Top 15 California Bordeaux Blend Wines Under $125

New world meets old world



 

10. Wallis Family Estate Little Sister (Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain) - The vineyards for this project on Diamond Mountain were planted in 1997. They consist of 13 acres planted to five different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, and small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Initially the fruit was sold, first to David Ramey and then to Lokoya, before the family decided to start making their own wine in 2006. The renowned Thomas Rivers Brown came on board as winemaker in 2008.

2010
 - 
Very dark ruby color; tart black fruit, herbs, savory nose tasty, tart black fruit, coffee, herbs palate; medium-plus finish (97.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Petit Verdot). 92+ points
 
11. Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate (San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains) - Ridge is the great Bordeaux variety producer in the Santa Cruz Mountains that also makes age worthy and highly acclaimed Zinfandels primarily from vineyards in Northern Sonoma. Their flagship Bordeaux blend offering, the Monte Bello, is a little too pricey for this list, but their estate red, which is usually a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend, is a relative bargain in a classic style.
 
2007Dark red violet color; deep cassis, red plum nose; with a touch of menthol lift; tasty, poised, cassis, tart plum palate with depth; medium-plus finish (58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot). 92+ points
 
12. Robert Keenan Winery Mernet Reserve (Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District) - Robert Keenan originally purchased the property on Spring Mountain in 1974 and planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Their first vintage was 1977. Robert’s son Michael now serves as President, with Nils Venge serving as consulting winemaker and Randy Kewell as assistant winemaker. The winery is well known for its single Bordeaux varietal bottling—Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The Mernet Reserve is a 50/50 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

2007
Very dark red violet color; plush, ripe berry, black raspberry, blackberry, vanilla oak, chocolate nose; tasty, plush, berry, mulberry, blackberry, chocolate palate; medium-plus finish (50/50 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon). 92+ points
 
13. Vinoce Proprietary Red (Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder) Vinoce is owned by Brian and Lori Nuss, who grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot on Mt. Veeder hillside slopes. They planted their vineyard in 1990. Brian serves as the winemaker. Their Mount Veeder Estate Proprietary Red is a blend of their three red Bordeaux varieties.

2007
Very dark red violet color; rich, intriguing, deep berry, ripe currant nose with a touch of menthol; tasty, poised, tart currant, tart berry, light menthol palate; medium-plus finish. 92+ points
 
14. Robert Sinskey Vineyards Marcien (Napa/Sonoma, Carneros) - Rob Sinskey studied for a degree in design, but a call over 25 years ago from his grape grower father got him involved in the business, which now includes 200 acres of vineyards in the Carneros and Stags Leap Districts of Napa and Sonoma. The winemaker is Jeff Virnig. The Marcien is a Right Bank inspired wine from grapes grown in their cool climate Carneros vineyards.

2005
Appealing tart currant, olive and black fruit nose; tasty, Bordeaux-like tart black fruit, tart currant palate; medium-plus finish (blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon). 92+ points
 
15. Rockpile Winery (Mauritson) Buck Pasture Rockpile Ridge Vineyards (Sonoma County, Rockpile) - The Mauritson family has been growing grapes in Dry Creek Valley since 1868. S.P. Hallengren, was a pioneer grape grower in the Rockpile region, where he first planted vines in 1884. He shipped all his wine back to his native Sweden. The family’s Rockpile homestead and ranch grew to 4,000 acres by the early 1960s when all but 700 ridgetop acres were taken by the Army Corps of Engineers to develop Lake Sonoma. The family currently manages 310 vineyard acres in the Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Rockpile appellations. Clay Mauritson got the family into making wine when he returned after graduating the University of Oregon in 1997. He has made a variety of delicious Zinfandels and Petite Sirah. The Bordeaux blend, called the Buck Pasture, is the family’s most expensive wine, at $50 a bottle.

2007
Dark maroon color; captivating, rich black fruit, berry, violets nose; tight, rich, tart berry, violets, tart mulberry, pencil lead palate with firm, sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec). 92+ points

Red Grapes Image via Shutterstock 

prev 1 2 3 4

Mentioned in this article

Comments

  • Snooth User: poefar
    206246 1

    Great article. BLENDS for the nice price of less-than-$125.

    Very helpful.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM


  • Snooth User: rayeverett
    144418 19

    Excellent piece and seeing as how you managed to hit on several of my favorites, I'm all the more reinforced in my high opinions of these. And curse you for adding more to my list of must-trys! :-) Thanks again Richard!

    Feb 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM


  • Snooth User: JAB34
    1038844 40

    Have tried a few ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Still dont fit the budget!!!!

    Feb 19, 2013 at 7:42 PM


  • Snooth User: blackwa
    1131505 551

    How about the Madrigal Napa Valley Sonnet #63? A great Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon blend for just about $48.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 11:21 PM


  • Snooth User: moldavi33
    150558 5

    Justin's Isosceles is a very tasty bottle, but my preference is their Justification, which is a Cab Franc heavy Right Bank-style blend. Great fruits, impeccable balance, and only around $40 - $45 a bottle. My highest recommendations!

    Feb 20, 2013 at 11:20 AM


  • Snooth User: annwine
    296752 1

    The "Amelie" 75% Cab 25% Merlot from Mankas Hills Vineyards in the Suisun Valley 5 miles east of the southern slopes of Napa is one of the best buys at $14.00 a bottle.
    The 2005 won the Platinum award, in the 2008 Critics Challenge.

    Feb 21, 2013 at 11:47 PM


  • Snooth User: Gene Barry
    1124102 8

    I love the Trinchero Meritage from Napa, really tasty!

    Feb 23, 2013 at 4:26 PM


Add a Comment

Search Articles


Best Wine Deals

See More Deals »

Daily Wine WisdomMore Wine Tips








Snooth Media Network