Great Cabernet under $25

Tasting Impressive Cabernets from $16 to $25



 
 
This smells terrific with subtle candied spice tones, a  bit of dried ginger, vanilla and nutmeg all laid over a base of juniper tinged crushed black berry fruit. Smooth, supple and polished in the mouth, just a lovely wine that delivers a bit of elegance unusual at this price point. The fruit is towards the blueberry and blackberry end of the spectrum, fresh yet not too intense with attractive clarity that reveals a bit of stony minerality on the mid-palate. This is medium bodied, and finishes with impressive length retaining the blueberry fruit while adding gentle shadings of dried grass and herbs. It's smaller scale might be a negative for some people but this everything I need in this type of wine. 91pts
 
 
Lovely dried chile, macerated dried herbs and smoky orange peel aromas greet the nose followed by some sweet, candied vanilla notes and a base of dark plummy fruit all topped with a perfumey note of flowers. Some early acids snaps this to attention and lends it great focus in the mouth. The flavors in the mouth are simpler than the nose but quite attractive in their own right, all red currant and faintly blueberry tinged with a nice edge of earth and wood spice. This is very well put together, nice acids which might be high for some palates, ripe yet firm tannins, all wed to a medium full bodied frame. The finish is perhaps a touch short, and this could probably improve a bit over the next 1-3 years, gain a bit of weight on the mid-palate and length but it's drinking well even today. Really quite delicious. 90pts 
 
 
Showing nice balance on the nose with obvious toasted spice, burnt sugar oak notes immersed in aromas of macerated dried herbs, dried flowers and black currant fruit with a hint of black tea adding some detail. A touch low acid on entry, this is broad and fairly rich in the mouth with a luxurious, plush feel to it. The fruit is nicely presented, with fresh plum, blueberry and cranberry flavors with a subtle oak framing note and some wood tannins and vanilla sugar accenting the moderately long finish. Pretty elegant and with obvious textural appeal. I would drink this sooner rather than later as the wood tannins are a bit much for the fruit but for a near term Cabernet this should prove to be very popular. 89pts
 
 
Smokey and noticeably oaky on the nose but at the same this packs in lots of fresh black currant fruit and candied blueberry fruit. There is a lot of tobacco and sweet baking wood spice here. Bright and relatively high acid on entry, there's an early slap of sweet wood spice, which remains an underlying factor through the palate, but this is rich with fresh wild blueberry and red currant fruit, even a bit of wild strawberry on the palate as well. It's a bright, fresh and slightly rustic in style, finishing with a nice blend of fruit and wood spice, showing really fine length and a bit of mint on the finale. Very distinctive and quite good. 89pts
 
 
Herbal and perfumed on the nose with a nice undercurrent of bell pepper topped by floral note of Iris, a bit of vanilla cream,  black earth, black cherry and black currant fruit. A bit rustic one entry, then quickly smoothing out and showing fine power behind the flavors of black cherry, subtle oak, earthy and dried herbs. The tannins are present but soft and the acid well integrated into this moderately large scaled wine. The fruit remains rather fresh and clear in the mouth, all black currant and black cherry driven with a bit of a mineral edge emerging on the long, plum and earth tinged finish. This could use some time in the  cellar 2-3 years to help further integrate the tannins but it's drinking pretty well already and will only get better. 89pts
 
 
Big dried fruit and roasted herb aromas greet the nose followed by truffly and mushroomy accents to the over-ripe fruit all layered over spicy oak. Surprisingly light on entry, this is rich with black and red fruits that show a less pronounced sense of over-ripeness than is found on the nose, though a bit of aromatic pruniness marks the palate. The wine is surprisingly medium bodied with ripe, slightly chewy tannins supporting gently medicinal cherry fruit and a nice caramel and vanilla edge on the backend leading to a moderately long, dark macerated cherry fruit, tamarind tinged, and wood spiced finish. Not my style of wine but one that is well done for its type and will have broad appeal for it. 88pts
 
 
Spicy and leathery on the nose, this has a lovely earthen edge to the oak used here and shows a gentle underlying vanilla note. Almost sweet on entry, there's a terrific wave of rich fruit here that flows across the palate with candied blueberry, blue plum and sassafras flavors that pick up a minty edge on the back end. It's a fairly big wine, well endowed with ripe tannins that pop on the moderately long finish which returns to the leather and older wood of the nose. The alcohol tickles my nose a touch but doesn't show up on the palate. An intense bottle of wine for the money with surprising energy considering the wine's size. 88pts
 

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Top Cabernet $20-$25 Tasted 12/13

1.
Mossback Cabernet Sauvignon Chalk Hill (2010)
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2.
Canoe Ridge Cabernet Reserve Horse Heaven Hills (2010)
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3.
Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
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4.
Cliff Creek Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Sams Valley Vineyard (2007)
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5.
Kenwood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Jack London Vineyard Sonoma Valley (2010)
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6.
Justin Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles (2010)
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7.
Yalumba the Cigar Coonawarra (2010)
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8.
Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
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9.
Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon the Expedition (2011)
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10.
Edge Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast (2010)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: hestamm
    1176940 24

    At this price point, these wines are still a splurge for my budget. Why not truly investigate budget oriented wines--say in the $7-$12 range? There are some real winners in this price range that would give some of the + $20 wines taste competition.

    Jan 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM


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