of blueberry and baking spice on the nose. Raspberry and dark fruit form a graceful palate with notes of brown spice and toast adding complexity. Well balanced and showing lots of promise down the road. 89
Male: Nose offers up nicely complex black fruit and lots of it. Hints of brown spice and candied vanilla toast join in. A fully developed palate of black cherry and black currant with nicely balanced tannins framing it all out. A work in progress on the finish bodes well for future development. 88
Cameron Hughes Wine 2012 Lot 502 Cabernet Sauvignon
Spring Mountain, Napa Valley, $25.00
1000 cases produced
Female: Deep purple color in the glass. Blackberry and blueberry aromatic with fennel and campfire notes. This is a BIG wine. Dark black fruit is wound tightly by the substantial oak and grape tannins. Lay this baby down, patience will reward you. 88
Male: Blackberry, smoke and deep toasted herbs and spices on the nose. Big and chewy. Intense black and blue fruit on the palate with lots of oak. Definitely needs time to develop. 85
Cameron Hughes Wine 2012 Lot 515 Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $32.00 GOLD
500 cases produced
Female: Fruit forward nose of black cherry and dusty Santa Rosa plum with clove and spice back notes. Fruit immediately explodes on the palate!… Dark and smoky and lush and spicy… YUM!! 91
Male: A complex profile to well developed aromatics offering layers of blueberry and black cherry fruit, coriander, sage, and cocoa. Black cherry, currant, and pomegranate create a solid fruit core that is touched by bittersweet chocolate which connects nicely back to the nose. Medium tannins and good acidity provide a nice framework to carry the fruit content. 92
Cameron Hughes Wine 2012 Lot 535 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $29.00 GRAY
700 cases produced
Female: Chocolate, dark ripe berries, coffee, and molasses join together in the many layered nose. The palate is intense, lush and mouth filling with complex flavors. A fiery hint of dark chocolate and ghost pepper adds another dimension. Velvety texture, balanced oak. Excellent! 92
Male: Very attractive aromatic defined by its complexity and breadth. Coriander, mocha, ripe plum, and cola notes abound. Layers of black fruit and elderberry on the palate meld nicely with an earthy minerality and lingering tannins. The finish is long and satisfying but stays precise with plenty of acidity to keep it all together. 93
Cameron Hughes Wine 2012 Lot 545 Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, Napa Valley, $29.00
800 cases produced
Female: Bold and dramatically elevated black cherry aromas. Savory and ripe fruit of black cherry and raspberry combine with sweeter spiced notes creating a very alluring palate. Finishes very nicely with still evolving tannins pointing to a nice upside for the future on this wine. Great balance across the board. 89
Male: Nicely refined black fruit, light toasted spice notes and a hint of dill create an attractive nose. Palate comes alive with robust black fruit and a distinctive array of spices. Youthful tannins are still working their way into the picture and this offering bodes very well for cellaring and further bottle development. 89
Cameron Hughes Wine 2012 Lot 555 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $29.00
1000 cases produced
Female: Aromas and flavors reminiscent of Smith Bros Wild Cherry Cough Drops. Ripe flavors on the palate. Sour cherry on the finish. 86
Male: Nicely melded classic California Cabernet Sauvignon nose with black fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, and toast. Lush flavors on the palate. Nicely made. 89
Campana Ranch 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma County, $47.00
110 cases produced
Female: Sweet aromas of cherry cola and red cherry soda pop. The palate reflects the nose without the exaggerated sweetness. Nice acid on the finish. "Not typical, but I like it." 88
Male: Faint floral notes on the nose carry onto the palate, then joined by berry, cherry and menthol notes. Nice finish. 84
Cannonball 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $14.99
50000 cases produced
Female: Yum! Bright fruit...cherry, pomegranate red plum, and fresh red currants on the nose and in the mouth. Juicy, forward and generous. 87
Male: Vibrant and delightful in the nose as it combines fresh black cherry and lively raspberry aromas with just enough spice and toast. Fruit profile of nose carries forward to fill the palate with the solid core accented by light vanilla and hint of mocha and mint. Finish and bright and alive with enough length to stay true to its varietal roots. 90
Cass 2012 Estate Cass Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $45.00
525 cases produced
Female: The nose is fruit forward with cherry, blackberry and a touch of oak spice. The palate shows brambly fruit with an added layer of pomegranate, sour cherry and some cranberry. A full-bodied wine with soft tannins and a lovely lush mouthfeel. The finish is crisp with bright acid. It would be a great food partner. 89
Male: A very inviting aromatic profile offering vibrant strawberry and red currant, mocha, toast, dried herbs and just enough earthiness to give it some Old World charm. Cherry and rich ripe plum form a solid fruit core that is surrounded by lively spice and a hint a mint. All of this is framed nicely with well integrated tannins and a lively acidity. Complete package. 92
Cass 2012 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $90.00 PINK
250 cases produced
Female: "Lively fruit and spice nose involving memories of the Christmas holidays!...plum, cherry, clove, and cinnamon...mulled wine without the mull." The palate is lovely reflecting the nose and layering in chocolate covered nuts and blueberries. Good acidity and a mild tannin structure showcases the flavors to shine. "Lots of fun!" 92
Male: An alluring and complex aromatic profile offering up bittersweet chocolate, black tea, rhubarb, ripe black fruit, char, and soy. A generous and youthful fruit profile of plum and black cherry frames the palate with accents of nutmeg and anise. Soft tannins are adequate in framing the solid fruit core and add to a long and satisfying finish that fits this wine well. 90
Cedar Creek Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
American, $17.00
455 cases produced
Female: Vanilla bean accent a nice profile of both black and red fruit on the nose. A hint of bacon with a touch of leather and black tea as well. The black cherry core is lovely on entry. Lush. Noted black olive. Balances nicely on the finish. 91
Male: A delightful combination of black fruit and lighter raspberry tones with nutmeg and clove on the nose joined by a hint of ginger and roasted meats upon aeration. Palate is well developed with nice structure and length on the finish. Solid fruit core of ripe black cherry and black raspberry. Hint of rhubarb. Nicely balanced by medium tannins and nice acids. 88
Claar Cellars 2011 Estate Grown and Bottled, Certified Sustainable LIVE and Salmon Safe White Bluffs Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, $24.99
128 cases produced
Female: The nose is fruit forward with back notes of chocolate, spearmint, licorice, and lavender. The palate shows to tart red fruit with peppercorn and meaty back notes. Lots of tannin here. Needs time. 88
Male: Cola berry, black cherry, cassis and coriander form a restrained yet well developed aromatic. Cedar notes and cigar box. Palate is still integrating the wines significant tannin profile which is combining nicely in its early stages with a solid core of leaner black fruit and softer red fruit. A nice start to a fine work in progress. 90
Clautiere Vineyard 2011 Estate Clautiere Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $36.00
250 cases produced
Female: Warm spice with a welcoming black cherry fruit presence on the nose. Palate combines rich cherry with a nice touch of raspberry. A hint of rhubarb. Finishes with some length carrying the fruit mid palate forward. Good support by evolving tannins. 89
Male: Vanilla and toast scented black fruit with hints of cherry jam. Ripe cherry comes across nicely on the palate and combines with black fruit and wild berry. Tannins work nicely on the finish. Very pleasing. 87
Cliff Creek Cellars 2011 Sams Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Southern Oregon/Rogue Valley, $25.00
396 cases produced
Female: Soft cherry, forest floor, mushroom, and a hint of eucalyptus on the nose. Soft cherry flavors on entry with sour cherry on the tart finish. 86
Male: Ripe plum, coffee bean, smoke, and toasted oak aromatics. Lively cherry entry opens to a rustic/Old World-style wine with a good length on the finish. 89
