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American Cabernet Sauvignon.

StateWays' sister publication Beverage Dynamics publishes a list of wine recommendations, called Retailer Wine Selections, in every issue based upon written evaluations by its National Retailer Wine Panel. Each review includes brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine's retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). The following is a sampling of top AMERICAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON chosen by the National Retailer Wine Panel from its latest issue. If you're a control state official who specializes in wine and you'd like to be a member of the new StateWays wine panel, please email associate editor Kyle Swartz at

Five Stars

(96) Stewart Cellars Napa (California). Enjoy the work of Paul Hobbs at less money. Cellar-worthy choice. Rich and plush with even tannins. Deep, dark and brooding with a long finish. ($65)

(96) 2010 Gallo Estate Northern Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma CA). A dense ruby purple, the nose is dominated by lovely black berry and plum fruit, with just a hint of toasted oak. Solid on the palate, the wine is balanced by its acidity. A brilliant example of restraint and power in the bottle. Wonderful now, but capable of aging. ($95)

(96) Shypoke 2012 Calistoga (Napa Valley CA). An aromatic, powerful, yet elegant Cabernet aged in French oak. You'll swoon over the menage of blackberries and cassis. This impeccable Cab is simply delicious and worth every penny. ($55)

(95) 2010 Rocca Family Vineyards, Collinetta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley CA). From a vineyard located in the Coombsville AVA, just east of the city of Napa, this lovely example of a Napa Valley Cabernet is sure to please the most discerning of palates. Intensely dark in the glass, the nose is filled with black fruit, and hints of toast. Exceptionally well balanced, with a long finish. ($95)

(95) Brandlin 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder (Napa Valley CA). Blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc aged 22 months in French barriques, 50% new. A wine of amazing depth. Aromas of currant, plum, and blackberry mingle with floral nuances and a subtle earthiness. Rich, round black fruit flavors coat the palate with lovely sweet/tart acidity. Hints of smoke, spice, and terroir follow. Tannins are supple and in perfect balance with all components on the lengthy finish. ($65)

(95) Saint Helena Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley CA). Blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot. Estate grown. Native yeast fermentation and 22 months in three types of French oak, 70% new, add to the complexities of this fabulous wine. The bouquet is lush with hints of lilac, blueberry, and black cherry. The mouthfeel is rich with ripe black fruit flavors mingling with nuances of mocha, coffee, and sweet spices and a hint of "cigar box" on the end. Tannins are firm, in balance, and assure several years of development. ($75)

(94) 2012 Emblem Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley CA). From the Michael Mondavi family, this Napa Valley Cabernet has it all going on. Dark in the glass, with an outstanding nose, with lots of black fruit, spice, and toast. Lots of weight on the palate; the long finish maintains its balance throughout. ($60)

(93) 2012 Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley CA). From the central Napa Valley region, this Cabernet demonstrates balance and elegance. A dense ruby in the glass, the notes of dark fruit and toast are echoed on the powerful, yet balanced, palate. Lots of delicious fruit, from start to long finish. ($50)

(93) 2012 Northstar Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). From one of the Columbia Valley's most acclaimed wineries, this Cabernet exemplifies the potential of Washington wines. A dense purple in the glass, notes of dark fruit, spice, and toast rise from the glass. On the palate, the fruit is bright and clean, and the well-balanced finish lingers on for quite some time. ($41)

(93) B.R. Cohn Gold Label 2012 (California). Blend of 67% Napa County, 33% Sonoma County Rich, lush, generous Cabernet showing nuances of both Napa and Sonoma. Classic currant notes, dark fruits, mocha, plum and well-integrated acidity and tannins for full bodied smooth finish. ($42)

(93) Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). Complex and satisfying with plush fruits of black cherry and nuances of espresso and bittersweet chocolate. A great match with short ribs, veal dishes and hard cheeses. ($45)

(93) The Counselor Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). This Cabernet is wonderfully complex with many different flavors that sneak up on you like cocoa, tobacco and currant. There is intensity to this wine, which with time turns into velvety goodness. ($32)

