Top California Cabernets

CrushBrew.com Explores California Cabernets

With California Cabernet considered one of the top selling, most-liked red wines in the nation, it’s no surprise that there are a number of contenders vying for the top. California’s Cabernets are a product of the state’s warm climate and the bountifully rich and full-bodied grapes the weather produces. In fact, there are over 75,000 acres of Cabernet grapes planted in the state. Whether grown in Napa, Sonoma, or Santa Ynez, from a wide array of vintages in the budget category to the most celebrated and costly Cabernet, here are some excellent choices for experiencing the best in California Cabernets.

Coming from Napa Valley, Pine Ridge Fortis Cabernet is redolent with the flavor of raspberry, oak, and vanilla, a refined mix of tastes. With a price tag of $140, the 2009 vintage is to be savored; with medium tannins, it does well in the cellar, too. Also in Napa are the Cabernet choices crafted by Seavey Vineyards. One highlight is their 2011 Cabernet, priced at $110. The grapes for this wine come from a late harvest at the sunny top of the vineyard, and subjected to whole berry fermentation, rather than being crushed or pumped. Aged in French Oak, this Cabernet is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, and is considered a top-of-the-line Cab, with strong notes of rose, smoke, cedar, cassis, and dark berries. It too is considered optimal for drinking now, or keeping cellared for ten to twenty-five years. Seavey also offers a 2012 Caravina Cabernet, more moderately priced at $60.00, and containing 3% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot, also French oak aged. This Cabernet features flavors of strawberry, raspberry and red liquorice-edged with cinnamon and cocoa.

Oenophiles willing to splurge may consider another Cabernet from Napa that bears a steeper price of $200: the 2008 Josephs Phelps Insignia Rich with flavors of blackberry, plum and mocha, this wine is both dark and complex. The Chappellet Winery has been crafting Cabernet since 1967, and it’s current offering of a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon provides a dense and delicious taste of black fruit and oak at a mid-range $56.00 price tag. In the same price range is the 2007 St. Supéry Élu, a Napa Valley favorite priced at $65. Black cherry, plum, and blackberry, with a hint of cedar, are the tastes that are a part of the dense flavor of this wine.

Outside Napa and its renowned Cabernet, there are plenty of stellar Cab choices throughout the state. If cost-saving is important, but flavor is a must, there’s the superior 2008 Heller Estate Meritage from Carmel Valley, priced at just $25, and packed with dry fruity flavor that calls up notes of plum and blackberry, dark chocolate and coffee. Carmel Valley’s Heller Estate offers a 2009 vintage for $22, with mocha, oak, anise and blackberry flavors. Santa Barbara County’s Ballard and Happy canyons are home to the perfect terroir for Cabernet grapes, and one of the most reasonable is the $22.00 2012 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This glowing red is dry, fruity and edged with clean oak and sweet blackberry flavors. With only 486 cases produced and a mid-range price tag of $65.00, the 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the Grassini Family Vineyards features grapes from Happy Canyon and a flavor of black currents and black raspberries, with hints of vanilla and mocha.

With top choices like these, selecting a satisfying, interesting Cabernet is virtually a California imperative. In short, the golden state continues to be the source of great reds.

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