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Cabernets that captivate.

For this issue, we asked members of the Cheers National Wine Pane! to recommend some Cabernet Sauvignon. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine's retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you're an on-premise or retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Melissa Dowling at 203-855-8499 ext. 223, or email her at MDowling@SpecialtyIM.com.

(99) J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon 7 Oaks 2010 (California). The Paso Robles AVA has been producing Napa quality wines at affordable prices. This is from the Lohr vineyard series. It's 99% cab with a touch of syrah, and aged in French oak for 18 months. Rich, dense, with soft tannins. Coffee and hazelnut, with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. ($39.99)

(96) The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Sourcing from the famed Alexander Valley, this is a no-holds-barred cab: rich and voluptuous. Elegant in style with beautiful brambly fruit notes and a hint of cinnamon. Aged 22 months in oak. Sage, smoke, and raspberries all lead to a smooth lingering finish. ($76.99)

(95) Mark Ryan Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Opaque purple color followed by a sweet, ripe nose of black currants, floral scents, licorice, and vanillin; exhibiting plenty of cassis fruit, this pure, dense, concentrated, full-bodied yet elegant wine should drink well for 8 to 10 years. ($50)

(95) Obelisco Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Washington State). Grown on a small, 30-acre vineyard in red granite; full bodied and rich with a velvety mouth feel; dark cherry, raspberry, and ripe currant with a dusty and restrained tannins on the finish; beautiful. ($43)

(95) Lucas and Lewellen Cote del Sol Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This is Lucas and Lewellen's reserve offering from their own Valley View vineyard in Santa Barbara. Cab with just 8% syrah blended in, it is aged 24 months in French oak. Exhibits a rich softness, with subtle tannins and a smooth lingering finish. Jammy, juicy, with touches of cherry and currants. ($39.99)

(94) Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Washington State). Another wonderful cabernet out of Columbia Valley; medium to full bodied with energetic acidity; a beauty ($35)

(94) La Storia by Trentadue Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). This cabernet sauvignon is aged for 16 months in several types of European oak barrels, lending an "Old World" nuance to the wine; however, the rich floral aromas and ripe, mouth-filling black fruit flavors are all Alexander Valley; stunning. ($25)

(94) J. Lohr 7 Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Rich, dense, with soft tannins; coffee and hazelnut, with a hint of bittersweet chocolate; for the cab lover--dessert in a glass. ($20)

(94) Calluna Vineyards Calluna Estate Chalk Hill Red 2009 (California). Classic Left Bank style with the emphasis on cabernet sauvignon (40%), with elements of merlot, cab franc, malbec, and petite verdot blended in; ntense fruit, very balanced, tight core of cedar and dried fruit with heavy minerality. ($70)

(94) Atamisque Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Argentina). Bright, jammy fruits with hints of pepper on the nose. Full bodied with robust flavors of red fruits, spice coffee and vanilla. ($27) (Wine Bridge Imports)

(94) McPherson Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Texas). The McPherson family is one of the pioneers of the modern Texas wine industry; aged 18 months in French oak, it is fruit-forward in style, with subtle touches of cassis and black fruit. This wine will change the way you look at Texas wine. ($30)

(94) Oakville East "Exposure" Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). With neighbors like Dalla Valle and Screaming Eagle, it's no surprise that this is some heady stuff; an explosive wine yet remains graceful and sensuous; black cherry, plum, tobacco and mocha dance beautifully in the bouquet and on the palate, with layer upon layer slowly revealed. ($60)

(93) Black Coyote Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Pure Napa Valley, with sweet blackberries, leather, and spicy cedar; offering impressive concentration and supple tannins; this wine seals the deal on the outstandingly long finish that is further laden with flavors of tobacco and nutmeg; a real stand-out cabernet. ($85)

(93) Tyrus Evan Ciel du Cheval Red Mountain Claret 2011 (Washington State). The bouquet is gorgeous, with both an earthy and savory bent, vet exhibiting plenty of ripe, black-fruit aromas; full bodied and luscious, but with a backbone of tannins that, though firm, remain quite smooth; light tints of cocoa and earth linger on the edges while ripe and juicy black cherry, currant, cassis and blueberry roll across the palate. ($40)

(93) Beaulieu Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Classic Rutherford dust; dark cherry and cocoa notes lead into great earthiness and big tannins; pair with grilled meats. ($27)

(93) Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Superb grapes that express the volcanic "terroir" of Alexander Valley; blended with small amounts of merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot, barrel-aged for 14 months; robust with ripe black fruit and hints of coffee, mocha; supple tannins. ($20)

(93) Worthy Sophie's Cuvee Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (California). Classic Napa cabernet with a bit of petit verdot, malbec and cabernet franc; dark fruit and earth on the nose, chewy mouth feel full of black cherry, currant and licorice sliding into perfectly integrated tannins through the mid palate and finish; unfiltered, so decant or pour carefully. ($29)

(93) The Calling Rio Lago Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Full bodied; deep burgundy color; black cherry, and vanilla aromas; ripe raspberry and cherry on the palate; well balanced acidity with a lingering finish. ($38)

