Wine Ratings: The Best Cabernet Sauvignon of 2019

For the latest round of our National Retailer Wine Panel reviews, we asked panelists — beverage alcohol retail owners and managers —to rate Cabernet Sauvignon, any style from anywhere in the world.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which can vary from store to store and market to market). Unless noted otherwise, the price reflects a 750-ml. bottle. If you’re a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you’re interested in participating in the panel, please contact editor Kyle Swartz at or 203-855-8499 x225.

Rating System

Five Stars (100-92): A top-flight wine, superior in taste and character, and providing a superior price/value ratio.

Four Stars (91-86): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.

Five Stars

(98) Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet 2015 (CA)

From one of Napa Valley’s longtime iconic producers, their top wine is an outstanding combination of dark fruit, power and elegance. A spectacular representation of Napa Valley winemaking. It is intense, and the long, lingering finish echoes the quality for quite some time. ($145)

(98) Alexander Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard 2015 (CA)

With a history that dates back to the ‘70’s, this limited-production wine is sourced from a single five-acre plot and named for the original schoolhouse on site. 100% cab, aged 24 months in oak. Rich, supple, and ‘chewy’. Vanilla, dark chocolate and dark fruits dominate the nose. This and a prime cut of beef — no sides needed. ($64.99)

(97) Ashes & Diamonds ‘Red Hen Vineyard’ Cabernet 2016 (CA)

On the palate this is beautifully structured around a medium body with fine tannins and lovely acidity at its core, keeping it bight and lively through the finish. Aromas of red berries, spices, and dried rose petals make this Napa Valley wine a stunner that will develop for years to come. ($99.99)


(97) Kanonkop Simonsberg-Stellenbosch 2014 (South Africa)

Beautifully structured, this cabernet exudes quality and intensity. The nose is dominated by black fruit, with hints of oak influence and other spices. The long finish showcases the balance of the wine. A keeper, aging it will reward those who are patient. ($47.49)

(97) Becklyn Cellars Cabernet 2016 (CA)

An elegant bouquet of chocolate, vanilla, and cassis on the nose. The layers and tannin integration make this Napa Valley wine one of the best of the vintage. $74.99

(97) Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cépages 2015 (CA)

With grapes gathered from across some of the finest vineyards in Sonoma County, this blend of five varieties is predominantly cabernet sauvignon. Elegance with structure might be the most apt description for this serious, intense wine. The dark fruit nos, and concentration on the palate are followed by a long, balanced finish. ($85)

(97) Reyneke Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (South Africa)

Quite the powerhouse here. The wine is intense in color, with an impressive nose of intense black fruit, plus hints of spice. It has a solid backbone of acidity, with great structure, finesse and aging potential. ($135.99)

(96) Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

The gapes for this outstanding cabernet were sourced in the northern part of Napa Valley, which produces wines of intensity and saturation. Quite opaque in the glass, the nose is dominated by black fruit, with notes of wood and spice. The dark fruit coats the palate, with layers of appealing black fruit, followed by a bright, balanced finish. ($55)

(96) Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

This wine is made by one of Napa Valley’s most dependable producers, using grapes from select vineyard sites. Quite dark in the glass, the nose is dominated by focused dark fruits, and hints of spice and oak influence. On the palate, the wine is broad and intense, finishing with elegance and subtle chocolate notes. ($49.99)

(96) Animo Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (CA)

An intense purple in the glass, the nose posses a lot of black and red fruit, with an intriguing background of mixed spices and chocolate. The velvety texture complements the dark, rich fruit. The finish is well balanced, and quite long. ($85)

(95) Vina Alicia 2011 (Argentina)

A lush blend of cabernet sauvignon and 12% cab franc, hand-harvested from old vines in Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, and aged 12 months in oak barrels. Full bodied but smooth as silk, dig into the black current, raspberry and chocolate. Chicken mole, anyone? ($28.95)

(95) Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor 2014 (Chile)

Stunning selection to enjoy now, or cellar for a few years. Concentrated and aromatic blend of cabernet, cabernet franc, merlot and petite verdot. Silky and balanced black fruits and tannins. Don Melchor gives Bordeaux a run for its money. ($125)

(95) Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

From a producer and family that have both contributed to the reputation of Napa Valley for generations, this cabernet is extremely dark in the glass. The nose is an attractive combination of ripe dark fruit, with cherry and blackberry, plus notes of chocolate. The plate echoes the nose, with saturated fruit and good acidity, creating a long balanced finish. ($39)

(95) Cresta Velia Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

A lovingly crafted wine from a relative newcomer to the Napa Valley scene. The intense dark color in the glass is followed by an equally intense nose of dark fruit, plus hints of dark spice. On the palate, the flavors are also intense, with a luxurious texture. The finish is well balanced, with bright notes. ($95)

(94) William Randell Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Australia)

A dark ruby red in the glass, the wine has a lovely nose of dark fruit and minty hints. On the palate, it possesses robust dark fruit, with good tannins, and finishes with great balance. ($49.95)

(94) Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (WA)