(93) 2012 Red Mare Cabernet Napa (California). This concentrated, attractive Cabernet offers saturated flavors of cassis, baking spices, leather, and dark chocolate that integrate nicely with the wine's broad, expansive finish. ($50)

(93) 2012 Amavi Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). 100% estate grown, the nose is bursting with blueberry and baking spices. The palate is layered with cassis, currants, and black licorice. Everything is brought together by racy minerality and soft dusty tannins on the finish. A delicious glass of wine--perfect for summer grilling. ($46)

(92) 2012 Rubus Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley CA). 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet for under $40, Rubus is an absolute steal. Ripe blackberry, currants, and nuances of tobacco and vanilla on the palate. The finish is long and impressive with notes of chocolate and black cherries. Finishes with just a touch of fine silky tannins. ($25)

(92) Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet (Washington). Big and bold wine that opens to lots of inviting black cherry and a touch of vanilla. Touch of minerality and cocoa. Serious Cabernet for a reasonable price. ($15)

(92) 2011 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley CA). A winner from a difficult vintage, dry and rich with complex black raspberry and black cherry notes, fine tannins and a long finish.

(92) Katherine Goldschmidt Crazy Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (California). A small-production Cabernet from famed wine maker Nick Goldschmidt. The elegance of this wine is perfectly balanced with the controlled berry fruit that wants to jump out of the bottle but doesn't. This wine is satisfying from start to finish, and is one of the best Cabernet values out there. ($18)

(92) Eaglewood Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Rutherford (California). The bouquet is a bit subdued, but hints at a lovely array of ripe red berry, black cherry and currant aromas lightly framed with mild oak. It is smooth and supple on the palate, displaying excellent balance and builds in depth across the palate, with black currant, cherry, blackberry and plum flavors, and subtle spice notes in the background. A steely edge indicates firm tannins, but they are very well integrated. ($35)

(92) Groth Oakville Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Dense and rich with a concentrated core of black cherry, blackberry, dark plum and blueberry flavors that are supported by hints of herbs and cedary oak. The long finish is supported by a touch of vanilla and polished tannins. ($49)

(92) 2012 Mathew Joseph Cabernet (Napa Valley CA). Notes of cherry and chocolate are abundant on the nose. Full flavors of ripe cherries lead to a well-balanced, lingering finish. ($25)

(92) 2012 Philippe Lorraine Cabernet Reserve Napa (California). A full-bodied wine defined by its beautiful purity, it possesses captivating flavors of blackberries, cedar, cocoa, and earth that weave together to make a wine of outstanding complexity. ($40)

(92) 2012 Monticello Cabernet Jefferson Napa (California). Rich to its core, this Cabernet offers supple aromas of blueberry and dark chocolate followed by luscious flavors of black currant, baking spices, and savory earth that echo throughout the long finish. ($40)

(92) 2012 Ranch House Cabernet Napa (California). Beautiful blueberry, black cherry, baking spice, and cigar box flavors cascade over the palate and weave together in a fabulously complex medley; sweet tannins and spicy oak add further nuance. ($30)

(92) 2012 Santo Stefano Cabernet Rutherford (California). Boasting flavors of black cherry, dark chocolate and spice, this Cabernet stands out for its rich, smooth profile; dusty tannins and an opulent mouth-feel a make for a wonderfully pleasurable finish. ($30)

(92) 2013 Seven Rings Cabernet Oak Knoll (California). Red fruits intermixed with blackberries, spring flowers, and spicy cedar skillfully contribute the complex palate; a richly textured mouth-feel and firm acidity provide great pleasure as well as excellent balance. ($29)

(92) 2012 Peju Province Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley CA). A great example of Napa Valley Cabernet. Powerful, yet balanced. Intense, but with elegance. The palate, with its rich, dark fruit, goes on for a long time; the finish balancing fruit and acidity. A great wine, across the board. ($50)

(92) 2012 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley CA). A well-balanced example of talented grape growing and winemaking. A dark ruby in the glass, the black berry, sweet cherry, and spice notes rise from the glass. The wine has weight, but is not heavy on the palate. Exceptionally well balanced; enjoy this with a wide range of foods. ($28)

