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K&L Staff Recommendations
The owner of York Creek is Fritz Maytag (Of Anchor Steam beer fame). He has farmed the property since 1968, selling grapes from his 125-acre mountain vineyard to many outstanding names in the California wine industry (Ridge Vineyards among them). York Creek began making a small amount of its own wine in 1992, and today releases limited bottlings of classic Spring Mountain Cabernet and blends, produced entirely from estate grapes grown on Spring Mountain above St. Helena. Hillside vineyard blocks range in altitude from 1,200 to 2,100 feet.
We were so happy with the 2013 Kalinda Napa Cabernet that we went back to the same well for the 2014. From another exceptional year for Napa Cabernet, this wine is lush and quite rich with tons of cassis on the nose and palate. Still quite young and showing some rounded tannins, I would cellar this beauty for five years minimum, but if you must drink it, decant one hour at least and serve with a hearty meat course. One hint: the property whence the grapes came is located quite close to a town that really does not have a wine shop in it. - KL Staffer Dri... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** This is a strong wine for the price, unfolding with caramelized berries, kirsch, black cassis, wet river stone and tight plum skins on the dense nose. Cooked blackberries and black-cherry jam show on the palate, where elegant graphite tannins make for a very silky, earthy wine. (MK)" (9/2016) K&L Notes: Quietly Concannon Vineyard has one of the longest histories in the California Wine Industry. Dating back to 1883 when James Concannon set up his winery in the Livermore Valley, recognizing that it was strikingly similar to the terroir of Bordeaux... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value that has classic Cabernet notes of black currants, plums, graphite and some herbal aromas and flavors. Blended with 16% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Zinfandel, and aged 16 months in French and American oak, drink this medium-bodied, nicely balanced 2014 over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)" (8/2016) Vinous: "Dark purple. Spice-accented dark fruits and pipe tobacco on the perfumed nose. Supple and appealingly sweet, showing good depth to the ripe black currant and cherry flavors. Finishes smooth, broad and a touch warm ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "A big and juicy style of Napa red for those who love the 1990s genre. Yet there's a form and tension to the wine with chewy tannins that make it very drinkable and intriguing. Drink or hold." (1/2016) 91 points Vinous: "A rich, full-throttle wine, the 2013 Red Blend Taken, a Merlot/Cabernet blend is one of the more flamboyant wines readers will come across in this vintage. Unctuous on the palate, the 2013 is loaded with tons of super-ripe fruit and French oak, with all of its elements nicely put together. (AG)" (9/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with 40% Merlot is y ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The outstanding 2013 Mountain Cuvée Proprietary Red, which is 80.4% Merlot, 17.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Malbec, was aged ten months in a combination of new and used oak. The good news is that there were 16,000+ cases of this outstanding wine. Dense purple in color with a big beautiful nose of black cherries, cassis, chocolate and espresso roast, this opaque, full-bodied wine has gorgeous purity, a beautifully layered texture and a heady, rich finish. This is a stunner and quite a steal in the marketplace. Gundlach Bundschu has hit home runs wit ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the best values in Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world remains Louis Martini’s Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and the rest Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc and other varieties) is just a beautiful wine. Dense ruby/purple with classic tobacco leaf, blackcurrant, loamy soil notes and a touch of wood spice, this wine (aged 16 months in French and American oak) has relatively modest alcohol for Cabernets these days (13.5%), and what’s even more remarkable is that there are 408,0 ...Read More »
The Buehler Estate is situated in the mountains above Conn Valley and near the base of Howell Mountain, where the various rocky, high-draining soils are ideal for growing Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet in particular) with the structure to produce long-lived wines. Always a reliable bargain in California Cabernet, the 2014 vintage has not yet been professionally reviewed, but past vintages have regularly scored into the 90s.
