California Cabernets are some of the best wines in the world. Unfortunately, the pricing on many of them has gotten quite exorbitant. There are a plethora of great wines for $100 or more. Even at the $75 mark, there is no shortage of outstanding wines. So, for purposes of this list, these are my favorite five California Cabernets priced at under $25 per bottle. In addition, I only chose wines that are very consistent from vintage to vintage. Finally, I have avoided rare and hard to find wines for this list.
Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – This is a bigger fruity wine which will age for up to a decade in a cold cellar. Consistently good and won’t break the bank.
Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley – From Sonoma, this is a solid Cabernet and has a long track record. Not as robust and fruity as the Napa cab, but has more structure and depth. The price has crept up in recent years but smart shoppers can still find this for under $25.
Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – Always one of the best bangs for the buck. This is good for a decade if well stored. In great vintages, it is outstanding. Even in lesser vintages it is still consistent and very good.
Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon – Year in, one of my favorite value Cabernets. They use a synthetic cork, so I would not cellar these for more than a year or so, but don’t worry, they make a bunch each year.
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Another good value wine, especially in good vintages. This has nice structure, good fruit and an interesting wine.
If you are willing to spend up to $50 a bottle, there are a lot more choices. These can range in price quite a bit. Some good shopping though will net these at under $50. My top 5 are:
Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – From Santa Cruz, this just barely makes the price cut and may take some shopping. A wine that ages well. Very interesting with structure and depth and enough fruit to please.
Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – That base Cabernet may also take some hunting but can be found for under $50. Bigger and more fruit forward with a good dollop of oak, it is a big hit with those looking for the classis “Napa” Cabernet without breaking the bank.
Oakville Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon – From one of the prettier spots in Napa. An under rated Cabernet. Ages well.
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon – From the venerable producer Joseph Phelps, this is their base Cabernet. It is outstanding and will age very nicely for a decade or more. Especially in great vintages, this can be close in quality to their more expensive Cabs.
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon – A nice benchmark at the under $35 per bottle range. Classic Napa Cab, that is fruit, oak and some structure. Very nice value here.