Cloak & Dagger 2010 The Assassin Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $75.00 LIME GREEN
50 cases produced
Female: Sultry dark and sexy nose of plum, rhubarb and blackberry with dusty chocolate, tar, black pepper, and dried herbs. The palate is low-toned, well structured and lengthy with earthy mineral notes underlying the blue and black fruit. 88
Male: A very interesting melange of aromatic elements combining black cherry and ripe plum with baking spice and a touch of cinnamon and earth. The flavor profile captures much of what is showing in the aromas with the accent on the black cherry with a noted hint of mild chocolate. The finish is highlighted by tannins that have advanced nicely into the framework of this wines substantial fruit core. 90
Concrete Wine Co 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $75.00 BLUE GREEN
248 cases produced
Female: Sweet and savory aromas showing plum sauce, ripe red fruit, blueberries, and chocolate cupcakes. The palate is full-bodied with rich fruit and big oak and tannins. Will age well. Tasty wine! 88
Male: Very nice definition and complexity on the nose. Black fruit and warm baking spice with a graham cracker back drop. Nice presence of ripe raspberry as well. Tannins and fruit have melded together nicely on the palate and are accented with finesse by mocha, cinnamon, and light coriander. Lush and long on the finish with just enough bright acidity to make it all work. 90
Deerfield 2009 Zukowski Cabernet Sauvignon
Knights Valley, $75.00 RED ORANGE
202 cases produced
Female: Dusty red cherry aromas with soft floral and baking spice notes. The palate is medium bodied and playful with lively pepper notes that complement the fruit frame. Rich mouthfeel. Good acidity. Mild tannins on the long finish. 91
Male: The nose offers a subtle complexity as it melds both cherry and black fruit components with earth, leather, and spice. Sleek and rich with well integrated tannins carrying the prominent fruit profile. The wines integration carries through to the long finish. Ready to be enjoyed now. 90
Deerfield 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, $38.00
800 cases produced
Female: Deep, rich plum and penetrating aromas of mocha, black cherry and coffee bean. Scented black fruit and ripe cherry palate with vanilla coated tannins working to carry the depth of fruit. Gracious and rich and could be enjoyed with a chocolate dessert. 90
Male: Well developed and graceful aromatics of ripe cherry, butterscotch scented toasted oak and chocolate liqueur. Dense palate of ripe fruit and well evolved tannins that are fully integrated and holding up the fruit side. Long and satisfying on the palate. Drink now. 89
Deerfield 2009 Rancho Salina Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, $75.00
293 cases produced
Female: Cassis, kirsch and eucalyptus aromas arise from the glass. Blueberry and boysenberry on entry. Nice fruit on the mid-palate with balanced acidity and fine tannins. Nicely structured. Good food pairing wine that won't overshadow your entrée. Long finish. Well-made. 91
Male: The nose is a bit closed at first with elements of light spice and soft, black cherries but opens to a hit of blueberry essence. Supple on entry with coffee and blackberries from entry through the finish. Tannins and alcohol show late through the finish. 88
Ecluse Wines 2012 Lock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $38.00
225 cases produced
Female: The nose is delicate with fruit at the forefront and notes of lavender and eucalyptus. Wonderful balance of oak and fruit. Ripe cherry, milk chocolate, cassis, and black tea flavors. Full and balanced mouthfeel. Nice finish! 89
Male: Elegant aromas lift from the glass showing rich plum, raspberry, toasted vanilla barrel notes, fresh baked bread, and a touch of mint. The plum fruit core is replicated nicely from first impression on the nose and is accented stylishly with cassis, brown spice, and light cinnamon. Comes together with nicely integrated medium tannins on the pleasing finish. 91
Ehrenberg Cellars 2011 Dixon Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $40.00
85 cases produced
Female: green elements in the nose… Wet forest, Culpepper, and then coffee beans and plums. Dark cherry on the palate with veggie back notes. Smooth and balanced. 86
Male: Cherry and cigar box combine nicely with secondary tones of dried black fruit and cassis. Lots of red fruit and spice on the well defined palate. Accenting the palate is mocha, a touch of chocolate, and white pepper. Tannins work nicely to make the complex palate consistent and provide nice structure. Soft on the finish with just enough length. 90
Ehrenberg Cellars 2012 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Lodi, $35.00
85 cases produced
Female: Ripe blackberry, bay leaf and soy on the nose. A hint of fun Welch's grape jelly. Blackberry jam and raspberry fill out the palate nicely. A hint of barnyard and earth. Enjoyable. 85
Male: Reserved and stylish on the nose with nice proportion of wild berry and floral notes. Raspberry and light earth with a slight touch of dill on the palate. Lively and bright on the finish. 87
Field Stone Winery 2012 Staten Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $45.00 BLUE
494 cases produced
Female: Black cherry, cassis and black tea aromatics lead to a full-bodied, firmly structured palate with soft dusty cherry/berry flavors. A hint of black tea and earth add interest. Powerful tannin structure and good acidity suggest a long life for this baby. 91
Male: Well developed aromatics combining ripe cherry and light cranberry accented by cedar, cola, and leather. While still in its youth, there is much that is noteworthy on the palate including expressive black cherry and currant and an evolving spice and dried herb component. Tannins are integrating nicely with a ways to go yet. 90
Field Stone Winery 2012 Wally's Block Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $32.00
398 cases produced
Female: The nose is closed at first but opens to wet forest aromas with tart cherry notes in the background. On entry, the palate is classic Cabernet Sauvignon with black currant, cedar, black olive, and licorice. Big structure. Vanilla and toasted marshmallows on the nice tannic finish with wonderful length. 89
Male: Subtle and nicely restrained, the youthful aromatics take their time in revealing themselves as vanilla scented black fruit with lighter tones of fresh black raspberry. Earth and mushroom linger behind the fruit. The palate is tightly wound with cherry, plum, cassis, and black currant. Light toast and vanilla combine with a hint of black licorice to accent the fruit content. Young tannins frame the fruit with a good balance and structure. Will continue to evolve nicely. 90
Field Stone Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $16.95
1680 cases produced
Female: The nose is elusive showing black fruit and caramel on opening. The black and sour red fruit flavors balance nicely with the metered acid and tannins. 88
Male: Lots of oak here. Aromas of caramelized sugar and brown sugar with some red fruit peeking through. Cassis on entry then the oak kicks in. Needs time to come together. 86
Galante Vineyards 2010 Estate Red Rose Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
Carmel Valley, $40.00
700 cases produced
Female: Seaside aromas and sarsaparilla. Pretty combination of red fruit, black tea and a touch of green olive. The finish is a bit short. I'd like those lovely flavors to continue and continue. 87
Male: Nice black fruit with a hint of orange peel on the nose. Juicy on entry, then the substantial tannins mask the fruit mid through late. Lay this baby down, to allow the tannins to resolve. 86
Grayson Cellars 2013 Lot 10 Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $10.00
20000 cases produced
Female: Aromas of light toast and hint of vanilla combine with Bing cherry and light raspberry notes on the nose. Palate is simple and straight forward with a solid core of lighter black fruit with savory roasted herbs and spice on the palate. Well balanced and very quaffable. 89
Male: Bright young cherry with a hint of Jolly Rancher sour cherry candy on the nose. Lighter notes of oak and black fruit. Palate continues with the cherry theme found in the nose and combines it with some savory herb and lighter brown baking spice elements. Easy and approachable with enough guts on the finish to make it a memorable experience. 87
Hovey 2012 Isabel Rasmussen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Calaveras County, $36.00 YELLOW
245 cases produced
