Cabernet Recommendations for Winter 2023

Cozy up with a glass of high-quality Cabernet that won't break the bank! Featuring our favorite Cabernet recommendations for 2023, along with notes from the producers.

Winter is here and on these freezing cold nights, nothing sounds better to us than a delicious glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. The recommendations below offer tremendous quality and value from ‘New World’ regions (most are coming from Napa Valley), within a category that has become overpriced in recent years. Cozy up with a glass of high-quality Cabernet that won’t break the bank!

2018 Catena Zapata Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza

92 Points, Vinous Media: From a combination of terroirs in the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, fermented separately, followed by aging for 18 months in French oak, the majority Cabernet Sauvignon combined with 7% Cabernet Franc, this is a textbook wine. Complex, with aromatic notes including red and black fruit, herbs and oak, it unfolds in layers…where the grippy tannins provide a precise, enlivening freshness. A surprising wine. Drink: 2020 – 2028. – Joaquín Hidalgo, August 2020

Notes from the Producer: Before the world recognized Catena’s Argentina as “malbec country”, the winery was known for its old-world style Cabernet Sauvignon born in the clay-soils of Agrelo. The family cherishes its historic Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in Agrelo and Tupungato, particularly for their ageability and classic flavors. Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Lot 3 of the La Pirámide vineyard, Lot 2 of the Domingo vineyard and Lot 2 of the Nicasia Vineyard. Elevage: 18 months in French oak barrels. Read more from Catena Zapata here.

Wine Specs:

Varietal: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc

Alcohol: 13.8 %

Total Acidity: 5.75 grams/liter

pH: 3.63

Unfined and unfiltered

 

 

2019 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

92 Points, James Suckling: Aromas of baked black fruit, chocolate and fresh thyme. Full-bodied with juicy black fruit. Succulent. Velvety tannins. I like the bright, carrying acidity here.

Tasting Notes from the Producer: The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful, full-bodied Napa Valley wine. On the nose, this wine has hints of cherry cola, vanilla, and dark fruit. The finish is a rounded mouthfeel that is persistent in the long and lingering opulent finish.

Wine Specs:

40% new French oak, 60% once-filled French oak.

Bottled September 2021.

14.9% ABV.

 

 

2019 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll District

97 Points, Decanter: Dark, sleek cassis fruit, ripe and layered, with notes of tobacco leaf, coffee bean, mocha and dried violet. Pretty, floral palate with a slightly smoky character. Ripe tannins, refreshing acidity and lovely eucalyptus and menthol on the lingering finish. A great example of the power and freshness of Cabernet Sauvignon. Plenty of time ahead. Blend : 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec

Tasting Notes from the Producer: Rich, deep red garnet color with aromas and flavors of black currant, ripe plum, and blackberry. Notes of lavender, cocoa, and leather are layered with black pepper and vanilla bean. Full-bodied and intense, this wine is balanced and well-structured with seamless acidity and firm tannins. This powerful wine is approachable and enjoyable now and will continue to evolve and show its personality over the next decade.

This wine pairs exceptionally well with dishes that include black pepper or thyme. These ingredients lift the flavors of our Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Winery Chef Chris Kennedy suggests pairing with our Prime Rib with Herb and Garlic Crust. Read more from Trefethen here.

 

2019 Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

94 Points, Vinous Media: The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown is a firm, classically built wine that is going to need a few years to come into its own. There is admirable depth as well as character. Red cherry/plum fruit, spice, tobacco and mocha lend quite a bit of aromatic nuance to this mid-weight, super-expressive Cabernet from Frog’s Leap. Drinking Window: 2025 – 2049. – Antonio Galloni, October 2021

Tasting Notes from the Producer: Occasionally, we like to say as winemakers that we would gladly hit a repeat button on a great vintage—and while usually meant in jest, the 2019 vintage gave us just such an opportunity. The 2019 growing season was long and warm, with cool nights, which helped to set the vines up beautifully for an extended harvest season. A little extra heat at harvest compared with the previous year gave the 2019 wines an extra dose of power and tannin, but the wine still abounds in the famous Rutherford ‘Dust’ – defined for us by a synergy of herbs and black fruit, tension between the flavors, and a long finish reminiscent of rough velvet. This powerful and delicious vintage will be one for the ages, and will in time develop all of the hallmarks of a wine that reflects our home here in Rutherford. I recommend a healthy decant if you decide to open a bottle early, and please cellar a few more for the long haul. Read more from Frog’s Leap here.

 

2015 Hayfork Lewelling Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena

94 Points, Jeb Dunnuck: Leading off the two 2015s, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Lewelling Ranch is the normal blend of 95% Cabernet and 5% Petit Verdot that spent 20 months in 70% new French oak. It has beautiful purity and elegance as well as perfumed notes of cassis, plums, spring flowers and chocolate. I love its purity of fruit and this layered, pretty, seamless 2015 is already impossible to resist, yet has 15+ years of prime drinking to go. There’s 730 cases and it’s well worth seeking out.

Notes from the Producer: Hayfork’s goal is to emphasize the importance of farming in winemaking. We strongly believe that the hands of the farmer in the field lay the foundation necessary to produce a quality wine. And we are proud to be part of a family whose past is deeply rooted in the soils of our land and valley. Our farming heritage runs deep, as my great-great-great-grandfather, John Lewelling, a horticulturist by trade, settled the St. Helena family ranch in 1864. Whether growing walnuts, prunes, pears or grapes, we have been continuously farming our land for six generations. Read more from Hayfork here.

 

2018 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District

93 Points, Wine Advocate: Composed of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District charges out of the gate with exuberant scents of boysenberries, blackcurrant cordial and warm black plums plus touches of bay leaves, damp soil, pencil shavings and sandalwood. The medium to full-bodied palate is bold, expressive and open for business with bags of juicy black fruit flavors and a velvety texture, finishing with an earthy kick and a burst of freshness. Drinking Window: 2020 – 2033. – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, November 2020

Notes from the Producer: The 2019 vintage was a magnificent year for Napa Valley. A frost-free and uniform bud break was followed by a cool wet spring that included three inches of rain in May. Luckily, the rain didn’t affect set and the weather turned warm and sunny for the duration of spring. Welcome warm nights in June, July, and August caught maturation back on schedule. Summer conditions were moderate, with warm days and cool nights, ideal for slow and steady grape maturation. The wine shows exceptional balance with concentrated, ripe fruit complemented by bright acidity and supple, yet intense, structure. Optimal ripeness was achieved thanks to an early autumn of consistently warm, but not hot, days. The pristine ripening conditions allowed for very intense fruit flavor concentrations. Read more from Cliff Lede here.

Wine Specs:

Composition: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot

Alcohol: 14.6%

Production: 6,812 cases

Bottling Date: July 2021

Release Date: February 2022

 

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