(93) Tuck Beckstoffer '75 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). A complex wine with refined tannins, layers of fruit and a depth not often seen in this price point. The controlled cassis, plum and cherry flavors are surrounded with blackberry and a silky finish. ($21)

(93) Novelty Hill Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Washington state). Mike Januik has been making wine in Washington for over 30 years, and it shows in his Novelty Hill line; deep rich black fruit is concentrated in the mid-palate with a smooth lingering finish. ($43)

(93) Parducci True Grit Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Cherry, vanilla, and cassis aromas lead to a smooth lingering finish; perfect with a thick ribeye. ($26)

(92) Oberon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Quite complex for a wine of this price; integrated oak but not too much, big cherry/currant fruit balanced against cedar, tobacco and earthy mushroom. ($19)

(92) Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Classic Napa cab; full-bodied with lush black fruit balanced by new oak notes; soft tannins; drinkable now. ($45)

(92) Sciandri Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). Has a very complex bouquet, with a subtle but lively array of baking spices mingling with ripe and creamy black and red currant aromas and a touch of cassis liqueur. Bold on the palate, with lots of black-fruit flavors and firm but well-tempered tannin providing a smooth veil to everything; a long finish. ($50)

(92) Katherine Goldschmidt Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Ripe dark fruits, plum, blackberry, and smoky nuances on the finish; full bodied typical of cabernet, yet elegant, making it a perfect food wine at an amazing price point. ($20)

(92) Bianchi Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Aromas of dark-red fruits fill your glass. Ripe flavors of cassis and chocolate with a flavorful, long finish. ($22)

(92) Lucas and Lewellen Cote del Sol Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). A rich softness, with subtle tannins and a smooth lingering finish; jammy, juicy, with touches of cherry and currants; great value for an estate grown and bottled cabernet. ($39)

(92) Domus Aurea 2009 (Chile). This is a blend; 85% cabernet sauvignon and the rest merlot, cab franc and petite verdot. Wine is layered and keeps showing new faces as it opens up. Starts dry with plenty of stone fruit, black cherries and currant. Winemaker holds the wine for 36 months, half of the time in French oak, which gives a balsamic flavor profile. Tannins are very well integrated. ($40-$45) (The Global Vineyard Importers)

(92) Bartalotti Cabernet 2007 (California). This cabernet is full of character, flavors and aromas of cedar, white pepper, cassis and cherry. All this is wrapped at the end by cocoa and chocolate memories. ($26)

(92) Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). California's premier "negotiant" uses his extensive contacts to produce this cab with touches of merlot and cab franc blended in. Claret style is tightly wound with aromas of vanilla, cocoa dust. Austere with a smoky finish. ($44.99)

(91) Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). A dry, rich Napa cab; dark fruits and balanced; will improve with age. ($53)

(91) Duckhorn Decoy Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Rich and concentrated with dark-berry flavors and a hint of savory black olive, earth and spice. Solid tannins; should reward cellaring. ($24)

(91) Silver Palm North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Full bodied with toasty oak, blueberry and cassis; great value. ($16)

(91) Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cab Sauvignon 2010 (Chile). Very well balanced soft delicate fruits give way to round velvety tannins; dark stone fruits and toasted oak. ($29) (Banfi Vintners)

(91) Cross Springs Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Big, round flavors of blackberry, dark cherry cassis, mocha and plum fill the palate immediately; full bodied with a decent amount of tannins, this beauty has a long finish with hints of spice and a touch of vanilla; a nice value. ($17)

(91) Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). An elegant, yet firm cabernet with layers of blackberry and black licorice; tannins are big, but open nicely with a little aeration. ($23)

(91) LayerCake Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Mocha and spice flavors; this 100% cabernet is very tasty; long lasting finish and excellent with food. ($17)

(91) Justin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Balanced with fruit and spice; true Paso Robles-style wine with intense dark fruit and soft finish. ($24)

(91) Novelty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, (Washington). Mike Janiuk has been making wine in Washington for over 30 years, and it shows in his Novelty Hill line. This wine has scored 90-plus for seven straight vintages, and this one continues the streak. Deep, rich black fruit is concentrated in the mid-palate with a smooth lingering finish. ($42.99)

(90) Mercer Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Washington State). Washington's Columbia Valley yields a smooth, flavorful medium-bodied red that delivers excellent value. ($20)

(90) Dominican Oaks Napa Cabernet 2011 (California). This Napa cabernet is an incredibly nuanced wine with ripe cherry, spicebox, and anise fragrances; the palate mimics the aromas in addition to added notes of coffee and toast; the overall subtly and balance of the wine makes it a real stand out. ($20)

(90) Gassier Les Piliers Cabernet 2010 (France). Hailing from the warm south of France and made with old vines, this richly intense cabernet offers concentrated flavors of plum, black cherry, lavender, and notes of cigar box. ($15)

(90) Muirwood Cabernet 2010 (California). This fleshy and supple cabernet has aromas of blueberries, black pepper, and smoke; its full-bodied with intense fruit that is balanced by vanilla and oak. ($15)

