The Most Popular Cabernet Sauvignons and How We Rated Them

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If you were to ask someone to name a red wine grape, chances are Cabernet Sauvignon would be one of (if not the) most common responses. Found in many iconic wine regions across the globe, from Bordeaux to Stellenbosch, this full-bodied red has undoubtedly captured the hearts and palates of many wine lovers.

We combed through our database of nearly 24,000 Cabernet Sauvignon reviews to find the top bottles searched and viewed on Wine Enthusiast. Though California bottles ranging from the Central Coast to the Napa Valley dominate the list, offerings from Washington State and Chile’s Maipo Valley were also shown to have a large number of fans. Through blind tastings with our expert reviewers, here’s how we scored eight of the Cabs that are most popular with readers.

A Global Guide to Great Cabernet Sauvignon

O’Shaughnessy 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $75, 97 points. This is such an outstanding wine at any price, but here we’re talking about outstanding value as well. Notes of iron and crushed rock lead to a lengthy balance of juicy red fruit and clove. With small amounts of Merlot, Malbec, Saint-Macaire and Cabernet Franc, it shows a deft hand at blending, with lasting notes of black pepper and nuanced oak. Editors’ Choice. –Virginie Boone

Santa Rita 2017 Medalla Real Gold Medal Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley); $20, 92 points. Plum, berry and cassis aromas give this single-vineyard sibling of Medalla Real Gran Reserva a riper nose than its brother. A fruity palate is fleshy and bursting with plum, berry, and chocolate flavors, while this Cabernet is medium in-depth on the finish. Drink now–2024. –Michael Schachner

Smith & Hook 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (Central Coast); $25, 92 points. This bottling starts with approachable aromas of boysenberry, elderberry, purple flowers and a hint of thyme. The palate is polished and smoothly textured, yet complex in flavors, with savory smoked spice, roasted red-fruit and fennel-pollen elements working together. Editors’ Choice. –Matt Kettmann

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley); $15, 91 points. The aromas are unmistakably Cabernet, bringing full-on notes of black currant along with dried herb and a kiss of spice. The flavors are ripe, luxurious and remarkably fruit-forward, with the oak pleasantly dialed back. It shows plenty of richness in the middle. Best Buy. –Sean Sullivan

Josh Cellars 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $17, 91 points. Both concentrated and well-balanced, this full-bodied wine shows a purity of black-fruit flavors that aren’t disrupted by over-oaking. Delicious notes of black currant and black cherry dominate from the aroma through the palate and lingering finish. Editors’ Choice. –Jim Gordon

Bogle 2018 Juggernaut Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $20, 90 points. Opulent black-fruit flavors are well matched by mint, chocolate and cedar accents in this full-bodied, velvet-textured wine. Layered and mouth-filling, it offers abundant soft tannins to keep it appetizing. –J.G.

Oberon 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $25, 90 points. This wine represents tremendous value for the price and case production, mixed with small amounts of supporting varieties. Smoky in grilled meat flavor, it has a velvety plushness to the texture and balanced tannins, the dark baked fruit adding richness. Editors’ Choice. –V.B.

Kirkland Signature 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $13/3 L, 86 points. Aromas of grilled meat, salt and pepper give this full-bodied wine a big, brash personality. It is moderately tannic and adequately filled in by cherry and black plum flavors. Best Buy. –J.G.

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Published on October 15, 2021
Topics: Buying Guide