Female: A creamy and sweet nose showing plum and black cherry aromas with hints of toasted oak, cocoa and cedar. Firmly structured. On the palate, lovely chocolate and vanilla hints enhance the bright blackberry and black currant flavors. Nice tannins mid-palate through the finish. 88
Male: Aromatics are highlighted by a distinct ripe pomegranate with lighter tones of strawberry pie filling. Noteworthy cedar box character on nose. Well-made with a solid core of black and red fruit accented by cocoa and toasted barrel notes. Soft, nicely evolved tannins define a pleasing finish. 91
J. Rickards 2012 Estate, Reserve Serpentine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $52.00 AQUA
125 cases produced
Female: Big blackberry and coal aromas, then the nose gets very intriguing… brownies and botanicals. Lovely texture and tannins. Good combination of herbs, flowers, fruit, and meat notes come together in a very pleasing cuvée. A plump yet enthusiastic wine with length and breadth. 91
Male: A dramatic wow factor from first impressions on the nose. Those impressions don't disappoint with loads of cola berry, cherry kirsch, dried herbs, and nutmeg. Beautiful integration of fruit, spice, cigar box and graceful tannins on the luxurious palate. Precise acidity on the finish brings your taste buds back to life and looking for the next taste. 94
James Vincent 2011 Estate McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $65.00
100 cases produced
Female: A perfumed combination of black fruit, ripe red cherry, black currant, black tea, and warm earth form an attractive aromatic. The palate is big and generous with well developed black fruit, a touch of mocha and tannins that are certainly big enough to carry the depth of fruit given sufficient time to evolve. Can be enjoyed now but will go much further with time. 89
Male: Ripe plum and black cherry elevate nicely to the nose inviting you to dig deeper where you find added notes of ripe cranberry, black olive, lightly scented vanilla, and toast elements. Rich palate goes deeply in the black fruit range with roasted herbs and a touch of black licorice. The dusty tannins are in an early stage of integration and with sufficient acidity present, will allow this wine to grow gracefully in the bottle for years to come. 90
Le Chateau 2012 Certified Sustainable, LIVE and Salmon Safe Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, $29.99
111 cases produced
Female: There is a touch of funk on the nose… sewer pipe, but lots of low notes of black plum and black cherry. Fun and inviting. Warm cherry pie flavors on entry with milk chocolate and black tea on the finish. Nice acid. 90
Male: Raspberry, rose, peat, and whiskey notes on the nose. Ripe red fruit entry gives way to big tannins on a very dry finish. 87
Lone Madrone 2010 Chelle Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles/ York Mountain, $60.00
97 cases produced
Female: Bright blackberry and raspberry jam, star anise, cigar box, Darjeeling tea, and tobacco aromas. Muscular and masculine wine with a velvety, silky finish. 89
Male: Earth, ripe plum, currant and anise meld together nicely on the nose. Minerals and earth frame deep Bing cherry and cassis with notes of licorice, baking spice, and coriander. The spice notes carry through on the finish which is graceful and refined. 90
Lucas & Lewellen 2011 COTE DEL SOL Valley View Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Barbara County, $36.00 COBALT
1034 cases produced
Female: Dark cherry, cola, tobacco, olive tapenade, and dill aromas. Dark cherry and dark cassis flavors are enhanced by oregano and basil notes - a pleasant surprise. A very refreshing Cabernet Sauvignon. Cool climate? Intriguing and food worthy. 89
Male: Lovely complexity in the mix of aromatic elements that are centered around blackberry, ripe cherry, cedar, sage, and violets. Palate is fresh and lean and moves effortlessly across your mouth. Cola berry and black currant form the fruit core with herbs and lighter spice tones. Finishes bright and clean with plenty of acidity. Nicely old world with a Tuscan slant. 92
McGrail Vineyards 2011 Reserve McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $39.00
1926 cases produced
Female: The subdued nose shows shy blackberry and black pepper. Boysenberry with touches of greenness mid-palate give way to sour cherry, green olives and tannins that hold on through the finish. 87
Male: Cocoa nibs, brown spice, coffee, and subtle red and black berry fruit in the nose…the barrel dominates. Tangy red fruit entry with oak and herbs joining in mid-palate and then carries through and lingers on the dry finish. 90
Mud Pie 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Mendocino, $16.00
2500 cases produced
Female: Beautiful sandalwood, pomegranate, cranberry, basil, grapefruit and flint on the complex nose. The palate shows olive, tart plum and pumpernickel bread notes. Solid and grippy tannins in this big structured wine. Bitter chocolate finish is long and enjoyable. Built to last but very enjoyable now. 88
Male: Distinctive and inviting in its range of aromas. Both black fruit and ripe red cherry with mint, baking spice, sage, and violets. Earthy with an elevated presence that speaks of whole cluster activity in the wine making process. Easy on the palate but by no means simple with a nice range of fruit, spice, and easy to like structure. A fun wine. 90
Muscardini Cellars 2012 Cassata Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, $48.00
141 cases produced
Female: Raspberry, plum and black cherry aromas repeat on the palate. Baking spices surround the core of fruit. Nice balance. Well-made. 89
Male: Understated tones of nicely melded black fruit and spice aromas. Palate mirrors the nose. Coffee and cinnamon join in mid-palate through the finish. Full-bodied. Firmly structured. 90
Muscardini Cellars 2011 Madrone Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, $48.00
118 cases produced
Female: Sweet, ripe cherry, rhubarb, wild olive, and vanilla notes on the nose. The palate reveals the same flavors… dominated by cherry with bright acidity and soft tannins to round out the mouthfeel and carry the flavor through to a satisfying finish. Nicely integrated. Very nice wine! 90
Male: Elevated aromatics of ripe cherry with prominent barrel notes of mocha and toast. Young tannins surround an evolving core of both black fruit, currant, and cherry. Still a baby but lots of promise for the years ahead. 87
Muscardini Cellars 2011 BWise Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, $48.00
232 cases produced
Female: Black fruit compote aromas. Santa Rosa plum and tart cherry on entry and mid-palate with a triple espresso shot on the finish. 87
Male: Understated aromatic showing leaves and subdued fruit leads to a richly textured and refined palate. 90
Muscardini Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, Napa County, $80.00
188 cases produced
Female: Tightly woven notes of black and dried fruit combine with subtle spice and a hint of stone fruit. Palate shows nicely layered red fruit with earth, leather, and roasted herbs. Tannins and well noted and will continue to integrate with further time in bottle. 90
Male: Subtle and reserved on the aromatic with nice balance of black fruit, sage, and lighter toast notes. A decidedly Napa characteristic throughout the aromatic. A nice melding of fruit and earth elements on the palate with good balance to the structure and integration of oak tannins. 88
Next of Kin 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Margaret River, $20.00
5000 cases produced
Female: Jammy black fruit with subtle raspberry and brown baking spice. Earth and light barnyard noted. Palate is soft and generous with modest tannins around a solid core of black fruit and currant with accents of roasted herbs and sage. Slight green olive note. Just enough acidity to carry the depth of fruit to a pleasing finish. 88
Male: Nicely formed aromatic profile of cranberry, black currant and wild berry. Secondary notes of ripe plum with barnyard and earth. Fruit profile from nose does a nice job of replicating on the palate with some black olive tones noted. Nicely balanced overall with a finish that carries just long enough. 88
Nottingham Cellars 2012 Vineyard Designate Casa De Vinas Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $55.00
100 cases produced
Female: The nose is bright, cheery and many layered showing cherry, raspberry, spearmint, vanilla, caramel, toasted brioche, cherry pie, and cinnamon. Wow! The palate is full and inviting and doesn't disappoint with pretty blackberry and blackcurrant jam flavors accented with mocha and clove notes. Lovely in the mouth. Great balance on the long finish. 91
