Retailer Wine Selections

For this issue, we asked members of the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend some of their favorite cabernet sauvignons. 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


(95) Mark Ryan Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Opaque purple color followed by a sweet, ripe nose of black currants, floral scents, licorice, and vanillin; exhibiting plenty of cassis fruit, this pure, dense, concentrated, full-bodied yet elegant wine should drink well for 8-10 years. ($50)

(95) Obelisco Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Washington State). Grown on a small 30 acre vineyard in red granite; full bodied and rich with a velvety mouthfeel; dark cherry, raspberry, and ripe currant with a dusty and restrained tannins on the finish; beautiful. ($43)


(95) Artesa Artisan Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Artesa is located in a cooler part of the Napa Valley, and this elegant, supple wine reflects that choice of location; the nose and palate offer up plenty of bright black fruits, with edges of spice and oak; the tannins are well balanced with good acidity and plenty of fruit. ($46)

(95) Col Solare Columbia Valley Red Wine 2008 (Washington State). This blend is two-thirds cabernet, giving it weight and structure; fter nearly two years in barrel, the tannins are soft and accessible; lots of black fruit on the nose and palate, make for a rich, full bodied glass of superb red wine. ($75)


(94) Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). The Robert Mondavi winery has been producing benchmark Napa Valley Cabernets for generations; this is no exception; the wine reflects the 2010 vintage, showing lots of dark fruit on the nose, and a richness on the palate; the fruit is balanced by spice, texture and acid; a very fair price for an outstanding wine. ($28)

(94) Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Washington State). Another wonderful cabernet out of Columbia Valley; medium to full bodied with energetic acidity; a beauty. ($35)

(94) La Storia by Trentadue Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). This cabernet sauvignon is aged for 16 months in several types of European oak barrels, lending an ‘€œOld World’€ nuance to the wine; however, the rich floral aromas and ripe, mouth-filling black fruit flavors are all Alexander Valley; stunning. ($25)

(94) J. Lohr 7 Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Rich, dense, with soft tannins; coffee and hazelnut, with a hint of bittersweet chocolate; for the cab lover’€¦dessert in a glass. ($20)

(94) Calluna Vineyards Calluna Estate Chalk Hill Red 2009 (California). Classic Left Bank style with the emphasis on cabernet sauvignon (40%), with elements of merlot, cab franc, malbec, and petite verdot blended in; intense fruit, very balanced, tight core of cedar and dried fruit with heavy minerality. ($70)

(94) Atamisque Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Argentina). Bright jammy fruits with hints of pepper on the nose; full bodied with robust flavors of red fruits, spice, coffee and vanilla. ($27)

(94) McPherson Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Texas). The McPherson family is one of the pioneers of the modern Texas wine industry; aged 18 months in French oak, it is fruit forward in style with subtle touches of cassis and black fruit; this wine will change the way you look at Texas wine. ($30)

(94) Oakville East ‘€œExposure’€ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). With neighbors like Dalla Valle and Screaming Eagle, it’€™s no surprise that this is some heady stuff; an explosive wine yet remains graceful and sensuous; black cherry, plum, tobacco and mocha dance beautifully in the bouquet and on the palate, with layer upon layer slowly revealed. ($60)

(93) Black Coyote Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Pure Napa Valley, with sweet blackberries, leather, and spicy cedar; offering impressive concentration and supple tannins; this wine seals the deal on the outstandingly long finish that is further laden with flavors of tobacco and nutmeg; a real stand-out cabernet. ($85)

(93) Tyrus Evan Ciel du Cheval Red Mountain Claret 2011 (Washington State). The bouquet is gorgeous, with both an earthy and savory bent, yet exhibiting plenty of ripe black fruit aromas; full bodied and luscious, but with a backbone of tannins that, though firm, remain quite smooth; light tints of cocoa and earth linger on the edges while ripe and juicy black cherry, currant, cassis and blueberry roll across the palate. ($40)

(93) Embem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). The Mondavi family strikes again, with a winery created by Robert’€™s son and grandchildren; the wine displays a similar class and elegance, with a slightly richer, riper style; the nose and palate both posses plenty of ripe, dark fruit, with hints of spice and hints of brown sugar; vibrant and young, now, it will also benefit from time in the cellar. ($35)

(93) William Hill Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). The lovely acidity keeps the rich red and black fruits in balance; the tannins are very well integrated, providing texture and structure; exceptionally easy to enjoy now, it will also benefit from cellaring. ($35)

(93) Hess Collection Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This cabernet possesses lots of black, rich, and spicy fruit, on the nose and palate; the finish is seamless, elegant, and extended; superb, and balanced, across the board. ($55)

(93) Beaulieu Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Classic Rutherford dust; dark cherry and cocoa notes lead into great earthiness and big tannins; pair with grilled meats. ($27)

