19 of the Best Cabernets We Drank in 2019

Five glasses of red wine cheering
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Cabernet Sauvignon was America’s number-one red wine by volume and sales in 2018. According to Nielsen data, we spent some $2.595 billion on Cabs alone.

The Wine Enthusiast team is equally amped about Cab Sauv. Our reviewers tasted more than 1,500 bottles of the variety in 2019, deciphering the best bottles from all over the New World.

Compiled from rankings in our Top 100 Best Buys list, Top 100 Cellar Selections and the 2019 Enthusiast 100, here is a roster of our favorite New World Cabernet Sauvignons of the year. For domestic wines, the selections span across the West Coast—from Paso Robles to Napa to Washington, while Argentina, Chile, Australia and South Africa are represented on the international front. Featuring both cellar-worthy wines and ones we suggest drinking as soon as you finish reading this article, here are Wine Enthusiast’s top New World Cabernet Sauvignons of 2019.

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Cabernet Sauvignons to Drink Now

Austin Hope 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $50, 95 points. This bottling remains as impressive and delicious as it did upon debut two vintages ago. Aromas of black cherry, hickory smoke and vanilla cookie lead into a palate of brown sugar, sea salt, caramel and black-cherry foam, all framed by polished tannins and just enough acidity. –Matt Kettmann

Lail 2016 Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $80, 96 points. This is a stunningly beautiful wine that is ageworthy, complex and will stay with you long after it’s gone. Tones of cedar, clove and cinnamon start it off, followed by a dusting of cocoa powder and toasted oak. Lingering threads of crushed rock, violet and currant carry the finish. It finishes soft and silky. Editors’ Choice.Virginie Boone

Château Tanunda 2016 Matthews Road Cabernet Sauvignon (Barossa); $18, 92 points. This historic producer excels at Cabernet. It’s broody and savory in notes of graphite, dried herbs and flowers amid the red currant and spicy oak notes. It’s lifted by a focused line of acidity, which slices neatly through the savory tannins and grainy texture, making the fruit feel crunchy and tangy. There’s something rustic yet classy about this wine. Drink now–2026. AUSA Pacific. Editors’ Choice.Christina Pickard

Domaine Bousquet 2018 Reserve Made with Organic Grapes Cabernet Sauvignon (Tupungato); $18, 91 points. A deep color and ripe aromas of black fruits and prune convey the friendly conditions of 2018. This Cab is saturated and full in volume. Blackberry, raisin, cassis and chocolate flavors finish warm and chocolaty. If you like your Cabernets ripe and rich, this is in that mold. WISD LLC. –Michael Schachner

Three Thieves 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $11, 91 points. This exuberant wine is packed with expressive fruit aromas and irresistible flavors that range from cherry to black plum and blackberry. No noticeable oak gets in the way of the wine’s fruit flavors. Medium body, good balance and gentle tannins make it easy to sip. Best Buy. –J.G.

Carmen 2017 Frida Kahlo Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley); $16, 90 points. Beyond the cool concept label, there’s a serious Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle—one with steady aromas of cola and root beer along with berries and light oak. A flush palate deals a full fan of berry flavors, while rubbing tannins give grip to an otherwise easy finish. Drink through 2024. Trinchero Family Estates. Editors’ Choice. –M.S.

Wakefield 2017 Promised Land Cabernet Sauvignon (South Australia); $13, 90 points. This aromatic Cab opens with a plummy, red currant tang, flanked by white pepper, dried green herbs, graphite and a hint of dried flowers. Medium to full in body, the fruit is plush but bright, backed by herbal, graphite characters right through to the close. Soft-edged but grippy, grainy tannins and a streak of oak support without overwhelming. Seaview Imports. Best Buy. –C.P.

Funckenhausen 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza); $17/1 L, 88 points. Burnt oak and dry barrel aromas dominate a nose with baked berry-fruit scents. A stout palate is dense and full, while this offers a burnt-oak lead flavor balanced by peppery spice notes, dark berry accents and toast. A spicy, peppery character lingers across a lively finish. Global Vineyard Importers. Best Buy. –M.S.

