Grill-Friendly Cabs Under $20

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Cabernet Sauvignon is a powerful, tannic red grape of noble heritage. It is the base grape for many red Bordeaux and many of the best red wines from California, Washington, Chile and South Africa.

Besides delivering big flavor along with great value, the globe-spanning wines below have a few things in common: Boasting the punch of Cabernet, they are also perfect pairings for your summer grill out. Seek them out as an elegant counter-balance to the primeval pleasure of fire, smoke and meat.

Hollen Family Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza); $15, 89 points. Cedar, tobacco and dried-berry aromas are mature and spicy. This shows preserving acidity and flavors of caramel, baked berries and spice. It lasts long on the finish; drink now.

Goose Ridge 2012 g3 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley); $15, 91 points. This wine brings aromas and flavors of cherry, coffee, herbs, medicine cabinet and oak spices. The style is reserved, with a seamless, focused feel to the tart cherry and plum flavors that keep the attention on each sip. Best Buy.

Merritt NV Cabernet Sauvignon (New York); $16, 87 points. Tinged by layers of earth and herb, this delicately framed wine carries surprising nuance and complexity. Concentrated in black plum and berry flavors, it’s levitated by a streak of cranberry acidity that lingers moderately long.

Carnivor 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $15, 90 points. An extremely deep, dark color is the first thing to notice in this rich, almost thick, wine. It smells like wild blackberries and boysenberries and tastes almost that fruity, while blending in meaty, chocolaty, black peppery flavors that seem to coat the tongue. It is concentrated, bold and stands out from the pack. Best Buy.

Penley Estate 2012 Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon (Coonawarra); $20, 92 points. Full bodied and richly textured, this is an approachable wine that should nonetheless drink well through at least 2025. Toasted coconut accents cassis and blackberry fruit, folding in hints of vanilla on the long, mouthwatering finish.

Carmel 2013 Selected Cabernet Sauvignon (Shomron, Israel); $11, 89 points. Deep red-violet in color, this offers aromas of black cherry, vanilla and soft baking spice. Flavors of cassis, licorice, black peppercorn and a touch of green pepper stay strong amid persistent yet soft tannins. The lasting finish is marked by notes of butterscotch and orange peel. Best Buys.

Château La Grange Clinet 2012 Grande Réserve Red (Côtes de Bordeaux); $17, 90 points. Big tannins and ripe fruits result in a wine that is dense and structured. The wood aging is apparent, thanks to a smoky character that pushes over the black currant fruit. From vineyards on slopes above the Garonne river, this is a solid wine with a good future. Drink from 2017.

Wines have been recently rated by the Wine Enthusiast tasting panel. 

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Published on June 10, 2015
Topics: Cabernet SauvignonWine and Food Pairings