Wine & Spirits: "A velvety blend based on Merlot, this is simple but clean, its strawberry-red fruit lifted, the structure easy rather than gripping. It’s light enough for roast chicken." (8/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This wine has a foundation of 57% Merlot, followed by almost equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, then smaller percents of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Perfumed, it expresses itself in tight, chewy tannins before revealing cedar, pencil shavings and cranberry in a medium-bodied package. (VB)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58... Read More »
Don't let this wine's reasonable price scare you off. Paying top dollar for a Napa wine isn't the only way to get a top-quality Cabernet. The offering from Obsidian Ridge is a blend of six blocks from their own vineyard in Lake County, aged in Hungarian oak barrels for 18 months, and blended with a small amount of Cabernet Franc. The fruit is pure and bright, tending toward the blackberry and plum end of the spectrum and underscored by mocha, cinnamon and warm nutmeg spice. The tannins are big but ripe, and just need a little air or time in your cellar t... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A realistically priced wine from Napa, the 2012 Pauline's Cuvee is an outstanding blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec (7,500 cases) is a beauty from four vineyards in Napa Valley, showing the vintage’s telltale purity, dense purple color, lushness and seductive mocha, espresso and chocolaty notes intermixed with black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. This is a medium to full-bodied, lush, heady wine to drink over the next 5-10 years. (RP)" (10/2015) 90 points Vinous: "The 2012 Pauline's Cuvée is a sexy Merlot-based red, is another ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "This is dense yet fresh and lively with ripe currant, plum and dried mushroom character. Medium to full body, crisp and delicious. Real Napa at a solid price. Drink now." (6/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "This soft, simple wine, with small touches of Malbec and Petit Verdot, delivers sizable tannin atop notable acidity. Tart red currant and cherry meet cedar and a taste of toffee, allowing for a pleasantness on the palate that’s rich and ripe." (12/2016) Wine Spectator: "Fresh herb, dill and charry oak notes make this distinctive, if a bit dry and smoky. Retains an elegant mouthfeel. (Web Only—2016)" ...Read More »
Two talented Paso Robles winemakers joined forces to craft this Cabernet - Curt Schlachlin and Andrew Jones. Curt is winemaker at Sans Liege, known for his high-scoring yet affordable wines, and Andrew is winemaker at Field Recordings and spends most days planting vineyards and walking just about every vineyard in the Central Coast! Tasting notes from the winery: "The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon greets you with scents of lush blue fruit and memories of your grandfather’s briarwood pipe. As the flavor begins to march across your palate it leaves behind hints ... Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The straight 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon should be another outstanding vintage of this cuvee and it has full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration and lots of dark chocolate, plum and smoked herb aromas and flavors. It has more obvious structure than the 2014 did at this stage as well. (JD)" (8/2016) 90-91 points Vinous: "Dark purple. Energetic, spice-tinged aromas of dried cherry, red currant, mocha and licorice. Juicy and tightly focused, showing very good energy and lift to the bitter cherry and red berry flavors. Becomes spicier and deeper with air and finishes on a youthful ...Read More »
Organically grown, Justin's 2014 Cabernet is rich and full bodied. Black fruit, spice, tobacco, violet and savory herbal notes will satisfy any red wine lover.
Producer Note: "Native fermentation, 100% de-stemmed, 100% whole berry, 100% neutral French Oak, unfined and unfiltered, 85% Seaton vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, 15% Totem Ridge vineyard in Knight's Valley. Tasting notes: This full-bodied red wine has blackberry and cocoa flavors, with some pepper and spice on the finish."
