Cabernet Sauvignon’s claim to fame is its big, ageworthy red wines. The variety’s spiritual home is the French region of Bordeaux, where it is the backbone to most of Left Bank offerings. But since the grape does well in a variety of climates, it’s made quite the name for itself on this side of the Atlantic, too. Where Old World bottles may exhibit notes of graphite, blackberries and the occasional pyrazine, New World Cabs are rounder, riper and blackcurrant, licorice, plum and spice notes.
Throughout the West Coast you’ll find a great number of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, which includes some of the world’s most famous Cab producers. To help celebrate the grape, we combed through our database to find 14 of our top-rated, all-American Cabernet bottlings for less than $100. While all of these can be considered splurges, there has never been a better time to treat yourself.
Heitz 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $63, 95 points. Woody, herbal and elegantly structured, this wine is high-toned and freshly layered in bold red fruit. Given time in the barrel and the bottle, it shows its graceful edges and nuanced elegance with ease, finishing in dusty crushed rock. It vastly overdelivers on its price point. Editors’ Choice. —Virginie Boone
Copia 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Barbara County); $58, 95 points. Lush layers of baked cherry, blackberry and black currant meet with accents of licorice, star anise and cardamom on the nose. The palate’s thick, rich mouthfeel manages to remain somewhat elegant, packing in dark roasted fruit, powerful baking spices and a comforting finish of vanilla and caramel. —Matt Kettmann
Davies 2017 J. Davies Estate jd Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Mountain District); $70, 95 points. From the mighty mountain estate, this is blended with 17% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot. Impressively structured, complex and elegant, it shows well-integrated depth and breadth, richly layered in blueberry and blackberry flavors that are dusted in cocoa powder and nutmeg. —V.B.
Yao Ming 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $95, 95 points. This is a brawny, generous and powerful wine that holds its full-bodied concentration in check, showing a balanced approach to oak and tannin. Black cherry, currant and cocoa powder are accented by toasted oak and lingering black pepper, nutmeg and cedar on the finish. —V.B.
Betz Family 2017 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley); $78, 94 points. The fruit is primary at present, with notes of whole berry, blue fruit, cherry and dried herb, along with bittersweet chocolate. Focused, intensely flavorful black cherry notes follow on the palate. It’s a complete stunner, winning on charm and grace rather than sheer power. The balance is impressive. Best from 2025 to 2032. Cellar Selection. —Sean P. Sullivan
Venge 2017 Silencieux Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $60, 94 points. This hearty wine is blended with 4% Petit Verdot. Grippy, rich and viscous, it has intense fruit flavors of plum and cassis, with supple, integrated tannins. The whole is a testament to good grapes and great winemaking, blending together seven sites across the valley. Editors’ Choice. —V.B.
Freemark Abbey 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $60, 94 points. This impressive wine possesses just over 16% Merlot and touches of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Using a small percentage of new French oak, it offers dusty texture and well-defined flavors of dark cherry, plum, rock and earth. A sweetness of oak doesn’t get lost in the overall structure and cohesion. —V.B.
Vina Robles 2016 Mountain Road Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $54, 94 points. Grown on the winery’s Adelaida Springs Ranch, which is 12 miles from the ocean at 1,700 feet in elevation, this is a rich and unctuous take on Cabernet that spent 20 months in new French oak. Hedonistic aromas of black cherry, cocoa, cappuccino and fudge cake lead to a palate that’s expertly structured by polished tannins. Flavors of tiramisu and berry-compote sing on the palate. —M.K.
Benom 2017 Origin Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $65, 94 points. The 60% new French oak used on this blend of Cab from Hawks Hill Ranch and Denner Vineyard is integrated seamlessly, starting with an intense nose of black currant, espresso foam, caramel and crushed black rocks. The tannins are firm in structure yet soft and almost foamy to the touch, carrying dynamic flavors of char, coffee, fresh fruit and, on the finish, vanilla paste. —M.K.
Stonestreet 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley); $50, 93 points. Made entirely varietal from a vineyard scaling from 400 to 2,400-feet-elevation, this red is balanced and elegant in style. Peppercorn, cedar and celery seed accent a mineral-driven intensity nuanced in black olive, currant and clove. —V.B.
Justin 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $58, 93 points. Aromas of tar, smoked beef and charred wood give depth to the blueberry-sorbet backbone on the nose on this reserve bottling. The palate also combines those elements, showing smoked beef with blueberry-compote flavors, as well as vanilla, nutmeg, more tar and a peppery spice that moves into the finish. —M.K.
Taub Family Vineyards 2016 Morisoli-Borges Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford); $85, 93 points. Burly, expansive and smoothly textured, this vineyard-designate offers a grippy texture and plenty of length and grace. Made in tiny amounts, it exudes black cherry, currant and mocha with dust and oak in full complement. —V.B.
Robert Mondavi 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville); $65, 91 points. Blended with 9% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot, this wine is juicy, thick and meaty, with bold flavors of black currant, black pepper and tobacco. A leathery texture contributes additional savory complexity around densely packed tannin. —V.B.
Milbrandt 2017 The Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (Wahluke Slope); $27, 90 points. Vanilla, baking spice and dark raspberry aromas are out front. Ripe dark fruit flavors follow, speckled with plentiful barrel accents. A lovely sense of acidity ties it all together. Fruit and barrel play equal parts in the show. —S.S.