MAN Family Wines 2017 Ou Kalant Cabernet Sauvignon (Coastal Region); $12, 88 points. Prominent scents of mentholated herbs and black currant leaf form the nose of this wine, overriding the secondary black plum and berry aromas. The palate is full and structured, with fine yet supporting tannins and ripe black-fruit flavors that carry more intensity than the nose suggests. The finish is fruity and enduring, with lingering flavors of black plum and cherry. Vineyard Brands. Best Buy. –Lauren Buzzeo

Cabernet Sauvignon to Cellar

Realm Cellars 2016 Houyi Vineyard Red (Napa Valley); $250, 98 points. This Cabernet Sauvignon is deeply red-fruited in rich flavors of currant and cherry that are complemented by accents of pencil shavings, dried herb and turned earth. The wine evolves constantly in the glass, and is confounding in its grippy, wide tannins and firm structure. Enjoy 2026–2036. Cellar Selection. –V.B.

Daou 2016 Eye of the Falcon Reserve Red (Paso Robles); $75, 96 points. Focused aromas of black currant jam, cocoa nib, espresso bean and German chocolate cake show on the nose of this blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Petite Verdot. Polished tannins support luxurious flavors of cocoa powder, hoisin, baking spice and black currant paste. Drink 2020–2036. Cellar Selection. –M.K.

Corison 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena); $95, 95 points. In spite of a lightness to the palate weight, this is no doubt a serious wine. It’s complex and integrated, with intriguing aspects of leather, earth and truffle. Soft and supple, it shows flavors of clove, tart red raspberry and cassis, and is deliciously memorable in every way. Enjoy 2026–2036. Cellar Selection. –V.B.

Cadence 2016 Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Red (Red Mountain); $55, 94 points. This wine is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc. Distinctive aromas of black cherry, graphite, dark raspberry, fresh herb, flower and scorched earth lead to a fresh, flavorful palate packed with fine-grained structured tannins. An extended finish ups the interest. Give it at least 24 hours to decant if drinking in the near term. Best after 2025. Cellar Selection. –S.S.

Figgins 2016 Estate Red (Walla Walla Valley); $85, 94 points. In this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot, the aromas are all about dark fruit, flower and spice, with notes of anise, blackberry jam, soil and black cherry as well as a generous pinch of spice following. Luscious, full and highly structured fruit flavors follow. The impressive acidity maintains balance. Its best years are far ahead of it. Open after 2025; it will have an easy decade or more of excellent drinking beyond that. Cellar Selection. –S.S.

Obsidian Ridge 2016 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Hills); $32, 94 points. A deep, dark color and generous black-fruit aromas lead to well-extracted flavors of blackberry, blueberry and black currant on the palate, while a thick blanket of fine-grained tannins wraps it all in. It is huge in structure but matched by luxurious, layered fruit and spice flavors. Best 2023–2033. Cellar Selection. –J.G.

Passing Time 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Horse Heaven Hills); $80, 94 points. Predominantly sourced from the Discovery and Champoux Vineyards, this wine offers aromas of scorched earth, cassis, cherry, bay leaf and whiffs of green pepper. There’s an exquisite sense of balance, intensity, density and granularity to the palate, with chocolaty flavors on the finish. It has a long life in front of it. Best from 2025–2030. Cellar Selection. –Sean Sullivan

Penley Estate 2016 Eos Cabernet Sauvignon (Coonawarra); $100, 94 points. Penley’s top wine has a lot going on. Aromas include mint, dark chocolate, violet, currant, dried herbs and a prominent streak of graphite. The palate is knit together with fine-grained, tightly wound tannins and seamlessly balanced by silky-textured fruit and acidity. This should age beautifully for many years. Drink 2020–2033. Old Bridge Cellars. Cellar Selection. –C.P.

Trapiche 2015 Terroir Series Edición Limitada Finca Laborde Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (La Consulta); $50, 92 points. A mix of forest and floral aromas frames berry notes on the attractive nose. Full extraction and heavy tannins make for a weighty palate that needs more time, while this Cabernet tastes like a bowl of plums and blackberries. On the finish, licorice and burnt toast notes rise up. Drink through 2025. The Wine Group. Cellar Selection. –M.S.

 

Published on December 20, 2019
Topics: Wine and Ratings


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