Retailer Wine Selections

The Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel recommends a lineup of top cabernet sauvignons and cabernet blends.

For this issue, we asked members of the National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend their favorite cabernet sauvignons and cabernet blends. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’€™s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’€™re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Richard Brandes at 212-353-3832, or email him at rbrandes@m2media360.com.

FIVE STARS

(98) Hundred Acre Kayli Morgan Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Dark plum colors with aromas of cassis and cocoa; velvety smooth and luscious with long, lingering sweet tannins; very limited, but absolutely amazing. ($329)

(97) Robert Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Nearly opaque in the glass, with the purple edges revealing the youth of the wine; the nose is filled with scents of darker fruits, blackberry and currant, with hints of spice and a touch of coffee; the mouth has massive quantities of dark berry fruits, like the nose, but with layers of textures and flavors; the rich mouthfeel demonstrates the balance between fruit and alcohol; the finish is quite long and elegant to the end; a fitting tribute to the legacy of one of Napa Valley’€™s wine pioneers. ($135)

(97) Trivium Lles Ivrettes Vineyard Napa Valley-St Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). This is the collaberation of Jack Stewart (formerly 25 years as winemaker at Silverado), Stu Harrison (of OPUS One and now Continuoum fame) and Doug Wight (Llewelling Vineyard); huge fruit, exploding palate; an extraordinary wine. ($60)

(96) Frog’€™s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2007 (California). Fragrant nose of black fruit and fresh herbs with intense flavors of cassis, plum and currant; a classic Rutherford cabernet sauvignon. ($45)

(95) Etude Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). A deep, dark ruby in the glass, with hints of purple; deep and dark nose, with suggestions of black tree and bush fruits, followed by elegant high-toned spices; on the palate, the wine opens up to more dark fruit notes, hints of bright spiciness and balanced tannins; the long finish reveals lingering notes of fruit and spice. ($100)

(95) Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Aroma of red fruits; currants, plum, black cherry; nice tannins; long finish. ($90)

(95) Nickel & Nickel Branding Iron Single Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Big, rich and agreeable; lush fruit, soft tannins and a finish that goes on and on. ($90)

(95) Summers Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). Well focused and harmonious; wonderful, rich and flavorful with a solid core of black cherry, blackberry, anise and plum; deeply concentrated with a lengthy finish that is perfectly balanced with the fruit flavors, spice and tannins. ($45)

(95) Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Classic Napa cabernet sauvignon with dark fruit flavors, hints of cedar and toasty oak with blueberry and currant flavors. ($45)

(94) ZD Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). This big and powerful cabernet sauvignon from Napa exhibits aromas of blackberry, cassis, and tobacco followed by intense ripe blackberry, plum, delicate oak with fabulous balance and finesse on the palate; the finish is silky smooth and lingers into the next course; pair with a grilled Porterhouse steak. ($50)

(94) Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Almost opaque in color, with a deeply scented bouquet; in the mouth, the wine is very reminiscent of a grand cru Bordeaux with its elegance and finesse; layer upon layer of flavors and a finish that is wonderful now; it can only improve with time. ($37)

(94) Erna Schein Jersey Boy Meritage 2007 (California). Cassis nose; plum, cherry and chocolate flavors; fairly substantial tannins; long finish. ($70)

(94) Martin Ray Napa-Sonoma-Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). From one of the first California 100% varietal producers; elegant, classy, with hints of lilac and roses leading to cassis and blueberry on the palate with supple tannins. ($23)

(94) Tenuta dell’€™ Ornellaia: Ornellaia 2003 (Italy). From Bolgheri, Italy, this is a magnificent wine from a scorching hot vintage; cabernet sauvignon-based Bordeaux blend; the nose has pretty cherry with a soft loamy structure; the palate has well defined fruit showing some pure, almost sweet cherry; complexity with dry spices; with all the ripeness, still an elegant wine. ($160)

(93) Newton Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Nearly impossible to see through, the color is a brilliant ruby, with plenty of purple in the mix; on the nose, the black fruit notes are accented with touches of coffee and a background toastiness on the palate, great quantities of dark fruit, and a solid edge of tannins; accessible now, it also has great aging potential. ($60)

