Great Cabernet $50 to $75

Some great wines but for whom? And for when?


On Tuesday I wrote with great pleasure about a group of Cabernets that were right about $25 a bottle, some less. They represented much of what I look for in Cabernet, and at an affordable price. Today I turn my sights to wines that promise much more. At least they are priced in such a way as to promise much more, not that they always deliver. 
To a certain extent wines in this price range, $50 to $75 a bottle often under-deliver. There’s not much that can happen in the vineyard or the cellar to justify the premium above say $40. Though some wines in this group do compete with wines that are more expensive and probably are produced in much the same way: ultra low yields, 100% new oak, and with consulting winemakers. They could be said to represent a value play of sorts, made as they are in the style of wines costing double or triple.
As a group these wines do outperform their less expensive brethren, though often not by enough to warrant the uptick in pricing.  Simply put it’s a different world here, and while these wines are expensive, I do believe that they represent the occasional splurge for many buyers, and thus I’ve reviewed them with those lower priced wines still fresh in my mind.

What is it you can expect at these prices? For the most part what sets these wines apart is richness, followed by complexity. Some of that complexity tends to be derived from a greater percentage of new oak barrels being used for the ageing process so if you don’t like new oak, that complexity may not be a plus for you. There is also the question of ageability that comes into play here. A great $60 bottle of Cabernet should be able to develop into something special with age. Much less is asked of wines at the $20 price point. I tend to run into trouble when reviewing wines for the cellar in that I try to be conservative with my scoring. While I have an idea where these wines may end up, it’s nothing better than an educated guess so bandying about ultra high scores based on what a wine should become is not a game I like to play.
If you’re looking for rich, powerful age worthy wines there are some real winners here but if you want to pop a bottle tonight with your steak one of the better $25 wines is more than likely a better choice for you. Since something like 99% of wines are consumed within 24 hours of purchase in this country, that message might be applicable to more people than we might like to admit. Still there is something special to some of these wines, and if you’re not intimidated by the prices, then by all means check out the winners. 

1 2 3 next

Top Cabernet $50-$75 Tasted 12/13

Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Morisoli Vineyard (2007)
List It
Trione Vineyards Alexander Valley Bordeaux Blend (2008)
List It
Sullivan Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley (2010)
List It
Kenwood Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon. Petit Verdot. Merlot. Syrah Sonoma County (2009)
List It
T Vine DOC Gold Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (2009)
List It

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: bbqwineco
    1099595 12

    I see South Africa in the mix, but no Washington state. Were they not tasted, or just didn't make the cut?

    Jan 16, 2014 at 1:33 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 10,430

    Oh Greg, I can't miss an opportunity to pull your leg. In the article you gave a very nice review for the Kenwood 2009 Artists Series Cab. However, in your list, that wine does not appear. It is replaced by the Kenwood 2009 Vintage Red, which, I agree is a pretty good wine and, for less than $10, is an outstanding wine, but, maybe, does not belong on a list of $50-$75 Cabernet Sauvignons. ;-)

    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:12 PM

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 4,003

    Emark, that's what happens when people drink on the job!

    Jan 16, 2014 at 7:14 PM

  • Snooth User: ChefJune
    359212 33

    Interesting you didn't mention any of my favorites at that price point: Trefethen, Chimney Rock, St. Supery, Silver Oak-Alexander Valley... tho you did not the Terlato Stag's Leap. Terlato owns Chimney Rock.

    Jan 17, 2014 at 1:08 PM

  • Snooth User: Zuiko
    Hand of Snooth
    540750 833

    "...richness, followed by complexity." Well yes but if I want those things in a wine, I might be tempted to go with a 2009 or 2010 Bordeaux and at a lower price than $50. Or I might go for a top end Zin for less than $50 or an LBV from Portugal. Great Rheingau spatlesen are less than $50, although most are white.

    I agree, the wines in you article are for a limited audience.

    Jan 17, 2014 at 4:57 PM

  • Snooth User: hestamm
    1176940 24

    At this price point, I'm buying decent champagne! Or good bourbon, or Scotch, or Irish.

    Jan 19, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network