2011 Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 13.6% $10

Moderately intense on the nose but showing fine balance with nuanced dark chocolate, cedary oak, violet, faint herb  and wild blackberry aromas. In the mouth this is a little edge and bright, very medium weight with fine layered flavors of black currant, plum, vanilla and toast. The tannins add to the edginess here, being very slightly rough around the edges though well within balance. On the backend more herbal and violet tones emerge adding a little complexity extending over the modest blueberry toned finish. There’s a lovely and refreshing tartness to this wine that helps it stand out from the crowd. 87pts

2011 De Majo Norante Cabernet Terra Degli Ocsi Molise, Italy 13% $11

Earthy and mineral on the nose with smoky overtones to the taut sour plum and red currant fruit. This is sapid on entry, delivering plenty of acid early in the mouth followed by a touch of salty minerality and slightly jammy red currant fruit. the tannins kick in quickly adding some tension in the mouth and adding a slightly woodsy element as well. This is slightly rustic but shows fine persistence of red fruit, sour cherry, red currant and a hint of pomegranate on the moderately long and attractively tannic finish. ot a big wine, this is well balanced, fresh and fairly complex at this price point. 87pts

2010 Tortoise Creek Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Cherokee Lane Lodi, California 13.9% $11

Definitely showing cedary oak on the nose but there’s also some nice soil, floral, and dried herb tones here adding a bit of detail to the small blackberry fruit. This is bright and juicy on entry, really nicely balanced with small tannins supporting attractive blueberry and blackberry fruit. There’s a little floral note in the mouth along with a little peppery spice that all integrate well on the palate and lead to a modest yet clean and refreshing finish with just a hint of licorice showing. This is really just what I would expect from a wine at this price point, though this is not particularly varietally correct it is delicious and well balanced. 87pts

2012 Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon Plus Mendoza Argentina 13.5% $10

Sweet and spicy on the nose with lots of ripe and juicy currant, pomegranate and tangelo tinged fruit wrapped up in licorice, toasty oak and sage aromas. A little soft on entry, this shows that same attractive spicy fruit character in the mouth exhibiting fine freshness and attractive complexity. There fruit gains a black currant edge in the mouth and shows some slightly angular tannins that remain within balance. There’s a nice sweet/tart note to the fruit on the finish, which the woodiness of the tannins becomes a bit obvious. This certainly tastes and feels like it costs more than $10, but for my palate it comes off as just a tad sticky. 87pts

2011 Trinity Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon California 13% $8

Weedy yet ripe with raspberry and blackcurrant fruit, this is definitely cabernet. Thyme, sage and roasted bell pepper all are going on in here with a bare hint of wood spice adding a little accent note. Many will think this is not ripe but this is in fact pretty classic Cabernet on the nose. Smooth and easy drinking, the weediness does translate a bit to the palate which shows some lovely firm black fruits covering nicely edgy tannins. This is neither fancy nor terribly complex but it is cabernet through and through. The finish gains a little edgy fruit before it fades showing good length and lovely tannins that just add some mouthgrab here. This is a fabulous value. 86pts