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The 10 Best Cabernet Sauvignon To Drink Now

One of the world’s most popular wine grapes is the product of carelessness. Cabernet Sauvignon was accidentally created several hundred years ago in France, a the spawn of two famous parents named Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

The rest is pretty much history. The grape variety has gone on to become the most planted and produced on the planet. When most of us think of wine, we think of Cab’s inky red tones in a glass. It has, in short, become synonymous with all of wine.

red wine glass

In France, it’s one of a handful of esteemed grapes often blended in the Bordeaux region. In the states and other younger winemaking nations, it’s blended too, but it’s also often let alone as its own stand-alone wine. It tends to be big and tannic, ideal for a burger or bolognese. Here, especially, Cab tends to be quite fruit-forward and concentrated, the ideal pick for those into the jammier wines.

With so much Cab out there, where does one begin? Generally, the place to begin is where it’s warm and there are older, more established vines. That could mean anywhere from the American West Coast to Australia or Argentina. Here are the 10 best Cabernet Sauvignon that we picked out for you. Cheers!

10. Stark-Condé Three Pines

Stark-Conde Three Pines Cab Sauv Bottle

This offering out of the Stellenbosch of South Africa shows deep and dark fruit flavors without being too tight-fisted. The 2016 is velvety in texture and a bit more aromatic, thanks to a little bit of Cab Franc blended into the wine.

9. Aperture

Aperture 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Bottle

Made from Alexander Valley fruit rooted in rich, volcanic soils, this 2018 wine is exceptionally lush, with nice hints of tea leaves and thyme. There’s blue fruit aplenty on the palate, from blueberry to huckleberry preserves.

8. Long Meadow Ranch Farmstead

Longmeadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Farmstead Bottle

This wine feels like a discovery, given what it does for the price tag, especially given that it’s a Napa Valley product. Enjoy this screw-cap wine’s evenness right now, or cellar it for many years to come.

7. Escudo Rojo Reserva

Escudo Rojo Reserva Cabernet Bottle Shot

A fun project out of Chile with a big name behind it (the Rothschild dynasty of France), this wine demonstrates the potential of great Cab in South America, beyond just Argentina. And the price point is quite friendly.

6. Freemark Abbey Spring Mountain

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Bottle

Freemark Abbey has always made good Cab and aided in making Napa a quite famous place for it. This one from the Spring Mountain District (vintage 2016) shows more of Cab’s sometimes-hidden earthy side, with delightful black currant, tobacco, and baking spice notes.

5. Januik Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Bottle

This delightful Cab made from fruit grown in a prized vineyard first planted in the 1970s offers cassis and baking chocolate notes, with inviting aromatics and a persistent finish.

4. Mark Ryan Water Witch

Mark Ryan Water Witch Cab Sauv Bottle

Mark Ryan has become a substantial force in the Washington State Cab circuit. This one is a dandy from Red Mountain fruit near the Columbia River Gorge. It has a lot to unpack, including some nice umami notes.

3. Quilceda Creek

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Bottle

It’s hard to argue with the mouthfeel of a Quilceda Creek Cab. The finish alone lingers for what feels like days. Made from Columbia Valley fruit in Washington, it’s been the recipient of some incredibly high scores (if you pay attention to those). Regardless, you’ll appreciate the sheer depth in the glass.

2. Leeuwin Estate Art Series

Leeuwin Estate Cab Sauv Artist Series Bottle

Hailing from the Margaret Valley of western Australia, Leeuwin is turning out some head-turning Cab. The Art Series release tends to be the best each growing season, with a decadence and elegance you’ll keep returning for.

1. Nickel & Nickel Element 28

Nickel & Nickel Cab Sauv Element 28 Bottle

A longtime Napa specialist in single-vineyard Cabernet, Nickel & Nickel brings beauty to a grape sometimes derided for being too much about mass appeal as opposed to art. This one from 2017 is the latter (and maybe the former, too, if the masses can afford it) and worthy of a few hours of your time as it opens up and shows brambly fruit, cardamom, and tantalizing structure.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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