(93) Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). The Wetzel Family Estate yields superb grapes that express the volcanic ‘€œterroir’€ of Alexander Valley; blended with small amounts of merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot, barrel-aged for 14 months; robust with ripe black fruit and hints of coffee, mocha; supple tannins. ($20)

(93) Worthy Sophie’€™s Cuvee Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Classic Napa cabernet with a bit of petit verdot, malbec and cabernet franc; dark fruit and earth on the nose, chewy mouthfeel full of black cherry, currant and licorice sliding into perfectly integrated tannins through the mid palate and finish; unfiltered, so decant or pour carefully. ($29)

(93) The Calling Rio Lago Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Full bodied; deep burgundy color; black cherry, and vanilla aromas; ripe raspberry and cherry on the palate; well balanced acidity with a lingering finish. ($38)

(93) Tuck Beckstoffer ‘€™75 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). A complex wine with refined tannins, layers of fruit and a depth not often seen in this price point; the controlled cassis, plum and cherry flavors are surrounded with blackberry and a silky finish. ($21)

(93) Novelty Hill Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Washington State). Mike Januik has been making wine in Washington for over 30 years, and it shows in his Novelty Hill line; deep rich black fruit is concentrated in the mid-palate with a smooth lingering finish. ($43)

(93) Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Cherry, vanilla, and cassis aromas lead to a smooth lingering finish; perfect with a thick ribeye. ($26)

(92) Oberon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Quite complex for a wine of this price; integrated oak but not too much, big cherry/currant fruit balanced against cedar, tobacco and earthy mushroom. ($19)

(92) Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Classic Napa cab; full-bodied with lush black fruit balanced by new oak notes; soft tannins; drinkable now. ($45)

(92) Sciandri Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). Has a very complex bouquet, with a subtle but lively array of baking spices mingling with ripe and creamy black and red currant aromas and a touch of cassis liqueur; bold on the palate, with lots of black fruit flavors and firm but well-tempered tannin providing a smooth veil to everything; a long finish. ($50)

(92) B Side Napa Valley Red Blend 2010 (California). Nearly half cabernet sauvignon, this wine has plenty of structure, and rich, dark fruit; the blend, with merlot, syrah, petit verdot, and cab franc, provide a backbone of balancing acid, tannin and spice; plenty of weight, and density; rich, powerful glass of wine. ($25)

(92) Concha y Toro Gran Reserva D.O. Marchigüe Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Chile). From Concha y Toro’€™s ‘€œRiverbank Series’€ of wines, the term Gran Reserva certainly applies; focus, depth, and length; bursting with red and black fruit, on the nose and palate; the concentration and sophistication make this wine an outstanding value. ($18)

(92) Katherine Goldschmidt Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Ripe dark fruits, plum, blackberry, and smoky nuances on the finish; full bodied typical of cabernet, yet elegant, making it a perfect food wine at an amazing price point. ($20)

(92) Bianchi Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Aromas of dark red fruits; ripe flavors of cassis and chocolate with a flavorful lengthy finish. ($22)

(92) Lucas and Lewellen Cote del Sol Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). A rich softness, with subtle tannins and a smooth lingering finish; jammy, juicy, with touches of cherry and currants; great value for an estate grown and bottled cabernet. ($39)


(91) Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). A dry, rich Napa cab; dark fruits and balanced; will improve with age. ($53)

(91) Duckhorn Decoy Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Rich and concentrated with dark berry flavors and a hint of savory black olive, earth and spice. Solid tannins; should reward cellaring. ($24)

(91) Silver Palm North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Full bodied with toasty oak, blueberry and cassis; great value. ($16)

(91) Cross Springs Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Big, round flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, cassis, mocha and plum fill the palate immediately; full bodied with a decent amount of tannins, this beauty has a long finish with hints of spice and a touch of vanilla; nice value. ($17)

(91) Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). An elegant, yet firm cabernet with layers of blackberry and black licorice; tannins are big, but open nicely with a little aeration. ($23)

(91) LayerCake Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Mocha and spice flavors; this 100% cabernet is very tasty; long lasting finish and excellent with food. ($17)

(91) Justin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Balanced with fruit and spice; true Paso Robles style wine with intense dark fruit and soft finish. ($24)

(90) Mercer Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Washington State). Washington’€™s Columbia Valley yields a smooth, flavorful medium-bodied red that delivers excellent value. ($20)

(90) Dominican Oaks Napa Cabernet 2011 (California). This Napa Cabernet is an incredibly nuanced wine with ripe cherry, spicebox, and anise fragrances; the palate mimics the aromas in addition to added notes of coffee and toast; the overall subtly and balance of the wine makes it a real stand out. ($20)