Though the 2014 vintage has yet to be professionally reviewed, Robert Parker praised the 2013: "The 2013 Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a nearly 11,000-case cuvée, comes from northern Paso Robles from all hillside vineyards and represents a soft, round, juicy, succulent style of Cabernet. It has black and red currants, loamy soil notes and plenty of juiciness. The wine is delicious and best drunk over the next 2-3 years. The following notes include value-priced wines from the Varner brothers under the moniker Foxglove and they are indeed great va... Read More »
Harvested from the newly designated Santa Margartia Ranch and Estrella District AVAs in Paso Robles, Broadside crafts their Cabernet Sauvignon with minimal intervention for the sake of varietal purity and expression of vintage and terroir. The wine is aged for 14 months in neutral oak (both French and American). From the winery: "Our 2014 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon highlights a beautiful vintage. A balanced growing season lent itself to producing impeccable fruit, not unlike 2013, with slightly greater intensity and concentration. A strong showing of... Read More »
The Wetzel family has been growing Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley since the 1960s, and embody the Sonoma County spirit of winemaking, charging very fair prices for estate-grown, Alexander Valley wines, yet always innovating and pursuing quality. Wines are aged in their own shotcrete-walled caves, just steps from the winery. According to the winery: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Alexander Valley wine with medium body, great fruit flavors and polished tannins. Winemaker Kevin Hall added 6% Merlot for structure, a touch of Cabernet Fran... Read More »
Joel Gott's 815 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from some of the most important appellations across California. With inclusion of fruit from Napa Valley, Sonoma, Lodi, Lake County, Paso Robles, and Monterey County, the resulting wine creates a broad snapshot of the 2014 vintage. This perennial value is food-friendly and accessible with a modest 13.9% alcohol and 25% new oak barrels for aging. From the winery: "The 2014 Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of blackberry and cherry with hints of vanilla and spice. The wine opens with dark, conce... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A California Côtes du Rhône look-alike, the 2012 Mountain Cuvée is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Zinfandel and the rest small dollops of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Malbec aged 14 months in mostly French oak. It reveals spicy, peppery, meaty notes intermixed with hints of Provençal herbs, dense black cherry and plum-like fruit, medium to full body, an attractive texture, and a seductive finish. (RP)" (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "An unidentified mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot sourced from throughout the county, this is a smoky, leathery e ...Read More »
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 90 percent of this sumptuous wine, with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot rounding out the blend. It's got the chutzpah to stand up to a weeknight burger, but is elegant enough for a sleek Saturday night fête. From the winemaker: "Our 2014 Vintage is crafted from carefully selected grapes to yield an intense, deeply colored wine of concentrated aromas and flavors. The wine is approachable and delicious and full of dark cherries and black currants and has notes of cedar, sandalwood and coffee."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dense blackberry and blueberry-paste scents mesh with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and graphite on the nose of this bottling from the Hahn family. A lush mouthfeel with ample weight unleashes coffee and mocha flavors, blueberry and black cherry fruit, with hints of fudge and a sweet oak touch." (9/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*GOOD VALUE* Tending to berries as much as to the classic cassis of Cabernet Sauvignon, but a wine that sports fine fruity volume with a nice dollop of sweet oak lending no small measure of richness, this balanced, moderately full-bodied wine is structure ...Read More »
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot. Fermented in 100% stainless steel and aged in 75% neutral oak, 25% new French Oak. According to the winery: "Our Cabernet Sauvignon is a rustic wine with a deep, dark nose of blackberry, currants and cocoa, which show off the natural structure and power of each varietal in the finished blend. Enjoy with a sliced venison loin or hangar steak seared in cast iron and finished in the oven. Chop up some new potatoes; cover them with fresh rosemary and your favorite olive oil. Grab some black... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Incorporating small amounts of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and Malbec, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from multiple sites in Paso Robles and spent 18 months in a mix of French and American oak. Offering juicy plum, herbs, currants and earth, drink this fun, fruit-forward, enjoyable and charming Cabernet over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: From Niven Family Wine Estates and their SIP (Sustainability in Practice™) certified vineyards, this good-value Paso Cab is typically bold and rich, "loaded with blackberry jam, cherry, black currant,... Read More »