Male: Cedar box, toasted vanilla graham cracker notes and wild cherry create a sleek aromatic. Cranberry combines with wild cherry evident in the nose to create a solid fruit core that is earthy and rustic. Soft tannins grace the rustic fruit profile and integrate nicely on the precise finish. 89
Nottingham Cellars 2012 Vineyard Designate Harris Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $55.00
100 cases produced
Female: Earthy, horsey, red fruit aromas. Nice! Black cherry flavors are predominant with a lovely wash of acid on the finish. Sip or enjoyed with food. 89
Male: Bright, almost Beaujolais like nose. Bright and fresh on the palate. Distinctive. 87
Nottingham Cellars 2012 Vineyard Designate Smith Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $55.00
100 cases produced
Female: The floral nose leads to a juicy red and black fruit on the palate. Nicely made wine with some sour cherry notes on the finish. 88
Male: Black currant, blackberry, oak, earth, mushrooms, and spice on the complex nose. The layered aromas are mirrored on the palate. Juicy berries mingle with brown spice. Heavy oak tannins are balanced by the fruit. This is a youngster. Lay it down. 90
Okapi 2010 Estate Jungle Love Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Oak Knoll District, $100.00
138 cases produced
Female: Nicely layered complex aromatic. Chewy black fruit and vanilla on entry. Beautiful mid-palate. Long and satisfying finish. 89
Male: Ripe red cherry and fragrant black fruit work nicely with elements of oak and spice on the nose. Palate captures the depth of fruit seen in the nose and combines with evolving tannins which lend nice structure to this wine. Exhibits a nice melding of fruit and spice leading to a well placed finish. 90
Okapi 2012 Estate Jungle Love Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Oak Knoll District, $100.00 CORAL
422 cases produced
Female: Floral aroma overtones with black currant and blackberry. The floral notes carry over to the palate adding interest to the wine. Lots of fruit here. The oak is balanced. Light bodied but unique and structured. Lively, tasty and very appealing. Soft smooth texture. Very inviting… begs coming back for more. 91
Male: There's a dramatic wow factor to this wine starting right up front with the well heeled and sophisticated aromatic profile that yells classic Cabernet. Cassis and rich black fruit wrapped in layers of spice and toast elements. Palate continues the fun with lots of black fruit driving the profile followed by red fruit, anise, coriander and light mocha elements. Tannins are refined and well integrated and make this wine exceptionally easy to enjoy. Classic. 93
Patriot 2011 Estate McGrail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $42.00 LIGHT YELLOW
200 cases produced
Female: The nose is rather un-Cabernet-like showing black pepper up front, then blackberry and black currant come to the fore. The wine is nicely balanced and quite vicious. Big raspberry, blackberry and boysenberry flavors. Suede like tannins and structure. Lovely! 90
Male: Pure and seductive on the nose with rich fruit, spice, and aromas of roasted meats. Cigar box and cedar linger behind. Palate is well formed with complex layers of black fruit, ripe raspberry, and boysenberry. All of this is wrapped nicely in rounded tannins with accents on the fruit of vanilla and butterscotch. A powerful wine that says it all in a balanced and reserved style. 92
Pedroncelli 2012 Three Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Dry Creek Valley, $18.00
8000 cases produced
Female: Black raspberry aromas replicate on the palate with added black and sour cherry flavors. Lovely soft tannins with coffee on the finish. 89
Male: Aromas of violets, ripe raspberry and cherry with black pepper back notes. The palate is bright and lively. Medium tannins linger with cocoa back notes. Nice acidity which will allow this wine to age gracefully. 90
PEJU 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $50.00
13547 cases produced
Female: the nose is delicate and closed at first but opens to dark cherry, ripe blackberries, rum, and a touch of flint. Pleasing texture with lush cassis, chocolate and coffee flavors. Balanced, elegant and fresh. This wine is youthful with a long life ahead. 90
Male: A very inviting nose of raspberry, mint, wild berry, and light mocha-coffee notes. Deep black fruit palate is graced by vanilla and high toned barrel notes. A touch of dill and intriguing touch of coconut show nicely on the back of the palate. Tannins are well-formed and showcase the interesting fruit and spice profile very nicely. Finishes with good length and balance. Well-made. 90
Pend d'Oreille Winery Inc 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Washington, $21.00 TEAL
389 cases produced
Female: Vibrant nose, meaty… roast beef and horseradish, peppermint, and tarragon. Meaty plum flavors on entry with tart cherry, milk chocolate, olive tapenade, licorice, and basil layered on the lovely palate. Great texture, acid, structure, and finish. 89
Male: Nicely evolved and mature aromatics showing classic Bordeaux varietal characteristics. Roasted meats, graphite, black fruit, cigar box, and a hint of eucalyptus. Palate is lean and inviting with precise placement of well developed yet still fresh black fruit and pomegranate. Light dusting of cocoa powder to the fruit profile lends another level of complexity. Balanced and alive on the finish. 92
Penman Springs Vineyard 2010 Penman Reserve Penman Springs Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $35.00
261 cases produced
Female: Spice and wood aromas open to reveal light black and red berry notes. Black cherry at the core of the palate surrounded by spice notes. Nice acids. 85
Male: Earthy and dusty at first but opens to aromas of poached figs and raisins with vanilla beans. Solid tannins and fruit extraction. Well-balanced wine showing layers of fresh blackcurrant, cedar, anise, coffee, and clove flavors. Balanced finish. Would be wonderful with the grilled steak. 89
Peterson 2011 Estate Bradford Mountain Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Dry Creek Valley, $39.00
475 cases produced
Female: Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, black raspberries, and a hint of mint. Lush black and red fruit on the palate. Yummy! 89
Male: Pleasant blackberry, oak and black pepper on the nose. Very well-made. Complex Cabernet showing coffee, vanilla, cedar, and licorice notes added to the core of blackberry fruit. Long elegant finish. 90
Prix Vineyards 2009 Reserve, MJT Block, Estate Bottled Hagafen Cellars, Estate Grown, MJT Block Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $70.00
100 cases produced
Female: Bright extracted blue and black fruit aromas of black cherry, plum, blueberry, cedar, and spice. Full-bodied. Lushly textured palate with solid acidity. Good length. 90
Male: Aromatics exude black fruit framed by barrel notes of toast, light vanilla, nutmeg and cedar. The richly styled palate connects nicely with the dense, jammy fruit and lush tannins. A long satisfying finish is accented by enough acidity to keep it all in perspective. 88
R&B Cellars 2009 Reserve/Lyric of the Vine Bingham Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $50.00 DUSTY ROSE
600 cases produced
Female: Very open, generous aromatics...a ripe bowl of berries (strawberry, cherry and raspberry), butter and jam with cinnamon back notes. Balanced mouth feel showing flavors of both youthful and aged Cabernet Sauvignon. Nice structure. Long finish. 90
Male: Beautifully evolved on the nose with well developed cola berry, cherry/black cherry, mint, clove, and mocha notes. Secondary notes of pipe tobacco and cedar box. A ripe fruit profile of dense black fruit, pomegranate, and wild berry. Tannins have a dusty character and do a nice job of holding all the rich fruit in place and helps keep the long finish in balance. 92
Redwood Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $7.99
Female: Caramel, boysenberry and rose aromas. Entry replicates the nose with raspberry and boysenberry on the mid-palate. Surprisingly light bodied based on expectations from the aromas. Tannins cling on the finish. A little sister wine… sweet and unassuming. 90
Male: Lively fruity nose with raspberry and strawberry dominant and are replicated on entry on the palate. Awesome baked blueberry pie notes join mid with new oak and dusty dried herbs. Chocolate, berry and oak on the finish of fine tannins. 89
Ridge Crest 2013 Certified Sustainable, LIVE and Salmon Safe White Bluffs Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, $13.99
1075 cases produced