(93) Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Maipo, Chile). Concha y Toro has been recognized as a winery that produces an amazing amount of volume quality-driven wines; the Don Melchor is their effort to showcase the brilliance of a single vineyard offering; the Punte Alto Vineyard allows the cabernet for this wine to develop into their full varietal character through the wonderful microclimate and incredible soil composition; this wine has competed with the best cabernets in the world and has bested them for years. ($56)

(93) Decoy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). A new addition to the Duckhorn family of wines; full and rich cabernet sauvignon; wonderful structure filled with an abundance of berry and currant. ($22)

(93) Spelletich Cellars Napa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California). Big and rich with a nose full of cinnamon and cherries; the cinnamon continues to the palate and is accompanied by Bing cherries, coffee and vanilla; a hint of cedar in the finish with fine, ripe and sweet tannins. ($28)

(93) Hendry Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California). This big and full-bodied cabernet sauvignon is packed with aromas of cocoa, blackberries, and dark tea with a well-balanced palate of ripe blackberry, plum and hints of oak; it finishes long and powerfully; pair with a beautiful cut of sirloin grilled and seasoned well. ($50)

(93) Pi del Nord Pinord Penedes Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Spain). Aromas of cured meat, cassis, Serrano ham, cedar, fig cake, graphite and pencil shavings; on the mouth, it has fresh cherries; confit orange rind, minty notes, rosemary and chorizo, which are lifted by a lively acidity and soft tannins with a mineral ìsaltyà finish that has an Umami character with good structure ($45)

(93) Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Washington State). The essence of Walla Walla; no expense spared to make the best possible wines from their vineyards; dark and fruit laced, with mocha and a bit of spice; a gorgeous wine that has excellent potential in the cellar, if you can resist drinking it now. ($65)

(93) Cobblestone Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California). This is an impressive showing from the rising star winemaker Sam Baxter; full-bodied and rich in moderate tannins; layered on the palate with licorice and ripe dark fruits of blackberries and cassis. ($30)

(93) Angeline Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). Rich and robust with up-front black fruit aromas and flavors followed by soft tannins and a hint of Alexander Valley terroir. ($15)

(92) Amici Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Winemaker Joel Aiken’€™s first vintage with Amici Cellars coupled with a fantastic vintage from Napa has created a lush and aromatic wine; balanced rich flavors of cocoa and spice layered over dark mountain berry fruit notes; firm tannins give this wine structure and focus. ($30)

(92) Powers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Washington State). A lovely ruby-colored wine, which shows dark fruit on the nose and cherry, plum and cassis on the palate; nicely balanced with sweet, supple tannins; sourced from the famous Champoux Vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills; beautiful now and will continue to evolve for several more years. ($25)

(92) Jackson Hills Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). The bouquet is a bit subtle, but is definitely no wallflower, as oak and spice notes meld with ripe black cherry, cassis and some undertones of earth; full and expansive on the palate, it has excellent balance between ripe dark fruit flavors, tannin and acidity, and its medium-full body gives everything nice proportion. ($39)

(92) Roth Estate Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Dark fruit in the nose followed by a hint of plum and spice; in the mouth, a rich core of dark cherry, blackberry, blueberry and cassis; great depth, richness and balance with a touch of chocolate and oak on the finish. ($35)

(92) Saddleback Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (California). The ‘€œKing of Cabernet’€ strikes again; Nils Venge continues to make great cabernets; though it is six years old, it still has loads of tannin and ripe fruit and lingers forever on the tongue. ($55)

(92) Benessere Phenomenon Napa Valley 2005 (California). A Napa Valley Super Tuscan; primarily cabernet sauvignon with sangiovese, this is the closest yet to real Super Tuscans; kind of austere, with a big berry wallop at the end of the palate. ($73)

(92) Gordon Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Washington State). Raspberry and currants rush to the front with notes of coffee; the tannins are ripe and blend perfectly into the long satisfying finish. ($20)

