Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Cabernet Sauvignon You Can Find Anywhere

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)
Comments: Smoky and slightly nutty on the nose with a hint of earth and dried leaves covered by fresh red cherry and red currant fruit with just a hint of mint. Just a little on the young side, this shows some tension on entry with polished yet abundant tannins and integrated acidity keeping the core of rich, slightly tactile but ultimately fresh fruit under wraps. The oak is adding a nutty layer here, and some lovely spice notes that come out on the back end along with red cherry and currant fruit. This really builds nicely to the long finish which shows lovely interplay of wood spice, fresh fruit and minty notes. Elegant and polished old school California Cabernet. 92pts
Average price: $60.89 from 3 stores
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2 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Alden Vineyards (2010)
Comments: Very nice on the nose with a wonderful bouquet of earth, vanilla, herb, black currant and tomato leaf aromas. This smells like Cabernet should smell. This is very nicely put together with plenty of power but that power is delivered in a rather linear, structured style that brings together black plum, black cherry and black currant fruit over a base of small but firm tannins. The oak is really very well integrated, adding complexity without becoming obvious. This finishes with good length and that nice spicy underlay with hints of vanilla and licorice spicing things up a bit. This is awfully good for the money. 90pts
Previously available for $15.99
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3 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (2010)
Comments: A little firm and meaty on the nose with very tight notes of eucalyptus, tobacco, bitter chocolate, violet and black pepper over hints of black currant. This is really very tight but you can see the fine balance here as this is already seamless with subtle complexity in the mouth. Everything is a bit low key but present with fine blackberry and plum fruit streaked with chocolate, vanilla and gently herbal spices. Air allows the wine to begin to release some attractively floral and spicy inner mouth perfumes that ride over the fruit on the moderately long, succulent finish which shows some blueberry and spiced plum notes. This needs plenty of air or another year in the bottle, but has everything it needs in a fairly refined package. 90pts
Average price: $19.99 from 112 stores
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4 St. Supéry Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (2009)
Comments: Spicy and sweet on the nose with big toasted oak aromas over a base of black currant fruit. A bit matte in the mouth, this is fairly powerful and rich with dense flavors of pencil lead, smokey oak, black currant and candied black plum fruit all topped with a nice hint of mint. The finish is dry and chewy, this is a wine you could age over the short term 2-5 years, and a bit of time certainly would help to tame some of these tannins. Today this is a dark, inky, richly flavored wine that relies on oak as much as fruit for flavor. A powerhouse at this price. 89pts
Average price: $29.99 from 116 stores
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5 Rutherford Ranch Zinfandel (2010)
Comments: Spicy and a bit weedy on the nose with lovely hints of vanilla, tomato and herbs framing the lightly spicy red cherry fruit aromas that pick up a dusting of cocoa with some air. A touch soft in the mouth, this does have an attractive texture, rather broad and a bit chewy but at the same time transparent and fresh. the Flavors are a bit simple, moderately oaky red cherry fruit with some nice spice and herb accents along with milk chocolate on the finish which turns a cranberry toned. It has everything it should and is a lovely very accessible example of Merlot. Easy to drink and understand with lovely freshness. 88pts
Average price: $19.99 from 122 stores
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6 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon California (2009)
Comments: Fresh and fruit driven on the nose if not fruity with red currant and wild herb notes supported by vanilla, dill and coconut oak. Rather fresh on entry, this layers on black cherry and blackberry fruit over well-measured oak that adds some nuanced savory notes without being too assertive. The tannins are a bit dry, which keeps this firm and fresh right through the firm finish where the wood becomes more obvious, but the black cherry fruit with hints of dried minty herbs never looses the upper hand. A fine little Cab for the money. 87pts
Average price: $32.93 from 2 stores
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7 Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve-Wls South Australia Australia Reds Shiraz South Australia Australia Orlando Wines (2009)
Comments: Decidedly leafy and herbal on the nose with fresh, raw white oak aromas over a base of red currant fruit. Rather smooth, well-balanced and transparent in the mouth with a nice pop of blackberry and vanilla early on the palate followed by more typical currant flavors. The tannins are firm but well-managed, remaining a supporting role here. This does display a fine edge of Cabernet typicality with its gentle herbal top note. An elegant, fresh and easy drinking wine at this price point. 85pts