(92) 2012 Paul Dolan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendocino County CA). From one of the leaders of the organic movement, this Mendocino Cabernet shows restraint rather than excess; elegance rather power. The bight fruit on the noise and palate make this a very food friendly and accessible wine. ($25)

(92) 2012 Beniziger Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County CA). The Benziger family has been one of Sonoma's sustainability pioneers, with their thought-out vineyard and winery practices. This care and attention to detail are demonstrated by the quality of this wine. Showing lots of dark fruit, berry, plum, and cherry on the nose, the palate confirms the freshness and energy. The finish is long and balanced, with plenty of finesse and class. ($22)

Four Stars

(91) Cross Springs Lake County Cabernet 2012 (California). This rich, polished Cabernet exhibits layers of cassis, black cherry, currant and wild berry flavors that are intense and focused. The finish is long framed by a hint of spice and mouth-coating tannins. ($18)

(91) 2012 Shannon Ridge High Elevation Cabernet (Lake County CA). Aromas of dark berries and hints of oak spill from the glass. Full bodied and well balanced with flavors of dark, chocolate, vanilla and ripe cherries. A tremendous value. ($15) BD

(91) 2013 Rock View Cabernet Alexander Valley (California). A concentrated Cabernet that is brimming with rich flavors of black raspberry, figs, cassis liqueur, and spicy oak; it finishes with silky smooth tannins and an exuberantly supple mouth-feel. ($30)

(91) 2011 Gordon Brothers Cabernet (Washington). Silky-textured with nicely integrated oak that serves as an excellent backdrop to the flavors of creme de cassis, white pepper, and lavender; it finishes with a seamless acidity that provides great structure and balance. ($30)

(91) 2013 Truth & Valor Cabernet Paso Robles (California). Broad, rich flavors of creme de cassis, plum, and dark chocolate surround the palate of this full-bodied Cabernet; fine-grained tannins add additional character to the already nuanced, lengthy finish. ($25)

(91) 2012 Olema Cabernet (California). A pleasantly nuanced Cabernet with plenty of currants, cedar, and black fruit flavors; it finishes with tart cherry and light minerals. ($26)

(91) 2013 Slingshot Cabernet Napa (California). Inviting and approachable this Cabernet has gorgeous flavors of dark berries, red plums, and black berries; it finishes round and vibrant with grainy tannins. ($25)

(91) 2012 Airfield Estates Runway Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). Ruby and garnet in the glass, the nose has plenty of dark berry, and cherry, with a hint of vanilla and toast. The palate is a reflection of the nose, with a long elegant finish. An excellent Washington state Cabernet, and an outstanding value. ($19)

(91) 2013 Line Shack Cabernet San Antonio Valley (California). A full-bodied and elegant Cabernet with a lovely core of sweet tannins that provide a structural backbone to the rich flavors of blackberries, plums, and mocha. ($17)

(91) 2013 Wildhaven Cabernet Horse Heaven Hills Reserve (Washington). Stylish aromas of black currants, blueberries, and spicy oak lead to a palate laced with blackberries and chocolate; light tannins and a crisp finish provide nice structure. ($20)

(91) 2013 Courtney Benham Cabernet Napa (California). Lovely flavors of dark fruit, cassis, cedar, and spice meet with hints of oak and robust cigar box; full-bodied and bold while maintaining an elegant profile. ($24)

(91) Duekhorn Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Napa Valley (California). Possesses a medium-full bouquet of ripe red fruits, with currant and cherry leading the way and blackberry lingering in the wings. Medium-full on the palate too, which shows off some firm tannins but it stays well balanced as the ripe red fruits still show through quite nicely. A touch of cocoa pops up in the finish. ($75)

Rating System

****** Five Stars (92-100)

A top-flight wine. Superior in taste and character and providing an outstanding price/value relationship.

**** Four Stars (86-91)

A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep corning back.

*** Three Stars (80-85)

An above-average wine, at a reasonable price point, which many customers will enjoy.

** Two Stars (70-79)

An average wine.

* One Star (50-69)

A below-average wine.
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Title Annotation:Retailer Wine Selections
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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