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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This nicely made wine balances juicy black fruit with black licorice, flinty dried herb and a velvety texture. Medium bodied, it shows structure and grace within a context of ripeness and depth." (12/2016)
93 points James Suckling: "This is extremely fine and focused with ultra-fine tannins and a beautiful black currant and spearmint undertone. Full and fruity. Yet reserved and interesting. A triumph for the price. Drink or hold." (1/2016) 92 points Wine & Spirits: "The Indelicato family makes this wine at their Napa Valley property, using grapes from Oak Knoll, Rutherford, Atlas Peak and Oakville. It shows the quality of the 2013 vintage in deep, plummy flavors and warm notes of exotic spice. The tannins add umami breadth with scents of black mushrooms and earth. Ready to enjoy with braised lamb." (4/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "An af ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied beauty traffics in cigar, tar and chocolate, expressing a rich, robust and smoky world of goodness. With a velvety texture, it continues to impress beyond the first sip, offering both memorable length and breadth. It blends together 80% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec." (2/2017) 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. ...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 »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming all from Paso Robles, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet aged in stainless steel) is a forward, charming wine that has lots of upfront jammy blackberry, savory herbs, licorice and a hint of graphite to go with a medium-bodied, supple, nicely focused feel on the palate. There's a solid kick of tannin on the finish, so pair this with some fatty meat over the coming couple of years. Readers looking for killer values need look no further than this Foxglove releases from Jim and Bob Varner. (JD)" (10/2016) K&L Notes: Though the 2014 vintage has yet to be p... 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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: "A terrific value and an amazing sleeper of the vintage is the 2014 Y3 Taureau Proprietary Red, a mélange of 45% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Zinfandel. This is a steal at $20, and Napa could certainly use more wines that are creatively put together like this one. Kudos to winemaker Kirk Venge-this is a killer bargain. Ruby purple in color, with loads of black cherry and briary blackcurrant fruit, the wine is meaty and refreshing, with hints of mocha and earth. Medium to full-bodied, luscious and velvety, this is all a $20 wine should ...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 »
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 »
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) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Olema offers plenty of value in an elegant, tasty, cedary, blackcurrant-scented and flavored wine that has good concentration, light tannin and a tasty, savory mouthfeel. Drink it over the next 4-5 years. This winery has a large and varied portfolio of wines, including their four value picks, which consumers need to notice. (RP)" (12/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "This soft ...Read More »
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 »
Move over Bacchus, Oeno is here and she's ready for her time in the sun. The Greek goddess of wine is this project's spiritual patron, created by industry pro Amy Atwood. Unable to find affordable domestic wines made with native yeasts and neutral oak, she sought out California winemakers who would make these wines to her specifications.
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 »
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
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.
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 »
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!
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 »
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."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made for broad release, this wine impresses for its rounded, approachable layers of dried herb and anise, the tannin and oak lightly applied. Blended with 10% Merlot, it finds a jolt of richness on the finish, a showcase for notions of chocolate, cherry and blackberry." (2/2017) K&L Notes: 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 establis... Read More »
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."
Proprietor Courtney Benham (also of Martin Ray) states, "“I love the challenge of creating incredible wines that over deliver. That’s where I like to play.” The California Cabernet combines fruit from Sonoma, Monterey and Paso Robles in an effort to give a complete picture of what the state has to offer.
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.
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 »
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)
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."
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.
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
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.
91 points Vinous: "(raised for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels, 39 percent of them new) Opaque ruby. Lively, oak-spiced aromas of cassis and cherry liqueur, licorice and cured tobacco are lent vivacity by a smoky mineral flourish. Palate-caressing dark berry and bitter cherry flavors deepen and become sweeter with aeration, picking up a floral pastille nuance. Closes supple, sweet and quite long, displaying building spiciness, rounded tannins and very good clarity. (JR)" (9/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The top bottling of the Talley family’s second label, this blend o ...Read More »
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."
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."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley is aged in one-third new oak, of which three-fourths is American and one-fourth French. It offers spicy roasted herbs intermixed with damp earth, blackcurrants, plums and some new saddle leather. Dense and medium-bodied, with light tannin... (RP)" (10/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Antonio Galloni writes: "Jayson Woodbridge’s Layer Cake range of entry and mid-priced wines is chock full of great values."
Wine Enthusiast: "Extremely rocky and dusty aromas of turned earth and tobacco meet with snapped dark chocolate on the nose of this bottling from a littleknown region 30 miles inland from the Monterey Bay. Espresso bean and black plums show on the impressively dark palate that is well structured, finishing on slight hints of roasted pepper and peppercorns." (2/2017) K&L Notes: Donati Family Vineyards is a small winery in Paicines. Paicines? The town of Paicines, population 204, consists of a country store, restaurant and post office, all in one convenient building, all 10 miles from H... 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 »
The 2014 Bench Cabernet Sauvignon exudes a deep, dark purple color in the glass. The nose is vibrant with violets, huckleberry and a touch of vanilla spice. The palate is elegantly wound with dusty tannins and a supple, velvet texture. The long, seamless finish ebbs and flows with flavors of black currant, dark cocoa and black forest floor.
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 »
This wine expresses the vintage with black pepper, cedar, boysenberry and bramble aromas. On the palate, it bursts with red and purple fruit flavors, including cherries, plum and cassis. Hints of vanilla and spice mark the lingering finish.
Wine Enthusiast: "This bright and engaging wine looks quite deep in color, smells jammy, tastes fresh, young and gushing with ripe blackberry and blueberry flavors. It’s not too tannic, not too full-bodied, appropriately dry and easy to enjoy. (JG)" (8/2015)
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!