Female: Mexican chocolate with cinnamon aromas greet you and rise from the glass. Soft tannins show off the black currant, cocoa and molasses flavors enhanced with cedar notes. Fruit, tannins and texture come together nicely. 88
Male: Nicely elevated aromas of black cherry and ripe raspberry are nicely framed by sweet vanilla notes and a hint of clove. There is a softness to the palate and that makes this a very approachable style highlighted by cherry and light raspberry. Balances nicely on the finish. 87
Roberts+Rogers Louer Family Vineyards 2012 Elhers Lane Louer Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
St. Helena AVA, $65.00
1500 cases produced
Female: Aromas of strawberry scones fresh out of the oven with low notes of cocoa. Red fruit on entry with back notes of black tea and a wash of acid. Nice! 90
Male: Sweet caramel, a hint of menthol, chocolate, toasted notes, and plum aromas are nicely layered and enticing. Very ripe palate shows bright red fruit and nice balance between fruit and spice notes. Soft tannins on the finish. 90
Roberts+Rogers Wines 2012 Los Posadas Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell Mountain AVA, $100.00
1000 cases produced
Female: Aromas of sweet blackberry jam, nutmeg, cola, and a wonderful hint of caramel. The palate is bold and full showing dark ripe fruit, cassis, a touch of smoke, and vanilla. Big tannins but well balanced presenting a smooth texture. 89
Male: Aromatics that are rich and sophisticated invite the senses with well developed black fruit, cassis, vanilla scented oak, and a nice touch of black licorice. Cherry kirsch back notes. Dense yet balanced on the palate with deep black fruit that leads to polished tannins that are in the early stages of being fully integrated. Finishes long with well placed acidity to keep all the flavors in balance. Will continue to develop nicely. 92
Rocca Family Vineyards 2012 Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Yountville, $85.00
410 cases produced
Female: Oaky and smoky black cherry aromas replicate on the palate. Vanilla and clove notes join in on the finish. "I want a grilled NY strip steak to go with this BIG wine!" 87
Male: Black cherry with a woody edge. Big palate reminiscent of fruitcake with heavy clove notes. Well balanced. 89
Rocca Family Vineyards 2012 Collinetta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, $90.00
300 cases produced
Female: Good definition and layering of spice elements led by blackberry fruit and hint of char form the aromatic. Black fruit, wild berry and loamy earth with a mineral component on the palate. Tannins are very evident on this wine but work their way nicely into a well structured finish. 87
Male: Allspice, leather, a hint of earth, and red berry with lighter orange peel notes on the nose. The palate has a solid core of rustic black cherry and dark red cherry. Finishes with a nice sense of balance and definition. 90
Rocca Family Vineyards 2012 Tesorina Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $160.00 BRONZE
100 cases produced
Female: Smokey aromatic profile with hints of tar and black pepper. Lush dark fruit flavors with good spice and cedar notes. Chewy with lots of tannins. Very firm structure. "Give this baby time!" 91
Male: Expressive notes of char, grilled meats and black fruit fill the nose. The dense core of black fruit and ripe red cherry is framed by substantial tannins that offer a nice framework for the depth of fruit on this wine. The finish is a work in progress here as there is a lot going on. Should develop very nicely in bottle over the next 2-3 years. 91
Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery 2010 Reserve Rodrigue Molyneaux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, $45.00
75 cases produced
Female: Mint dominates the nose...it's very inviting. Lovely blackberry and cedar join in upon aeration. Replicates on the palate with sour cherry fruit, a hint of greenness, nice tannins and bright acidity. 87
Male: Layered aromas of black pepper, bright candied fruit, lush black currant, cola, and a touch of eucalyptus with smoke and campfire notes. Perfume of vanilla and mixed black fruit show just before entering the palate. Dry on an entry then explodes with blackcurrant flavors. The palate is very juicy. 88
Santa Carolina 2012 Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon
Colchagua Valley, $20.00
4665 cases produced
Female: Rich earth, dried mushroom, green and red bell pepper aromas accent the dried red fruit core. Nice flavors on entry and mid-palate reflect the nose. "I like this wine, I wish the finish was longer." 87
Male: A very interesting nose that speaks of both Old and New World character. Ripe plum accented with aromas of bacon cooking in the skillet are distinctive. There's a nicely shaped fruit core of dried black fruits and black cherry. Accents of vanilla and subtle oak highlight the fruit nicely. Well balanced and appealing. 90
Santa Carolina 2013 Reserva Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Colchagua, $10.00
22865 cases produced
Female: Inviting aromatics of young red cherry and wild berry. Noted pleasant touch of cocoa and caramel. Palate is precise, an honest core of red fruit is enhanced with cola notes and lighter tannins. Well balanced with bright acidity. 86
Male: Spice, rhubarb, and lighter notes of ripe raspberry with a hint of green olive on the nose. Palate is simple and direct with a nice combination of black fruit and lighter spice notes. Wonderful acidity makes this an easy addition to food. 87
Singer Cellars 2012 the Song Mt.George Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, Napa, $42.00 LIGHT BLUE
118 cases produced
Female: Sweet dark cherry, currant, cassis, rhubarb, tea, and mineral aromas. Vibrant, lively palate with lovely fruit on entry showing bright cherry, cassis, spice, and a touch of smokiness. Great silky mouthfeel. Powerful mid-palate with mouthwatering acidity on the finish. Nicely balanced. Well-made wine! 95
Male: Distinctive floral notes accent a ripe core of black cherry and cassis with secondary notes of dried herbs and violets. Mouthfeel is nicely layered with well formed black fruit elements and soft barrel notes of spice and toast. Finish is graceful and refined with the right touch of bright acidity to pull it all together. 89
Singer Cellars 2011 the Song Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $35.00
50 cases produced
Female: Mushroom, damp earth and black currant aromas. Brambly on the palate with cigar box and an interesting smoky character. Toasted notes and blueberry pie flavors on the finish. 87
Male: Barnyard, currant, berry, and plum with drying spices and dusty herbs on the nose. Nice mouthfeel. Lush but elegant entry of fruit and spice with a hint of mushroom, forest floor and chocolate mid-palate. Lush but structured finish. 90
Singer Cellars 2010 the Song Brauning Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $35.00
82 cases produced
Female: Hint of spearmint and black currant on the nose replicates on the palate. Nice! 87
Male: Eucalyptus and menthol on the nose. Berries, plums and bell pepper combine with solid acid and firm tannins on the palate. Texture is lovely. This wine is young but will be superb in a couple of years. Ageworthy. 88
Soda Rock 2011 The General Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, $50.00
200 cases produced
Female: Softly perfumed and floral aromas at first notes open upon aeration to blackberry, tea, cedar, incense, bay leaf, and licorice. Predominantly sweet baked fruit on the palate with plum, leather, ginger, and chocolate graham cracker crust. Chocolatey tannins on the long pleasing finish. 90
Male: Cola berry, violets, toast, licorice and roasted olives work in unison to create a highly distinctive and inviting aromatic profile. There is a very solid core of raspberry, black cherry and ripe plum to the palate. Accents of clove and licorice work well with the diversity of fruit. Tannins have integrated very nicely with room to develop much further. An appealing wine which showcases the varietal with style and grace. 93
Sol Rouge Vineyards and Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Lake County, $32.00
250 cases produced
Female: Lavender aromas lead to tart dark cherry with lots of black pepper and black tea back notes. Big tannins and lots of acid on the finish. 85
Male: Nicely elevated fruit and spice aromatics. A robust wine with a corps of black fruit enhanced by chocolate notes. 88
Sol Rouge Vineyards and Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $75.00
150 cases produced
Female: Tart cherry/rhubarb aromas with hints of cigar box. The palate is lean and angular with nice red fruit accented by dill notes. Deft use of oak. Long lingering finish. 90