(92) Justin Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). This is a big earthy, chewy cabernet accented by blackberry and cinnamon flavors; it finishes with bright cherries; the oak treatment is 40% new barrels and 60% used. ($26)

FOUR STARS

(91) Montagna Tre Vigneti Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Bob Long’€™s new winery on Pritchard Hill has hit the ground running; dark cherries and cassis, with hints of anise, are at the forefront with a subtle earthiness, chewy tannins and a long solid finish. ($50)

(91) Uppercut Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Dark purple, this is slightly earthy in the nose at first, followed by cocoa, cola nut and peppery spice notes that overly rich black fruit aromas; medium bodied and very well balanced, it has a tasty mix of ripe black cherry, red cherry and plum, and the spice notes, though much more subtle, still maintain a presence. ($20)

(91) Joseph Carr Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Don’€™t cellar; just drink now; a smooth and user-friendly rich, ripe California cab; smells good and tastes even better; black cherry and cassis, with easy tannins. ($19)

(91) Napa Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Dark purple, the bouquet is a bit restrained, but there are undeniable notes of spice and a decent amount of fruit aromas; excellent balance and a very good fruit presence on the palate, which displays good depth and delineation. ($20)

(91) Burgess Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). One of the ‘€œold time’€ Napa estates we tend to forget about; lots of terroir with well balanced fruit and oak; classic Napa Valley cabernet. ($38)

(91) Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Washington State). On the nose, you find a bouquet of raspberry, cocoa and leather; flavors of black cherry, blackberry and chocolate; the finish has firm, ripe tannins and notes of tart cherries, red currants and toasty oak. ($30)

(91) Bianchi Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Hints of ripe berries and herbs on the nose lead to flavors of dark fruit, vanilla and a hint of oak; great balance and finish; terrific value. ($20)

(91) Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008 (Colchagua Valley, Chile). After control of the Los Vascos winery was handed to the famous Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) of Bordeaux, they used their longstanding traditional methods of winemaking combined with their unbelievable resources to highlight the true sense of terroir in Chile; this wine shows the influence of Old World Bordeaux refinement and elegance while adhering to Chile’€™s unique terroir, which provides interesting flavors and complexity to the wine. ($14.50)

(91) Huarpe Cabernet/Merlot 2007 (Argentina). Smooth and medium bodied red loaded with ripe dark fruit and balanced tannin; great with any red meat. ($14)

(91) Alterra Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). Juicy, mouth-filling flavors of currant, plum and vanilla with hints of earth, ripe and inviting; there’€™s enough tannin, but not harsh; asolutely delicious, especially at the price. ($15)

(91) Courtney Benham Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Intense, focused, rich and spicy, with incredibly fruity flavors; the cherry, currant and oak flavors blend together well and good chocolate notes emerge on the finish. ($20)

(91) Avignonesi Rosso 2007 (Italy). A blend of 40% prugnolo, 30% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot; ripe cherries, forest floor, baked meat pie and nutmeg; on the mouth, it shows bright acidity with cherries, plums and mushroom notes; the finish is earthy with lively acidity and medium length. ($14)

(91) Hogue Wahluke Slope Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Washington State). This full-bodied cabernet sauvignon is from the Fries Vineyards, which lies on the south-facing side of the Wahluke Slope in Eastern Washington; on the front palate it is dense, while at the same time it’€™s soft and supple with well-integrated tannins; has classic cassis and blackberry flavors. ($25)

(91) Chappellet Winery Mountain Cuvee Napa Valley 2008 (California). This wine is a blend of 52% cabernet sauvignon, 43% merlot, 3% petit verdot, 1% malbec and 1% cabernet franc; a bouquet of cassis, currants, cacao, tobacco leaves, black cherries and berries, spice box and vanilla bean; on the palate, it shows currants, anise, tobacco and chocolate, and medium acidity that evokes mixed berries with structured tannins; a pleasant, delicious finish. ($30)

(91) Obsidian Ridge Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). Heady aromas of blackberry, creme de cassis, vanilla and blueberry pie; a plush palate delivers blue and black fruits becoming creamy on the mid-palate with notes of ganache. ($25)