Produced from fruit gathered across a combination of great vineyard locations, it is quite dark in the glass. Aromas of spicy dark fruit dominate the nose, with flavors reflecting those characteristics. The finish is well balanced, with refreshing bright acidity. ($36)

(94) Gehricke Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

Intensely dark in the glass, the nose has lots and lots of pretty black cherry, and touches of spice. In the mouth, the wine is mouth-filling, with fruit, texture and good acidity. The finish is long, and as the fruit fades, attractive spice notes linger upon the palate. ($35)

(94) Daou Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (CA)

Aged in 60% new French oak barrels, this Paso Robles wine is a deep, rimmed ruby red in the glass. Intense cherry and red berry aromas, along with hints of pepper, tobacco and vanilla. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering concentrated ripe currant, Bing cherry and spice flavors that deepen slowly and turn sweeter on the back half. Fine-grained tannins build on a long finish that leaves behind a suggestion of baked cherries. ($29.99)

(94) Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

A great blend of old school-styled Napa cabernet currently showing an austere structure with an herb and graphite note, then fleshing out with a creamy, darker berry fruit profile and sweet vanilla and spice notes from two years aging in American and French oak. ($75)

(93) Black Stallion Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

This 100% cabernet sauvignon is aged in oak barrel, which leads to aromas of very ripe blackcurrants and blackberries. On the palate, you are greeted with cedar, toast and violet. With its rocky minerality and lovely concentration, the palate is balanced by a great freshness and round, well-integrated tannins. Wonderful. ($26.99)

(93) Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (CA)

Fairly dark in the glass, the nose of this Paso Robles wine reveals plenty of black fruit, and hints of high-toned spice. Good weight and tannins dominate the taste, with a similar fruit profile, and hints of chocolate. A real bargain in this competitive category. ($14.99)

(93) Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

A 40-year tradition of excellence continues with winemaker Renee Ary and this classic Napa Cab. Prime sourcing from their own seven-estate vineyard lots is blended with fruit from top valley growers. Aged 16 months in oak, with expressive black fruit notes, softer tannins, hints of spice and pepper. Ready to enjoy now or lay down if you’re patient enough to wait. ($99.99)

(93) Sextant Cabernet 2017 (CA)

This big Paso wine has a lot of energy and texture and, accordingly, a nice, filling mouth feel with a black fruit-centric palate and nose. Blackberry and black cherry notes meld with the heavy oak notes and then the finish is fitting this big wine. ($22.99)

(93) Truth & Valor Cabernet 2017 (CA)

A grippy Paso wine with fresh red fruit-driven notes from initial taste to finish and a full body. The smooth, powerhouse tannins make a notable finish that just keeps going. ($25.99)

(93) Kicker Cane Alexander Valley 2017 (CA)

Rich, deep and dense, this has fantastic mashed raspberry and strawberry notes that flood all flavors. There is a mineral element here that is reminiscent of some competitors from the Medoc or Graves. Excellent depth and finish. ($19.99)

(93) Courtney Benham Cabernet 2017 (CA)

This approachable Napa opens up quickly and burns bright! Smooth and powerful is the name of the game here, with good oak structure holding the whole thing together. ($19.99)

(92) Kicker Cane Cabernet Sonoma 2017 (CA)

Blue and black fruits combine with licorice aromas and flavors. The wine is ripe and has nice, rounded tannins. Concentrated and complex, the oak notes are there, but black fruits dominate and define the wine. ($16.99)

(92) Paso Ranches Cabernet 2017 (CA)

This Paso cabernet has plenty of dark-black fruit notes and a lot of finesse with balanced uplifting acidity on the finish. The grippy tannins complement the powerful fruit notes and provide a long finish. ($18.99)

(92) Line Shack Cabernet 2016 (CA)

Aromas of black currant and blackberry give you a preview of how dark this San Antonio Valley wine gets on the palate. The black fruit-heavy nose and mouth-feel is complemented by a savory note to this wine that adds complexity. ($17.99)

(92) Iter Cabernet 2017 (CA)

This full-bodied, red fruit-dominated Napa wine has prominent notes of raspberry and Bing cherry, along with oak notes that linger on the finish. The oak elements give backbone to this bright, fruit-forward wine and make it more interesting and balanced. ($19.99)

(92) Cyrus Alexander Valley Vineyards 2014 (CA)

Winemaker Kevin Hall continues the Sonoma winery’s Bordeaux homage with this vintage’s 20th release. Nine different vineyard lots, the five classic varietals and 24-month oak aging all help to create the ultimate offering from AVV. Deep rich color, subtle oak, balanced tannins and rich dark chocolate and licorice notes. Very elegant wine — share with your best friends! ($84.99)

(92) 90+ Cellars Lot 148 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

Amazing value for the money. This gem could sell for much more! Lip-smacking, alluring and full-bodied cabernet overflowing with black currant, cherries and vanilla. ($16.99)

(92) Revelry Cabernet 2016 (WA)

