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Best Cabernet Sauvignon

A relatively new grape varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon was first made in Bordeaux, France in the 1600s, after Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc cross pollinated to make this new type of grape. It quickly gained popularity and, since it's hardy and resistant to diseases, it's often one of the first types of grapes grown in new vineyards.

Cabernet Sauvignon is grown all over the world and it's not hard to find excellent examples of this wine made in North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in France, Italy, and Spain. Since it's often used as a blending grape, however, some of these regions, notably France, don't often make wines primarily out of Cabernet Sauvignon. The 50/50 blends with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Syrah are very common.

Structurally, Cabernet Sauvignon is well-known for its intense tannins. Cabernet can be cellared for many years, and there are quite a few excellent Cabernets that are over 100 years old, though they come with outrageously high price tags. Young Cabernets are often too tight to drink for at least a few years. If you're hoping to build a wine collection, however, focusing on recent vintages and then storing them on your own will save you a great deal of money.

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Honig Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the 2013 winners at the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competition, Honig Cabernet Sauvignon is our top choice. This Cab is medium-bodied and well-balanced by tannins that provide a lot of support without overwhelming the wine. The nose shows off aromas of plum and cherry that are complemented by earthier notes of dried herbs, pepper, tea, and licorice. There's lots of fruit on the palate, though also plenty of spice so this wine doesn't read as sweet at all. Though it's already been aged for 18 months, it would benefit from at least a few more years in the bottle and some time spent in the decanter before serving.

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Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

One of California's biggest names in red wines, Robert Mondavi knows how to make an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. The Reserve has scored in the mid to high 90's with professional wine critics, including a near perfect score of 99 points by The Tasting Panel. It's a beautiful wine now, but it really won't be at its peak for another 25 to 30 years, so this is one you'll want to buy and then put away. An incredibly complex wine, there are notes of violet and blackberry on the nose, and berry, sage, mocha, and clean granite on the palate. The tannins are big and bold, and the finish incredibly long. For extra structure, Robert Mondavi has blended the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with 4 percent Petit Verdot and 2 percent Cabernet Franc.

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Robert Craig Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Terroir is one of the biggest influencers of the flavor of a wine, and the volcanic soil that Robert Craig Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in has given this wine an incredible richness and complexity. This is a big, tannic wine that's ready to drink right away, though it will continue to mature beautifully for the next couple of decades. The time it spent aging in barrels has lent the wine lots of oaky notes, but these are well-balanced against berry, pepper, and wildflower aromas. The flavor of this wine is equally complex, with notes of black cherry, red stone, and more peppery tannins.

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Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Cabernet Sauvignon

France may be the historic home of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, but Italy has been cultivating these grapes for hundreds of years. The Tuscany region, with its warm climate and hot, dry summers, is ideal for Cabernet, leading to wines with lots of flavor and big tannic structure. One of our favorite Italian Cabs is Tommasi Poggio al Tufo. This wine has currant, black cherry, spice, and licorice on the nose, and a slightly acidic taste that dries out the big fruit flavors. The finish is long and dry with lots of tannins. This wine will definitely benefit from at least a few more years in the cellar, though decanting fifteen minutes before you're ready to serve will help to open it up, allowing the fruitier flavors to shine through.

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Lamadrid Cabernet Sauvignon

Lamadrid Cabernet Sauvignon hails from Argentina, a winemaking region known for producing excellent New World Cabernet. This wine is well-structured and tannic, without being overly harsh. It has notes of currant, tobacco, graphite, and sweet tomato and is a little on the sweeter side when compared with other Cabernet Sauvignons. Ready to drink right away, this wine doesn't have the harsh tannins that makes many Cabs unapproachable for decades. Instead, it offers a fruit-forward palate with plenty of the earthy tones that people love Cabernet for. It's also received high marks from wine critics, scoring a 90 with Wine Advocate.

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Benziger Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Northern California Cabernet Sauvignons can get incredibly expensive but Benziger has made a commitment to crafting high quality wines that remain some of the most affordable around. Their Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is an incredible wine that shows off all the complexity of a good Cab without burning a hole in your wallet. This wine has flavors of black current, plum, and cherry that remain until the long finish, where they are met by subtle notes of tea and chocolate. The nose has lots of dark fruit and more than a hint of savory black olive. The tannins aren't too peppery or leathery, instead adding a touch of chalk to the finish. All in all, this is an incredible wine that's ready to drink right away, though it will continue to mellow out over the next couple of years.

Bestcovery Staff
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