Male: A nicely restrained range of aromatics includes bright cherry, fresh raspberry and scented cedar. A well structured palate offering a combination of strawberry and black cherry with sage and a dusty minerality. Finish is precise and defined by prominent acidity. 88
Stella Monsi 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $50.00
25 cases produced
Female: Aged Cabernet Sauvignon aromatics at first with some ripe blackberries. On aeration, the nose opens revealing incense, red fruits and peppermint chocolates...Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. Soft and fleshy on the palate. Rich body and intense flavors. Nicely textured with raspberries and milk chocolate. Full structure with a chewy finish of sandalwood, black tea and sarsaparilla. 90
Male: Beautiful range of fully evolved aromatics that showcase black cherry jam, cassis, mocha, roasted herbs, cigar box, and touch of eucalyptus. A real treat. Palate replicates the fully developed elements of the nose with a more diverse range of black fruit to the core. Sophisticated and plush. Well built with tannins that provide definition to the fruit and spice. Can thoroughly enjoyed now. 92
Stella Monsi 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell Mountain, $90.00
25 cases produced
Female: Brioche...wonderfully yeasty aroma with black and red cherries. Yummy in the mouth with nice layers of fruit and spice. The spice keeps on giving on the looong finish. 91
Male: Char, red and black fruits, cocoa, and black olive aromas. The palate shows dark fruit, chocolate and big alcohol and tannins. You need a grilled steak with this Cab. 87
The Winery SF 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $45.00
300 cases produced
Female: Earth and savory black fruits combine with barrel elements and toast to create the aromatic. Dried red cherry with brown baking spice form the palate which is showing some nice length leading to a satisfying finish. 87
Male: Fragrant black fruit with nicely spiced black cherry lead the way on the nose. Roasted herbs, dried black cherries with currants and sage on the palate. Dusty tannins with a hint of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate extend the finish. 85
The Winery SF 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
North Coast, $24.99 RED
1000 cases produced
Female: Beautiful incense, raspberry perfume, peppercorns, olives, and black licorice arise from the glass. Beguiling mixture of balsam, black olives, leather, tobacco, dark cherry, and potpourri spice. "Like drinking Christmas!" Nicely aged. Strong structure with a lengthy finish. 91
Male: Cassis, raspberry, vanilla bean, and a hint of peppermint work together to form a delightful aromatic profile. Palate is still forming but there is plenty going on with bright black fruit, wild berry, cedar, mocha notes, and licorice. Finishes with nice length and enough well placed acidity to keep it all in balance. Should continue to develop very nicely in coming months and years ahead. 92
Timark Wines 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
St Helena, $65.00
25 cases produced
Female: The nose is distinctly Cabernet Sauvignon...vanilla, cocoa powder, mint, floral, dark rich fruit, sweet black cherry with pepper and herbal complements. Dark Bing cherry flavors complemented by pepper and minerals. Delicious fruit on the palate. Nice smooth mouthfeel. Great mid-palate and finish. Chalky texture. Nicely integrated. Lovely acidity. 91
Male: Aromatics of black cherry with barrel notes accented by dried herbs and floral notes offer up a distinct Old World charm. Palate replicates nicely from aromatics with accent on the black cherry core framed by brown spice, leather and toast. Medium tannins accent the generous finish. 88
Triumph Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley, $30.00
1000 cases produced
Female: Rich, tart dark cherry with baking spices and milk chocolate covered dark cherry aromas. Sweet dark fruit flavors lead the lush palate, wrapped in spice and caramel notes. Balanced with a chalky finish. 90
Male: Notes of mocha and black cherry with lighter red fruit combine with prominent barrel notes of toast, vanilla and spice to define the aromatic. Nice length on the palate showcasing ripe black fruit, currant, and plum. Tannins linger on the finish with a cocoa like dusting and add to enjoyment. 87
Turning Leaf Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $7.99
Female: Ripe plum with fresh picked strawberry combine on the nose. Lighter spice notes. Palate is simple and direct as the strawberry creates a nice core with lighter tannins and fresh acidity. 84
Male: A pleasing nose that combines scented vanilla oak with ripe black fruit. Some ripe blueberry is present as well. Palate shows young strawberry that moves nicely across your palate and lingers just long enough. The blueberry aromatic replicates on the palate. A young wine meant to be enjoyed in its youth. Fun burger wine or in a picnic basket. 86
Venteux Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $48.00
376 cases produced
Female: Black raspberry on the nose and in the mouth. Black pepper and tar notes join on the finish. Nicely balanced wine. Nice acid. 88
Male: Blackberry aromas. Nice blackberry fruit on the palate with some lovely cherry notes. Lots of tannin on the finish. 86
Venteux Vineyards 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, $68.00
141 cases produced
Female: Really lovely Cab! Medium bodied, smooth texture, great balance. Bright Bing cherry, dried cherry, dark plum, and blackberry jam aromas replicate on the palate. Vanilla the joins in on the long finish. 90
Male: Nicely developed aromatic profile that offers up a wonderful combination of ripe plum, Bing cherry, herbs de Provence, and cedar box. The palate is a nice extension of the aromatics with the same solid core of plum with black cherry nicely accented by toast, vanilla, cassis, and brown baking spice. Firm tannins balance nicely against the depth of fruit and meld nicely with bright acidity to create a precise and balanced finish. 91
Westerly Wines 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, $60.00
801 cases produced
Female: Aromas of cedar, cherries, blood orange, and pomegranate open to intense cigar box, cedar, thyme, and plum flavors. Big tannic structure with a lengthy finish. 88
Male: Nicely elevated aromatic profile displaying deft use of barrels. Black cherry, wild berry, and boysenberry framed by cedar and roasted herbs. Palate is built around a core of ripe plum and black cherry. Accents of toast and mint. There's muscle to the tannin structure and they are integrating nicely into the well built framework. Everything heading in the right direction. Long and satisfying. 91
Xanadu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Margaret River, $30.00 WEDGEWOOD
5000 cases produced
Female: Lush and bright. "OMG Bing cherries! The shear dark color of this wine excites me!" Fresh and fruity on the nose with raspberry, caramel, creamy cassis and hints of Eucalyptus. The nose and palate are a little dusty but bright at the same time. Nicely balanced with lovely acidity. 91
Male: Offering well developed aromatics of ripe cherry with lighter black fruit tones combining with subtle spice, green olive, and light berry jam. Palate is firm with well placed dusty tannins that are integrating nicely into the framework of nicely layered black fruit, dried herbs, and baking spice. A finish is long and satisfying with enough acidity to keep it all in perspective. 89
top

Cabernet Franc

3 Steves Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc
Cienega Valley, $44.95
128 cases produced
Female: Lovely perfumed nose...very appealing! Raspberry and strawberry aromas. Lively raspberry ganache with pretty white pepper, nutmeg and ginger accents. Notes of sandalwood on the lengthy, elegant finish. 92
Male: Fresh strawberries combine with toast and vanilla on the nose. There are noted floral notes and a hint of cigar box as well. Nicely understated on the palate with the right balance of lively black fruit and ripe cherry with dusty tannins making for a very pleasing experience. Well-made and stylish. 89
AuburnJames 2010 Cabernet Franc
North Coast, $48.00
146 cases produced
Female: Dried herbs, sweet black fruit and a hint of smoke on the nose. A delicate balance of black fruit and wild berry with a touch of sour cherry combine nicely with well placed tannins on the palate. Finishes with style and persistence. 90
Male: Black currant, wild berry, cut flowers, and a hint of dill on the nose offer up an interesting profile. Black fruit and soft tannins broaden out nicely across the generous palate. Lighter notes of chocolate as well. Finishes with good precision. 89