(90) Courtney Benham Napa Cabernet 2011 (California). A seductive cabernet that really shows off its Napa pedigree; notes of black cherry and black currant with a dark chocolate- and bramble-laden finish; there are pleasant, dusty tannins on the finish with hints of tobacco. ($24)

(90) Ventisquero Grey Single Block 2010 (Chile). Value and quality. All grapes are from single blocks on the foothills of Maipo Valley. A true, long-lasting, full cabernet wine. Tannins are in balance with structure. Flavors are clean and well focused; 18 months in French oak provides a full mouth and smooth finish. ($18) (Chambers & Chambers)

(90) RoBlar Santa Barbara County Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). There is plenty of oak spice in the bouquet, and ample fruit aromas too, with black raspberry dominating and a touch of milk chocolate; medium-full and quite smooth up front, and then firm tannin moves in to offer grip, while blueberry black cherry, plum and cassis flavors unfold on the palate. ($20)

(90) Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Big and bold cabernet with blackberry fruit on the nose; cherry plum on the palate; nice tannins with a great finish. ($20)

(90) Lockwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Cherry and plum aromas blend with a touch of incense and herbs; aromas carry over onto the palate with slight hints of chocolate as well. Medium bodied with light tannins, this wine is perfectly suited to pair with some steaks or grilled pork chops. ($15)

(90) Casa Lapostolle Rapel Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Chile). A beautiful wine with a bouquet of lilac and rose petal leading to rich, ripe flavors of currant and blackberry. Tannins are soft--this wine is thoroughly enjoyable now and will complement grilled meats, sharp cheese or other hearty cuisines; an excellent value. ($14) (Marnier-Lapostelle)

(90) Avenel Cellars Red Napa 2011 (California). A solid core of red fruit upfront with additional notes of lavender, chocolate, and vanilla; well-integrated tannins and acidity give this wine plenty of backbone. ($20)

(90) Jessup Cellars Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (California). A single-vineyard Napa cabernet that offers beautiful flavors of blueberries, chocolate, and eucalyptus; an energetic but well-integrated acidity offers exceptional balance. The perfect match for those who like an intense wine with a drier finish. ($40)

(90) Fritz Cellars Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This especially fragrant cabernet has delicious aromas of blackberries, coffee, and espresso. Beautiful finesse on the palate with ripe blueberry and black pepper notes that continually reappear in different places, leaving me re-tasting again and again. ($40)

(90) Coastline Paso Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Aromas of black cherry, pepper, and English breakfast tea; firm tannins and a pleasant, dry finish support the flavors of dried cherry, oak, vanilla. ($15)

(90) Errazuriz Single-Vineyard Valle De Aconcagua Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Chile). Earthy and full-bodied with subdued fruit aromas and flavors balanced with firm tannins; a lot going on here; perfect with Iamb and game. ($19) (Vintus LLC)

(90) Bridlewood Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). A wonderful combination of spice and berry fruit, surrounded by soft tannins and a pop of acidity; good value that overdelivers. ($14)

(90) Marc Mondavi's Divining Rod Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (California). Blackberry character up front with spicy black cherry and hints of cured meats and black tea; well-integrated tannins on a long finish. ($17)

(90) R. Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Cherry, rhubarb and red plum flavors; balanced rich fruit, smooth texture. ($16)

(89) Gravelly Ford Central Coast Spur Ranch Vineyard Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). The bouquet is subtle and subdued, with oak, earth and smoke notes lying like a light fog over mild bush berry aromas. Medium-full, it has an initial jolt of tart cranberry and cherry and then it sol tens into some richer blackberry flavors while some lovely spice notes linger on the edges. ($15)

(89) Girasole Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). This certified organic wine has aromas of ripe blackberries and cranberries. Sweet fruit and hints of oak. Soft, smooth and balanced with a finish that lingers. ($15)

(89) Bridgman Cabernet 2012 (California). Beautiful aromas of blackberry and baking spices; red currants and smooth tannins on the palate are well-integrated with a touch of oak. The finish features a mouth-watering, pleasant acidity that makes this an excellent wine to pair with food. ($15)

(89) Inkling Paso Robles Cabernet 2011 (California). An excellent bargain for a Paso Robles cabernet; possessing fresh blackberry fruit and a touch of vanilla with a nice balancing acidity; leaves a lingering finish that is not overly heavy. ($12)

(89) Alterra Cabernet 2010 (California). A silky and refined Napa cabernet; blackberry fruit transitions into black pepper, baking spice, and a touch of coconut; well-integrated oak balances the flavors on the impressively long finish; a great deal. ($16)

(89) Monogamy Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California). Velvety with flavors of plum and dried herbs; a wonderful value. ($12)

(88) St. Francis Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California). Rich spicy aromas of cassis, cherry, and plums combined with moderate tannins; an all-around crowd pleaser that pairs well with grilled rib-eyes or smoked ribs. ($21)

RELATED ARTICLE: RATING SYSTEM

(92-100 POINTS) A top-flight wine. Superior in taste and character and providing an outstanding price/value relationship.

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

(80-85 POINTS) An above-average wine at a reasonable price point, which many consumers will enjoy.
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Title Annotation:CHEERS WINE PANEL
Publication:Cheers
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Sep 1, 2013
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