(91) Wild Oak by St. Francis Winery Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California). Shows an intense red ruby color; nose of cassis, figs, pine tree notes, vanilla and candied cherries; on the palate it is dry and full, ‘€œmeaty’€ with white pepper, pine tree oil and minerality; tannins feel ‘€œalive,’€ giving the wine structure and length. ($25)

(90) C & B Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). A smooth, rich, medium-bodied red with lush black fruit flavors nicely balanced by vanilla notes; excellent value. ($20)

(90) Chalone Vineyard Monterey County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). The nose is reminiscent of crushed berries and cranberry preserves; the palate is spicy but pleasing with fruity flavors of maraschino cherries and cherry cola; the finish is medium bodied and soft with just a touch of oak. ($13)

(90) Bennett Lane Turn Four Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). One of the best quality/price cabernets on the market; big, bold and bright, with background tannins; produced for immediate drinking. ($20)

(90) St Francis Sonoma County Claret 2007 (California). This well-made, deftly crafted wine has superb upfront fruit, with more fruit tannins than wood tannins; exhibits superb depth and length of flavor and a finish that is sure to please even the most finicky of palates. ($20)

(90) William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Bench Blend 2006 (California). Dark, rich purple color and a bouquet that is a bit subdued, but undeniably complex, as subtle hints of dark fruit, oak spice, tea and mocha all drift about; smooth and supple on the palate yet with a firm grip of tannin that provides some sharpness, bringing focus to the ripe black fruit flavors; needs a little time to rein in those tannins, but should be great. ($39)

(90) Antiyal Red Blend 2007 (Maipo Valley, Chile). A blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and carmenere, the 2007 Red Blend combines a unique approach to winemaking with outstanding sourcing of fruit to produce one of the best wines in South America. ($45.50)

(90) Sean Minor Four Bears Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Elegant yet complex with substantial upfront fruits of blackberry, blueberry, cherry and currant; the middle is full, leading to a finish that lingers and which offers a nice hint of cedar and spice. ($17)

(90) Sterling Vintner’€™s Collection Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). A pleasant surprise, better and more complex than expected; loads of lovely varietal character; big, lush fruit flavors that coat the palate and linger on the finish; a good value. ($15)

(90) Harbor Front Monetery Cabernt Sauvignon 2009 (California). Monterey’€™s long growing season allows for development of complex and rich fruit aromatics with luscious mouthfeels in this wine; hints of chocolate and cassis fill the palate, with layers of ripe black cherries and plum; moderate tannins and good balance; a top value. ($9)

(90) Daglia Canyon Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). A big, balanced oaky wine with rich tannins; ripe berry and cherry notes combine with classic Rutherford dust; elegant and fruit forward; approachable now. ($24)

(90) Annabella Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). This medium-bodied cabernet sauvignon has great aromas of black cherry and current followed by a palate full of rich black fruit and subtle oak; great paired with simple dishes involving beef or leg of lamb. ($13)

(90) Sanctuary Usibelly Vineyard Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). Notes of green pepper, eucalyptus minty tones, cedar and vanilla aromas; on the palate, it shows round, with notes of blueberries, black cherries, cassis, mint, licorice and lavender; tannins are well integrated and mature; it finishes dry. ($25)

(90) Simi Landslide Vineyard Anderson Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). Deep ruby color with a bright garnet edge; fruit flavors and tannins are tight when first poured, but once the wine opens up, there are nice red cherry and strawberry flavors with a slight smokiness on the finish. ($32)

(90) Cruz Alta Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Argentina). Balanced flavors of cassis and blackberry blend perfectly with the tannin; pepper dominates the finish. ($12)

(90) Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). An expressive and bright wine; soft texture, supple fruit and balanced tannin/acidity; delightful. ($18)

(89) Tonjum Different Drummer Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Big and robust fruit with a solid structure of tannin; a wonderful value. ($14)

(89) Maipe Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Argentina). From Mendoza, blackberry flavors open up to a finely textured red; the quality of this wine is exceptional for the price. ($13)

(89) Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Probably one of the best values around; hints of cocoa and berry in the nose; warm and polished flavors upfront; mouth-filling flavors lead to a finish that lingers. ($13)