Barboursville Vineyards 2012 Reserve Cabernet Franc
Virginia, $24.99
Female: Violets and lighter black fruit combine with an earthen minerality on the nose. Fresh mountain breezes. Lovely cherry and cranberry fruit core with a lively tartness that works well with the nicely evolving tannins. 90
Male: A very inviting nose of wild strawberry and fresh picked blueberry add a nice elegance to the aromatic. Noted earth and light barnyard. The wild strawberry transfers nicely to the palate where it combines dried cranberry and brown baking spice. Fresh and alive on the finish. There's a nice Old World feel to this well crafted offering. 89
Buttonwood Grove 2012 Cabernet Franc
Finger Lakes, $16.99
150 cases produced
Female: Violets, black cherry, boysenberry, cigar box, dried star anise, and touch of wax on the nose. The palate is clean and straightforward with dark opulent fruit, some milk chocolate, cherries, and green pepper. Tannins linger on the finish. Light bodied Cabernet Franc. "I like! 90
Male: Lush nose showing dusty cassis and plum, some tar and anise. Interesting palate, fine tannins and light, red berry. Smooth, but lean finish. 88
Campana Ranch 2012 Cabernet Franc
Sonoma County, $49.00
120 cases produced
Female: Gorgeous nose of raspberry jam, violets, light floral perfume, and Dutch chocolate cake. Lovely acid and silky texture. Pure raspberry and toffee with hints of coffee. Generous tannins on the finish. Classy! 90
Male: An inviting nose showcases rose petals, light cherry, fresh raspberry with hints of mint and vanilla. Nice. Palate is nicely layered with cherry and raspberry fruit framed by soft yet supportive tannins. Finishes long and fresh. A graceful and stylish wine. 89
Cliff Creek Cellars 2009 Sams Valley Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Southern Oregon/Rogue Valley, $28.00
197 cases produced
Female: Black raspberry and blueberry pie aromas replicate on the lush palate. Juicy and delicious. 89
Male: Violet aromas. Black and blue fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Black pepper surrounds the core. Nice wine. 87
Deerfield 2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc
Sonoma Valley, $65.00
193 cases produced
Female: Leather and earth combine with strawberry and spiced blueberry to form the core of the aromatic. Spice and dried herbs with consistent black fruit of currant and black cherry form an attractive palate that finishes with some nice Old World charm including black olives. 89
Male: Baked strawberry pie filling with back notes of red cherry combine with lighter wild berry on the nose. Secondary notes of dried herbs and light black pepper. Palate is nicely framed by black fruit and barrel notes of brown baking spice. Tannins are integrating nicely into the finish. 87
Lucas & Lewellen 2011 Estate Vineyards Valley View Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Santa Barbara County, $26.00
373 cases produced
Female: Wild berry and light black cherry with earth and light brown spice carry the nose. Hints of dill and cracked peppercorn join in. Palate is built around a nice balance of fruit and barrel notes. Finishes bright and lively. 88
Male: Black currant and bright red fruit with a touch of barnyard and earth on the nose. Toasted herbs, baking spice and black cherry carve out a lively palate. Tannins carry the palate and are evolving nicely into the total picture. 90
Nottingham Cellars 2012 Ghielmetti Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Livermore Valley, $50.00
100 cases produced
Female: Vanilla and spiced cherry pie filling with back notes of blueberry cobbler and warm vanilla toast on the nose. Compelling notes of cigar box and mint as well. Much of what is found in the nose replicates nicely on an attractive palate. Bracing acidity on the finish. 90
Male: Wild blueberry and lighter cherry combine with a fun cotton candy element on the nose. Palate is nicely layered with black fruit and red fruit elements and lighter spiced cherry notes. Lots of nice spice and acidity on the lively finish. 88
Peterson 2010 Agraria/Big Barn Red Bradford Mountain Estate Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Dry Creek Valley, $60.00 WHITE
100 cases produced
Female: A complex and layered wine with earthy, dark cherry tobacco, generous plush black fruit, pine forest elements, juniper berries, and lively menthol aromas that replicate on the palate with plentiful acid, chalky tannins and many miles to go before it reaches its cabin in the woods. There is a tremendous amount of life left in this wine. Enjoy for many years to come. 89
Male: Rustic and very distinctive on the nose with a nice balance of smoke, earth, black fruit and ripe cherry all framed by dried herbs and soft barrel notes. Youthful black fruit core on the palate with lighter tones of wild blueberry and sage. Persistent tannins provide a nice backdrop to all that is happening on the fruit side of this wine. Complex and nicely balanced. 92
Saviez Vineyards 2009 Single Vineyard - Estate Grown Calistoga Cabernet Franc
Napa Valley, $65.00
125 cases produced
Female: Pure black raspberry jam intensely summer ripe aromas arise from the glass. Deep blackberry pie flavors with meaty notes, rye and butter. The palate is generously textured...like wide wale corduroy. Sweet chocolate frosting on the finish. YUM! 93
Male: Toasted barrel notes in nice balance with warm cherry pie and vanilla notes highlight an attractive range of aromas. A pronounced fruit core on the palate offers red and black cherries which lingers on the mid palate nicely. Barrel notes of toast and vanilla with light mocha combine with graceful tannins on the finish. 92
Soda Rock 2011 Reserve Warm Springs Ranch Cabernet Franc
Dry Creek Valley, $45.00
193 cases produced
Female: A sophisticated and stylish wine with closely knit red fruit, blueberry and barrel spice on the nose. Flavors are nicely distinctive and tell a nice story of the Bordeaux origins of this wine. Black fruit and barrel notes with supporting tannins. Should evolve further very nicely. 90
Male: Tightly woven aromatic of earthy black cherry and toasted herbs with a nice hint of fresh blueberry. Palate is well formed and tight with black cherry and huckleberry fruit providing strong definition of varietal character. Tannins are young and robust but showing willingness to meld nicely with the fruit character the palate. Lots of acidity. 89
Sol Rouge Vineyards and Winery 2011 Cabernet Franc
Lake County, $32.00 DENIM
150 cases produced
Female: The nose is delicate at first with red berries, black licorice and a touch of oak but then opens upon aeration to reveal ripe plums, apple pie, incense, and cedar aromatics. Great texture. Nice tannins. Dark cherry tobacco and gingersnap flavors with hints of horehound and chocolate mint. 90
Male: A charming ruby color. A complex range of aromatics are very inviting to the senses and include leather, raspberry, fresh blueberry, hints of both white and black pepper, and cassis. All of the above replicates precisely and in balance on the palate with bright cherry and warm blackberry on the graceful and well developed finish. A very nice wine that presents lots of options for food pairings. 92
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Cabernet Blend and Meritage

AuburnJames 2010 Meritage Artist Series Cabernet Blend
Napa Valley, $95.00
380 cases produced
Female: Peppercorn and black fruit nose with a nice touch of earthiness. Lots of classic Bordeaux flavors on the well defined palate. Finishes with nicely balanced acids and a slight aftertaste of spice and barrel notes. 90
Male: Delightful aromatic speaking of multiple Bordeaux varietals in this wine. Black fruit abounds with spice, cocoa, and elevated floral notes. Great palate texture that is both graceful and alive. Racy acidity on the finish. 91
AuburnJames 2010 SPEEDSTER Cabernet Blend
North Coast, $56.00 ORANGE
123 cases produced
Female: Deep dark fruit. Brambly nose of dusty berries, cherries and pronounced pepper notes. Powerful wine! The aromas replicate and emerge stronger on the palate. Dark and earthy with firm but balanced tannins. "Smooth as a baby's bottom." 91
Male: Aromas of concentrated black berry and cassis with secondary notes of ripe plum create an attractive aromatic to this wine. Lovely depth of black fruit with well placed barrel and spice notes on the palate. Finish is rich yet stays nicely focused and in balance. A nicely done expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. 93
Calcareous Vineyard 2011 Lloyd Cabernet Blend
Paso Robles, $50.00 PERIWINKLE
480 cases produced