About the producer: "Since the inaugural vintage of our Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine almost a quarter century ago, Decoy has taken an important place in the Duckhorn Wine Company family of wines. With a reputation for delivering great quality at a remarkable price, Decoy has established a loyal following for its distinctive style, which emphasizes ready-upon-release wines that are capable of expressing their full charm and complexity in their youth. Building on this foundation, Decoy has evolved from being a single wine that supported the Duckhorn Vineyard... Read More »
Rudy Von Strasser may have got his start in the wine business as an intern at prestigious Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, but he hasn't let his head, or his prices, ascend into the stratosphere. The wine is made up of 100% Diamond Mountain fruit, some of which comes off the Von Strasser Estate. This is a concentrated, elegant, and eminently drinkable Cab delivering more-than-everyday quality for a fantastic price. From the winery: "This bold Cabernet Sauvignon has great perfume of violets. Intertwining aromas of blueberry,cassis and coffee all lead into a ric... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Substantive flavors and a rich, tannic texture form a serious profile for this deeply colored, dry and full-bodied wine. It smells like raspberries, tastes deep and concentrated, and has a very firm and nicely astringent mouthfeel. Pour it with a big steak, chop or roast." (4/2016)
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Bold, supple blue fruit gives this cabernet an impression of simple, healthy richness, while that exuberance is held in check by a tannic grip that seems to come from fruit skin as much as oak. It’s already accessible, but may gain additional dimension with a few years in bottle. Well-priced and smartly crafted, it’s a wine for roast beef." (12/2015)
Mainly Paso Robles Cab with a twist, this 2014 is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Syrah, from four vineyards: 48% Jack Knife, 25% Blind Faith, 21% Stones Throw and 6% Spanish Springs. The winery's note: "This is a deeply colored, purple hued, densely colored red wine with a lot of nice aromas...classic scents of red currant and blackberry with subtle notes of sage and coriander. This is a food friendly Cabernet Sauvignon with gentle, fine tannins and a lingering finish of small dark-red berries."
Robert Parker writes: "This winery is renowned for their Sauvignon Blanc, but they make very good Cabernet Sauvignon."
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* From the famed vineyard named for the colorful author, this wine remains a standout for the producer, and a tremendous deal for the quality. It exudes notes of eucalyptus on the nose, before unveiling big-boned but balanced tannins, with leather and cranberry notes meeting a tensile line of minerality. It finishes with a taste of mocha." (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "Shows lots of dill, cedar and dried herb notes amid the mocha and dark berry flavors, making this complex and focused. Ends with a long, pure finish and moderate tannins. Drink now through 2024. ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Producer Note: "The 2013 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is showing exceptionally dark color with a bright hue at release. Intense fruit aromas of black cherry, plum and blueberry are accented by a barrel bouquet of hazelnut, dark chocolate and toasted pastry. Sturdy tannins strike the palate and finish with the hightoned fruit signature that typifies the Paso Robles appellation." -Steve Peck, red winemaker
This is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 12% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot from--as the name suggests--some of the winery's more gravely vineyard sources, including the famed Cherryblock, with Mountain Terraces and Bedrock. Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 earned 97 points from Robert Parker, who enthused about the venerable Sonoma winery's recent successes: "If you haven’t noticed the qualitative efforts by winemaker Mark Lyon and the Sebastiani team over the last decade or more, it’s time to take notice. Not only are the ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This wine over-delivers a mouthful of juicy quality vis-a-vis price, combining Cab with smaller dabs of Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Savory blackberry and cassis lift the fruitiness, seasoned in savory tones of black tea and cranberry that give it an edge. Fleshy and smooth, it’s a good wine to stock up on. (VB)" (12/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star & Good Value* Smelling variously of ripe cherries, root beer, graphite and loamy earth and as explicitly varietal in flavor as it is in aroma, this easy going, well-balanced, modestly tanni ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Their newer non-vintage blends ratchet up the level of quality, such as the NV Arme Lot 3, a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is a big Bordeaux blend, aged up to three years in neutral oak prior to being bottled. It’s a blend of three vintages, 2011, 2012 and 2013. All the fruit comes from not only their estate, but from many of their close friends located in Sonoma and Mendocino. The wine is a 6,000-case North Coast appellation, with elegant black cherry and blackcurrant fruit as well as tobacco leaf ...Read More »
Production notes: "100% Cabernet Sauvignon, hand harvested October 14. Yeast fermentation and malolactic conversion was followed by 20 months in French oak barrels (67% new). 74 cases produced."