Revelry has done it again! Deep red fruits and easy tannins make this Walla Walla cabernet the perfect weeknight dinner wine. Sixteen months in French oak really give this wine a lot of depth and balance you don’t see at this price. ($17.99)

(92) Castoro Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

Ripe fresh raspberry and strawberry aromas frame the broad shoulders of this value-driven cabernet. This is what Paso Robles is all about. ($19.99)

(92) Novelty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (WA)

Pioneering winemaker Mike Januik made the move north form California in the early 80’s, and his depth of experience certainly shows. His cab/merlot blend is sourced from the famed Stillwater Creek vineyard and other prime Columbia Valley sources, including Red Mountain. Aged for 20 months in French and American oak, with rich concentrated black fruit, plus hints of vanilla and spice. Wonderful alternative to California for those wine drinkers ready to branch out from their current favorites. ($47.99)

(92) Crimson Ranch Cabernet 2017 (CA)

Aromas of red fruit and spice notes mixed with some blackberry and smooth mocha notes on the palate showcase how interesting this wine is. The bright savory notes are accompanied by silky mouthfeel and a long finish. ($14.99)

(92) Mercer Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (WA)

This cabernet sauvignon — blended with syrah, petit verdot, merlot and malbec — gives aromas of rich black fruit with notes of baked blackberries, spice cabinet and earthy undertones. The lush fruit carries through in the mouth. Soft, well-integrated tannins give structure to the wine while maintaining an elegant, balanced mouth feel, with a soft, velvety lingering finish. This wine shows great expression of the terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills. ($15.99)

(92) Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

This full-bodied, 100% cabernet sauvignon is aged in toasted French oak barrels. This dense, velvety wine has aromas of black fruit jumping from the glass. Vanilla and ripe black currants dance on the palate with anise, black fruit and cassis on the finish. Not for the faint of heart! ($23.99)

Four Stars

(91) Joseph Carr Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

Consistent quality, year after year. Juicy on the palate with red cherries, subtle vanilla, toasty oak and soft tannins. ($15.99)

(91) Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

Classic old-style Napa cab…100% varietal, sourced from the Tenma vineyard at the north end of the valley. Hand-harvested/sorted, with a 19-month aging program. Very balanced, great black cherry fruit, smooth lingering finish. Beautiful pairing of art and science! ($69.99)

(91) Mina Mesa Cabernet 2017 (CA)

A smooth Paso wine, the aromas are fruity and dark with raspberry and black cherry notes. The palate matches, adding in vanilla oak notes to the mix. The lengthy finish is impressive. ($10.99)

(91) Carson Ridge Cabernet 2017 (CA)

A bold mouth-filling Paso cabernet that is very rich and loaded with red fruit aromas and flavors. There is a silky-smooth texture harnessed by an energetic acidity. ($10.99)

(90) Alexander Valley Vineyards Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

Twin sister to the AVV cab but done in a certified organic style. Sourced from a single-vineyard program started in 2008, this current release shows remarkable depth and complexity. IMHO, a slightly more interesting version of the regular AVV cab. Rich texture and mouthfeel, earthy dark fruit notes, balanced acidity and a silky elegant finish. ($34.99)

(90) J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 (CA)

Director of winemaking Steve Peck highlights the great fruit produced in Paso Robles with this beautiful wine that adds just a kiss of syrah to a superbly balanced blend. Primarily sourced from 30-year-old estate fruit. Stainless fermentation is complimented by a 12-month aging in American oak. Over delivers for the price with rich black fruit. Great complexity for such a young wine. ($26.99)

(90) 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (WA)

Rich, juicy-red with aromas of dark cherry, black currant, plus subtle hints of spice. Balanced oak and tannins. Great value. ($10.99)

(90) Midnight 2016 (CA)

Complex and brooding, fully integrated tannins support dark berries and plum. A bit of spice makes this Paso Robles wine a perfect match for a steak with balsamic barbecue sauce. ($24)

(89) Canvasback, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (WA)

Winemaker Brian Rudin continues his winning streak of wines from the famed Red Mt. district. Sourcing from their own Longwinds vineyard, he continues the very successful Duckhorn formula of adding other key site producers to create a new classic for Washington. Aged 20 months in oak. Bright, creamy and bursting with strawberry, plum and cherry notes. ($59.99)

(89) Roth Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (CA)

A sturdy Alexander Valley red with plenty of red currant and cassis, amended by black pepper notes and some cocoa on the lengthy finish. ($25)

(88) Mitolo “Jester” Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia)

From a cool site in McLaren Vale in southern Australia with oceanic influences. Menthol, mint and sage leaf bring loads of interest to this engaging wine. 25% of the cabernet is dried in the Amarone style, giving the wine a bit more intensity. ($22)

(88) Milbrandt Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (WA)

This dark, complex Columbia Valley wine is 75% cab, 24% merlot and 1 % petite verdot. Made by the Milbrandt Family, one of the Washington State originals, it smacks of black cherry, currants and a touch of floral. It works with pizza or your favorite grilled meat. ($12.95)


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