Via Consumer Reports… (with a thank you and hat tip to my friend Moeko)
The full-flavored cabernet sauvignon varietal is one of the biggest-selling red wines—and one of the best values, our latest tests suggest. These eight CR Best Buy wines are all very good, cost no more than $11, and rank with most of the other bottles we tested that cost $20 and up. (Our experts conduct blind taste tests, with no knowledge of the wine brand or price.) A few, as noted below, even had the combination of mouth-puckering tannins and ample fruit that can result in improvement over time.
Our picks include one retailer’s private-label wine: 365 Everyday Value Trackers Crossing, $7, sold only at Whole Foods. They also include a Chilean bottle, from Frontera, that costs a mere $4, among the least expensive wines we’ve ever recommended.
Almost all of these wines have ample fruity and woody flavors from aging in oak. They pair well with rich foods such as red meats, which help soften their tannins, and with earthy foods such as mushrooms.
These cabs come from Australia (Lindemans, Rosemount, 365 Everyday Value, and Yellow Tail), Chile (Casillero del Diablo and Frontera), California (Gnarly Head), and Washington State (Columbia Crest).
About these listings
Prices are suggested retail; stores might offer better deals. All wines are very good overall, and are generally shown in order of quality within varietal, from top (best) to bottom.
Frontera 2008 $4
An exceptional value, even if the other bottles scored above it in this fine group. Nice array of fruit, spice, and woody notes. Rough tannins should soften with time. Now mostly available in a 1.5-liter bottle, which costs about $8.
Rosemount Diamond Label 2006 $10
Rosemount Diamond Label 2006
Rich and complex, with intense fruit and solid acid and tannins. Should improve with age.
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley 2006 $11
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley 2006
Black-fruit flavors dominate. Heavy, sweet, wood flavors.
Casillero del Diablo Reserve 2007 $9
Casillero del Diablo Reserve 2007
Vivid black-fruit and spicy wood notes with firm tannins that should soften with time.
Yellow Tail 2008 $10
Yellow Tail 2008
Varied and concentrated fruit flavors, balanced by notes of wood, vanilla, and brown sugar.
Lindemans Bin 45 2008 $7
Lindemans Bin 45 2008
Intense, ripe black-fruit flavors, along with lots of sweet wood notes.
365 Everyday Value Trackers Crossing 2008 $7
365 Everyday Value Trackers Crossing 2008
Big fruit flavors supported by solid acid and tannins. Sold only at Whole Foods stores.
Gnarly Head 2006 $10
Gnarly Head 2006
Fruity and woody, with spice and intense black fruit on the palate.
Stay tuned. A Life Fulfilled will be posting reviews of some wines under $10 next week!