This is a true port-style wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Fermentation is stopped by the addition of a high-proof neutral grape brandy, leaving 7% natural grape sugar in the wine, which is aged in older French oak barrels. Promising to pack a lot of flavor into this little 375ml bottle, it's not just for chocolate and dessert pairings—try it with a cheese plate! The winery's tasting note: "Ripe black cherry, blackcurrant and a subtle berry jelly note mixed with savory Cabernet Sauvignon elements. Full-bodied, sweet but fresh on the palate with ... Read More »
About the producer: "RICKSHAW is sourced across California from sustainable vineyards, enabling us to source from diverse appellations and craft the highest quality wine at the price possible. The Chardonnay hails from cooler climate areas, but a touch of oak gives it a rich texture which brings the zippy acidity into natural balance. Pinot Noir is a classic expression of the grape, also hailing from cooler climates with that California kiss of juicy fruit. And finally, the Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits a beefier texture with plush weight and full thro... Read More »
Vinous: "Opaque ruby. Dark berries, licorice, cedary oak and a hint of pipe tobacco on the pungent nose. Gently sweet and velvety in the mouth, offering warm cherry and blackcurrant flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. Dusty tannins frame the smoke-accented finish, which leaves behind a touch of coconut. This wines was aged in a 50/50 blend of French and American oak, 30% of it new. (JR)" (9/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine Enthusiast: "Plum flesh, grapeseed and black-peppercorn aromas introduce this leaner, less-extracted style of wine. The palate shows deep cherry and plum juice with lots of peppery spice and decent tannic structure, and will probably intensify with a bit of patience. (MK)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: Producer Note: "This is us meditating a bit on the essence of California. For sure it’s a sunny place and that means ripeness (not over-ripeness) and an abundance of fruit. We also know that grace and girth are not mutually exclusive so we strive to make a red that embraces the generosity o... Read More »
Meant to represent good value at a reasonable price, the R Collection Cabernet Sauvignon opens up with aromas of ripe red plums, cherry cobbler, star anise and cinnamon. In the mouth, flavors of luscious ripe blackberries, blueberries, dark Bing cherries and cassis, subtle spices and sweet earth dance on the tongue. This wine is beautifully balanced with rich fruit flavors, pleasant tannins, good structure and a silky texture. The finish is exceptionally pleasing with lingering overtones of warm spicy oak.
Avalon makes this incredibly affordable Cab sourced from a variety of Napa Valley appellations. A classic Napa Valley Cab and at a ridiculously fair price!
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Deep and lush aromas of candied blueberry and black cherry meet with chocolate cake, light brown spices and a touch of beef jerky on the nose of this judiciously priced wine. Though a tad light on the palate at first, it has an energetic and spicy acidity that carries forth flavors of tobacco and black fruit. (MK)" (12/2016)
The second label of Pali Wine Co., Tower 15 was inspired by the iconic lifeguard towers that dot the SoCal shoreline. Tower 15 is devoted to affordable wines from the Central Coast that are delicious right out of the gate. The Swell Bordeaux blend is dark and brooding, with notes of ripe plums, cherries, rosemary, and dark chocolate. It's the perfect match to a juicy cheeseburger at a beachside BBQ. Drink early and often!
Tony Cartlidge launched Cartlidge and Browne Winery in 1980, then Dancing Crow in 2014 when he found the perfect vineyard. From the winery: "Opening with dark berry and mocha aromas, this mountain Cabernet soars high and bright with a great lift of cassis and sandalwood flavors that propels on to a prolonged, supple toffee-edged finish."
Cab with unfussy pricing and full flavor from three Napa Valley guys who explain the brand's premise like this: "The wine world can be a bit bewildering for people who spend their free time sneaking around in camouflage. But even a wild man deserves the finer things in life. Gauge Wine is for that man. Perfect for anything retired by shotgun or rifle."
Y. Rousseau was named one of the Top-100 wineries of 2015 by Wine & Spirits magazine. Yannick and Susan Rousseau started their winery in 2008.
Antonio Galloni writes: "Jayson Woodbridge’s Layer Cake range of entry and mid-priced wines is chock full of great values."