Previously available for $19.99
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8 Folie a Deux Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley (2009)
Comments: Tight on the nose with minty top notes and slow to open aromas of coffee, mocha, boysenberry and black currant. This is a touch low in acidity which gives the impression of both a weighty and fruity/sweet wine. Very smooth on the palate with firm tannins covered by considerable, almost grapey boysenberry, black plum and black cherry fruit with some coffee note for complexity. This is a big wine, rich and fun to drink but it does lack a little liveliness on the palate and some nuance. The finish adds in some blueberry notes before yielding to sweet, toasted oak spices. 88pts
Average price: $26.69 from 1 store
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9 J. Lohr Wildflower (2010)
Comments: Red fruit, vanilla, herbs and toasted spices come together on a nose that is fresh and well-balanced. Rather firm and dry in the mouth, there's an underlying minerality here that adds depth to the palate. The tannins are slightly austere, balancing out the fruit ripe with wild cherry, plum and pomegranate flavors. The back end shows some wood spice which becomes obvious on the long, slightly sticky, jammy wild cherry finish which shows a bit of peppery spice as well. A solid wine for the money. 87pts
Average price: $18.99 from 2 stores
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10 Mc Manis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (2009)
Comments: A little sawdust with creamy vanilla and cocoa accents combine with a fine herbaceous note over blueberry fruit on the nose. This is pretty bright and juicy in the mouth with lots of peppery wood tannins and spicy allspice and cinnamon accents adding some complexity to the simple but fresh red berry, cherry fruit on the palate. The finish is a bit hot and dry with a nice blueberry finale. A little rustic but neither thick nor heavy. 84pts
Average price: $8.99 from 1 store
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11 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa (2008)
Comments: Light and spicy with fresh oak aromas over red raspberry and cherry fruit, not yet complex and fairly subdued. A touch loosely knit in the mouth with integrated acidity and soft, plush tannins underpinning a lovely, open core of red fruit. The oak is well-integrated, serving as a foundation for the fruit and building in intensity and complexity on the palate. The back end shows a touch of meatiness leading to a fresh, slightly herbal and nicely taut finish. Restrained and easy going, this is ready to drink today, though it might gain some complexity over the next 2-5 years. 91pts
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12 Mondavi Napa Reserve Cabernet (2008)
Comments: Ripe and full on the nose with cocoa and mocha top notes. Plenty of gently leafy black currant fruit and a touch of pickle barrel oak. Entering the mouth with a tea-like complexity, this is a touch soft and amply endowed with tannins but at the same time it delivers notable complexity with those tea-like tannins. Plenty of spice from the oak, fairly fresh red cherry, plum and blackberry fruit and a hint of eucalyptus on the back end and through the fairly long and spicy finish that end with some medicinal black cherry notes. Not my style, but this should prove to be very popular with the more is better crowd. 88pts
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13 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma (2009)
Comments: Rich mocha, toast, leather and vanilla aromas top a core of slightly herbal black currant and spicy plum fruit. Round and opulent on entry with soft acidity, this quickly turns inky and tough on the palate with plenty of wood tannins and an extracted feel. Chewy and dark, with wild cherry, plum and blackberry flavors all wrapped up in copious wood spice, this is a big, intense wine that finishes with lots of tannin and power, even revealing a bit more zippiness of acidity that the palate seems to deliver. Big, chewy and powerful, there isn't a lot of nuance or detail here. 88pts
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14 Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Special Select Vintners Reserve (2009)
Comments: Lots of dill and vanilla on the nose covers up some of the detail of the raspberry jam undertones. This is soft and smooth with super polished tannins and low acidity lending this a bit of mouth-filling richness. Though not sticky, this does lack some freshness, delivering ripe cherry and plum flavors wrapped in soft, creamy chocolate and cinnamon spiced nuances. A wine of texture more than flavor, easy to drink and a safe bet for a holiday gift. 86pts
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15 Bogle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon California (2009)
Comments: Sweet smelling with dates and dried fruit aromas over a base of carob, vanilla and spicy oak. Round, a touch soft and fairly full bodied in the mouth, this is smooth and easy to drink with a simple balance of vanilla and spice flavors from oak, date and black currant fruit flavors. A little dull and short on the finish, though it does end with some spice, vanilla cream and strawberry fruit. 83pts
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