(89) Sledgehammer North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Quite complex for the price; aromas of strawberries and raspberries; a medium-bodied palate offers flavors of crushed berries and cinnamon; the finish is short, but it is both firm and zesty. ($17)

(89) Fleur de Lyeth 2008 (California). Delightful blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec; easy drinking; blackberry and ripe black cherry, with hints of coffee; a nice easy finish. ($10)

(89) L’€™Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Washington). This 100% cabernet sauvignon has aromatics of pencil shavings, black currants and graphite; pair this with a highly marbled ribeye to tame its tannins and you won’€™t be disappointed. ($30)

(89) Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). This medium-bodied cabernet sauvignon entices you with aromas of red cherry and blackberry with a touch of earthiness; chocolate and vanilla on the palate along with a long finish; pairs well with slow-roasted prime rib. ($14)

(89) Route Stock Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). This wine has a licorice, anise, black tea, cherries and currants bouquet; on the palate it shows white pepper, mountain strawberries, currants and rosemary; soft tannins and medium high acidity; the finish is dry with lingering tannins feel. ($20)

(89) Santa Carolina Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Chile). Bold spicy black cherry flavors contradict the soft tannins, subtle oak and long fresh finish; whether you have it alone or with food, this wine is a great value. ($8)

(89) Robert Oatley Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007 (Australia). A well-balanced blend (51% cabernet sauvignon), this wine has impressive complexity for the money; the palate combines wild strawberry, dark cherry and some black fruits; nice acidity and fine soft tannins throughout, along with some subtle earthy cedary notes. ($17)

(88) Domaine de Bachellery Vin de Pays d’€™Oc Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (France). The rich, fleshy bouquet has a frame of new wood around cassis and blackberry aromas; that woody note shows up on the palate opening, but it is not overdone, and it actually subsides quickly to let plenty of ripe black cherry and blackberry flavors move forward, along with some earthy spice notes; a moderate finish wraps things up nicely. ($15)

(88) 337 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). Smooth, flavorful and medium-bodied; nice depth for an everyday red; a best buy. ($14)

(88) Releaf Western Cape Cabernet/Merlot/Shiraz 2007 (South Africa). The bouquet is light, with a whiff of cola nut followed by some savory spice notes and a touch of cassis; light, crisp and dry, it has a tasty array of dried red cherry and black cherry flavors, a touch of cranberry, and good tannin that turns it even crisper on the finish; 50% cabernet, 30% merlot, 20% shiraz, all organically grown. ($10)

(88) Washington Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Washington State). Aromas of currant and pepper; flavors of deep dark cherries; a really good value. ($9)

(88) Double T from Trefethen Napa Valley 2006 (California). This wine has aromas of plum, blackberry jam, black pepper and clove with hints of toasted oak with currant and blueberry flavors. ($25)

(87) Sebastiani, Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). This wine has aromas of red hots and baked black cherries; a rich texture turns a bit dry and cedary on the medium-length finish. ($17)

(87) Chateau Souverain Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California). This wine is medium-bodied for a cabernet sauvignon but has good depth of color and taste; very ripe fruit flavors of black plum and black cherry; smooth finish with softer more mature tannins then expected. ($19)

(87) Robert Reynolds Lodi Rocky’€™s Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). The bouquet is a bit subdued and brooding, with some musky notes of extracted blackberry; turns surprisingly light on the palate, but maintains its depth, and the flavors move toward red cherry, cranberry and plum, with very little spice or oak shading anything; moderate finish. ($12)

(87) La Capra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (South Africa). Dark purple, the bouquet is a pleasant mix of brambly fruit notes, light oak and espresso; medium bodied, it has a fresh mix of almost ripe red cherry and raspberry flavors bolstered by firm acidity; good balance and a long finish. ($12)

(87) Carta Vieja Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Chile). A good, solid house pour; smooth and easy; ripe red cherry fruit.($4)

(86) Educated Guess Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). Dark cherry aroma; blackberry, cherry with a hint of mint; moderate tannins; medium finish. ($18)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *