Cabernet Even in July!

A few good wine to celebrate the summer with.


With the summer's heat on full blast you might be asking why I’m reviewing red wines instead of something cool, crisp and refreshing, and Cabernets to boot! Well, the truth is that plenty of folks out there enjoy a nice Cabernet this time of year. Think about it, what could be better with a steak off the grill, or better yet a lamb top round, or even grilled portobello caps?
Truth is while this is not the best weather for a big, bold red wine, it’s perfect weather for something a little simpler. A solid Cab served slightly chilled, say right around 60 to 65 degrees. While this might be a bit on the cool side, accentuating the wine's tannin, it makes for a refreshing accompaniment to that steak, or just an evening on the patio enjoying the heat of the day at it relents to cooler nighttime temperatures. So here’s a roundup of value priced Cabernets, the best of which are on the lighter side with a freshness that's conducive to enjoyment at a refreshing temperature.
Related video

The highest scoring wine is not always the best. Listen in as GDP describes four winning wines and why they're among his favorites, high scores or not!

Just as a test I snuck in one wine that is over $25 and another wine that is $20, and wouldn’t you know it but the top three scoring wines were three of the most expensive wines of the tasting, which of course proves very little. In fact the best wines out of this bunch for summertime drinking  don’t even include the top rated 2010 Murphy-Goode Dealer’s Choice Cabernet. It’s an excellent wine, just a bit more than I want in my glass these days. It’s better saved for cooler weather as you enjoy the rest of the top wines here while we wait for that to come.
Which of course brings be to the video portion of our show. once again I’m here to tell you that the “best” wine isn’t always the best wine every time. Wine scores are a shorthand and they can’t fill you in on all the details. I loved the 2009 Barra Cabernet but if I had friends over and wanted a nice Cabernet to serve on the patio with a little chill I’d be opting for either the 2010 Kenwood or Lapostolle Casa Cabernets. They are lovely smaller scaled wines that are friendly and easy drinking and sometimes that makes a wine nearly perfect, no matter what the score says.

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Top Cabernet tasted July 2013

Murphy-Goode Dealer's Choice (2010)
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Barra of Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino County (2009)
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Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon the Expedition (2011)
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (2010)
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Angulo Innocenti Cabernet Sauvignon la Consulta (2011)
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Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
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Mentioned in this article


  • I am unaware of any time of year or any weather condition where a good cabernet is not something I want to drink.

    In fact, it's nearly 100 degrees and humid here in Arlington County, Virginia, and I do believe I shall.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 8,579

    I think Woody has the right idea.

    Greg, thanks for the comments on wines that are affordable and, I'm guessing, available. I'm going to mention one that I had two days ago--Robert Mondavi Napa Valley. Mondavi is, of course, a high volume producer and, as such, does not get a lot of love just because they are big. However, big does mean that you can actually find the wine in retail outlets. I bought this one (2009) a few weeks ago at Costco for $19. It is terrific--good body and structure withoug a giant explosion of tannin in your mouth, not overwhelming berry/cassis fltvors and a good wine with a casual meal (we had grilled burgers).

    Looking at a Beringer Knight's Valley (again, $19 at Costco) to go with our Hollywood Bowl picnic, tonight. There will be three of four other choices for others in our group or for different courses of the picnic.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 4:27 PM

  • Snooth User: bopahyland
    222403 17

    You're still overlooking WA and OR as producing great Cabs. Especially, Columbia-Crest Grand Estates Cabernet. We're currently drinking 2009 but can't imagine that any other vintage would be any less than 2009. This winery consistently produces a rich, full-bodied and affordable cab and don't miss their Merlot, as well.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM

  • Snooth User: dryhopped2
    544495 25

    For my money, it is the BV Rutherford Cab. It is readily available for less than $20 in So Cal and displays a complex, nicely blended palate of fruit, wood, and leather. I consider it the best consistent value year after year.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM

  • Snooth User: winenana
    685466 39

    Why is 60-65 considered "chilled?" That is standard wine cellar temperature, and when my wine warms up more than a couple of degrees over that, I don't like it. Also, in summer I often put one ice cube in my red wine. Don't be horror-struck! You'd be surprised at how many do this. One little tablespoon of water doesn't hurt your wine, and makes it more pleasant to drink. I've seen men toss in two or three at a time on a hot day. And...WA state has some excellent Cabs at good prices. Grand Estates is one. Cashmere Cellars @ $17. Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red at Safeway, under 16. Their 08 Cab is 18 at some stores. Very good.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 7:08 PM

  • St. Supery 09 Napa Valley Cab at Safeway in Northern CA normally $34 is usually on sale for 19.00 + tax.

    And I agree with "winenana" my cellar is set at 57 or I take my cab selection if during the day and pop it in the refrigerator for half an hour before opening and it cools it down nicely and we chill our glasses. Keeps it at a nice temperature for a longer period, and some times we place the decanter in the fridge after the first pour. Try it it can't hurt the wine.

    Jul 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

  • Snooth User: winenana
    685466 39

    Exactly, MarkMag. We'd drink Cab at your place anytime..especially the St. Supery. xlnt wines. The ex CEO is a friend of ours and we used to drink a lot of all their wines. Love the Virtu, too, and Cab Franc, just name it!

    Jul 19, 2013 at 9:24 PM

  • Snooth User: swimdad
    474451 36

    EMark...The Mondavi Private Selection (?) and the Knight's Valley are our go-to cabernets. Tasty and affordable. We have other faves that we save for special occasions,

    Aug 06, 2013 at 10:54 AM

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