Female: Lovely clean nose of rich cherry, raspberry, plum, currants and a hint of black pepper. The lush forward fruit on the palate is perfectly balanced with good acidity, soft tannins and lovely textural attributes. Lively, lovely and long-lasting finish… I could continue to enjoy this for hours! 94
Male: Delightful and inviting aromatics showing licorice, black cherry, and spice notes. Palate offers nicely integrated black fruit with plum and mocha. A long finish adds to this wines elegance. 93
Campana Ranch 2012 Cabernet Blend
Sonoma County, $29.00 TURQUOISE
120 cases produced
Female: Spicy vanilla and currant...a soft, very pleasant and fresh nose. Cherry comes through after the wine opens up a bit along with some plum notes. The palate replicates the aromas. Smooth and balanced with a lovely finish. 96
Male: A very pleasing aromatic marries cherry and boysenberry with cola and vanilla notes. The palate captures many of the same aromatic elements with the cherry and spice mix highlighted. Well placed acidity and a nice spice component add to the finish and the overall enjoyment. 90
Clautiere Vineyard 2011 Estate BDX Clautiere Cabernet Blend
Paso Robles, $39.00 BURGUNDY
200 cases produced
Female: Valentine Day chocolate in a glass. Yummy cocoa and caramel aromas. Vibrant palate with bright cherry and rhubarb notes with a hint of citrus. Chocolate covered fruit and nuts mid to late. Nice round finish. 93
Male: Dramatic floral, nutmeg, and black pepper complement the nose with secondary tones of leather and licorice. There is a delicate balance to the palate showcasing raspberry, cherry and kirsch. The finish works well on this wine which is accented by plenty of nice acidity that pulls it all together. 90
Cliff Creek Cellars 2009 Claret Sams Valley Vineyard
Southern Oregon/Rogue Valley, $25.00
771 cases produced
Female: Initially the nose is very subtle with cocoa dust and a hint of oak in the background, then sweet cherry and cassis notes with coffee complements reveal themselves. The palate leads with soft blackberry and raspberry flavors showing hints of cedar and spice, then velvety black cherry and plums join in. Firm tannin structure. Round mouthfeel. Nice acidity on the finish. 90
Male: A restrained nose of focused black fruit and light cherry, dried herbs, and leather provide a distinctive "Bordeaux" feel to this wine. Palate follows suit with the aromatic with wild berry, anise and dusty oak that are focused and bright. The finish offers up an earthy minerality. 88
Ecluse Wines 2012 Ensemble Cabernet Blend
Paso Robles, $42.00 MAGENTA
425 cases produced
Female: Sultry and alluring aromatic profile. Lush dark fruit with exotic spice notes. Plum and raspberry fruit. Good mouthfeel. Well integrated. Soft tannins. Lovely finish. 91
Male: An expressive combination of bright cherry and lighter toned black fruit accented by dried flowers and herbs and a touch of vanilla. Palate offers up nicely developed and proportioned black fruit and pomegranate. Finish is a work in progress with tannins that remain a bit edgy at the moment but all heading in the right direction for the long haul. A nice ensemble of Cabernet elements. 91
Field Stone Winery 2012 Convivio Red Cabernet Blend
Alexander Valley, $12.99
1492 cases produced
Female: Sweet vanilla on the nose with dark berry as it opens. A powdery sweet element draws me in. The black currant flavor is subdued while the vanilla, black tea and licorice come through. The tannins outdo the acidity and cling but time will tame the tannins. For now, enjoy with grilled steak to pair with the tannins. 89
Male: Quite toasty up front showing the clear oak influence, driving the wine. Black cherries on the palate with a fair amount of tannins. Extremely chewy with tons of grip. Very young, definitely needs time but is quite age worthy. 87
Galante Vineyards 2011 Estate Rancho Galante Cabernet Blend
Carmel Valley, $30.00
1200 cases produced
Female: Soft herbal and floral notes surround black cherry and cranberry fruit aromas. The palate reflects the nose. Vibrant fruit on entry. A chalky element joins mid-to-late palate. Dusty tannic structure, yet the finish is mouthwatering. 90
Male: Aromatics are highlighted by barrel notes combined with light black fruit and dried herbs and flowers. Palate is tightly formed with black fruit framed by sage, fig, and plum. Tannins are in early stage of development and will add to the finish nicely once fully integrated. Needs time. 88
J. Rickards 2012 Estate Five Sisters Blend Cabernet Blend
Alexander Valley, $38.00
530 cases produced
Female: Lovely ripe cherry aromas. Lush cherry on entry with black cherry mid-palate. Nice acidity on the long finish. 88
Male: Elevated and perfumed ripe cherry and black cherry aromatics. Layered black fruit mid-palate. Nice finish. 87
Lucas & Lewellen 2011 Estate Vineyards Valley View Vineyard Cabernet Blend
Santa Barbara County, $27.00
752 cases produced
Female: Aromas of olives, herbs and raspberry. Black cherry flavors on entry with green olive back notes. Light strawberry joins the nice tannins on the finish. 87
Male: The nose is very floral and dusty at first and then opens to red berry, dry herbs, and white spice. Deep dark cassis on entry. Chocolate joins in mid-palate. Very balanced flavors. Finish is drying and a bit dusty with good fruit and herbs on the edges. 90
Muscardini Cellars 2012 Rancho Salina Cabernet Blend
Sonoma Valley, $60.00
376 cases produced
Female: Mocha and cocoa on the nose with peppermint notes. Smells delicious like a York Peppermint Patty. What's presented on the nose carries onto the palate. Blackberry, black raspberry, black currant, and plum join in with hints of tea and spice and the wine opens to reveal layers of spice, complementary oak notes and a finishes with a bit of tar. "I could drink this all day." 91
Male: Attractive aromas of smoke, cranberry and vanilla spice with a back drop of earth and flint. Palate does a nice job of expressing a balanced combination of black fruit, light raspberry, and hints of licorice and cedar. While still evolving, this wine presents itself very nicely for the future. 93
Nottingham Cellars 2012 Supremacy Cabernet Blend
Livermore Valley, $75.00 GREEN
300 cases produced
Female: Juicy red fruit, sweet blueberry and plum aromas with earthy back notes displaying a hint of tar and minerality. The palate is full bodied with firm tannins, soft acidity and a chalky finish. A youthful wine that will age gracefully. 89
Male: Nose of ripe red fruit with accents of black pepper and leather. A lush palate showcases black cherry and anise with tannins that support the dense fruit profile. Balanced and alive on the finish. 96
Penman Springs Vineyard 2011 Artisan Cuvee Penman Springs Vineyard Meritage
Paso Robles, $28.00 PEACH
258 cases produced
Female: Lovely black currant nose at first with sweet baked fruit aromas enhanced with dried herbs and spice notes joining on aeration. The palate is lean and earthy with hints of black tea and lavender notes at first but opens to pretty fruit, nice length and texture. "Everyone will love this wine." Great finish with strong fruit mid-palate. 93
Male: Barrel notes of French oak and nutmeg highlight the nose with secondary notes of ripe plum and cedar. Palate is tightly formed with expressive black fruit still integrating into the firm tannins. Palate shows an attractive complexity as it continues to evolve in bottle. A lingering finish that is both bright and fresh. 89
Singer Cellars 2012 B-sharp Cabernet Blend
Napa Valley, $20.00
114 cases produced
Female: Cherry and a touch of vanilla on the nose. Nice layers of fruit and spice on the palate. The oak is a bit prickly now but will he felt nicely. 88
Male: Black currant, and sweet brown spice with oak barrel notes opens to dark cherry and a bit of earthiness on the nose. A nicely structured palate with bright red and black fruit on the palate with juicy black fruit notes in the background. Tannins are still developing as the finish lingers nicely. 89
Westerly Wines 2011 Cabernet Blend
Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, $75.00 LILAC
275 cases produced
Female: Lush fruit forward nose of blackberry, plum, rhubarb, and tons of pepper. Super juicy fruit notes lead the palate and are followed by hints of cedar and spice. Mouth filling. Lovely silky and long-lasting finish. 89
Male: Nicely expressive in the nose with highlights of black cherry, nutmeg, a touch of alluring licorice. Palate is dense and nicely layered with ripe plum and dark cherry notes yet still staying in balance. Finish is long and satisfying and while dense there is enough acidity to carry the weight. 91
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