(90) Gassier Les Piliers Cabernet 2010 (France). Hailing from the warm south of France and made with old vines, this richly intense cabernet offers concentrated flavors of plum, black cherry, lavender and notes of cigar box. ($15)

(90) Muirwood Cabernet 2010 (California). This fleshy and supple cabernet has aromas of blueberries, black pepper, and smoke; it’€™s full-bodied with intense fruit that is balanced by vanilla and oak. ($15)

(90) Courtney Benham Napa Cabernet 2011 (California). A seductive cabernet that really shows off its Napa pedigree; notes of black cherry and black currant with a dark chocolate and bramble laden finish; there are pleasant, dusty tannins on the finish with hints of tobacco. ($24)

(90) Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Big and bold cabernet with blackberry fruit on the nose; cherry plum on the palate; nice tannins with a great finish. ($20)

(90) Lockwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Cherry and plum aromas blend with a touch of incense and herbs; aromas carry over onto the palate with slight hints of chocolate as well; medium bodied and light tannins make this wine perfectly suited to pair with some steaks or grilled pork chops. ($15)

(90) Casa Lapostolle Rapel Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Chile). A beautiful wine with a bouquet of lilac and rose petal leading to rich, ripe flavors of currant and blackberry; tannins are soft; this wine is thoroughly enjoyable now and will complement grilled meats, sharp cheese or other hearty cuisines; an excellent value. ($14)

(90) Avenel Cellars Red Napa 2011 (California). A solid core of red fruit upfront with additional notes of lavender, chocolate, and vanilla; well-integrated tannins and acidity give this wine plenty of backbone. ($20)

(90) Jessup Cellars Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). A single vineyard Napa Cabernet that offers beautiful flavors of blueberries, chocolate, and eucalyptus; an energetic but well-integrated acidity offers exceptional balance; the perfect match for those who like an intense wine with a drier finish. ($40)

(90) Fritz Cellars Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This especially fragrant Cabernet has delicious aromas of blackberries, coffee and espresso; beautiful finesse on the palate with ripe blueberry and black pepper notes that continually reappear in different places. ($40)

(90) Coastline Paso Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Aromas of black cherry, pepper, and English breakfast tea; firm tannins and a pleasant, dry finish support the flavors of dried cherry, oak, vanilla. ($15)

(90) Bridlewood Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). A wonderful combination of spice and berry fruit, surrounded by soft tannins and a pop of acidity; good value that over-delivers. ($14)

(90) Marc Mondavi’€™s Divining Rod Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Blackberry character up front with spicy black cherry and hints of cured meats and black tea; well-integrated tannins on a long finish. ($17)

(90) R. Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Cherry, rhubarb and red plum flavors; balanced rich fruit, smooth texture. ($16)

(89) Girasole Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This certified organic wine has aromas of ripe blackberries and cranberries; sweet fruit and hints of oak; soft, smooth and balanced with a finish that lingers. ($15)

(89) Bridgman Cabernet 2012 (California). Beautiful aromas of blackberry and baking spices; red currants and smooth tannins on the palate are well-integrated with a touch of oak; the finish features a mouth-watering, pleasant acidity that makes this an excellent wine to pair with food. ($15)

(89) Inkling Paso Robles Cabernet 2011 (California). An excellent bargain for a Paso Robles cabernet; possessing fresh blackberry fruit and a touch of vanilla with a nice balancing acidity; leaves a lingering finish that is not overly heavy. ($12)

(89) Alterra Cabernet 2010 (California). A silky and refined Napa cabernet; blackberry fruit transitions into black pepper, baking spice, and a touch of coconut; well-integrated oak balances the flavors on the impressively long finish; a great deal. ($16)

(89) Monogamy Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Velvety with flavors of plum and dried herbs; a wonderful value. ($12)

(88) St. Francis Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Rich spicy aromas of cassis, cherry, and plums combined with moderate tannins; an all-around crowd pleaser that pairs well with grilled rib-eyes or smoked ribs. ($21)

(88) Pedroncelli Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). A peppery mid palate with good moderate tannins, with touches of cherry and toasty oak. ($15)

(88) Clos du Bois North Coast Cabernet Sauvugnon 2010 (California). A balanced cabernet with the typical blackberry and cassis flavors. Fruit forward but with complex coffee and herbal notes. ($16)

(88) Gnarled Vine Lodi Cabernet 2010 (California). Flavorful aromas of blackberry preserves and mocha; this Lodi Cabernet has the rich fruit you would expect of the region but also a nice balancing acidity that sets it apart from its peers. ($12)

(88) Shannon Ridge High Elevation Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Sustainably farmed on the steep slopes of the High Valley appellation in Lake County; a solid cab with black cherry, vanilla and spice; good value. ($11)


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