Cabernet Sauvignon is the most noble of red wine. It is deep in color, full bodied and has vivid aromas.
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes originated in the Bordeaux region of France, the most famous and expensive of this grape. Today, cabernet grapes are grown all over the world. Cabernet pairs very well with hearty meat dishes that we tend to gravitate towards during these winter months. Cabernets from California, Australia and South America pair best with meats such as marbled steaks, hearty roasts and braised short ribs, one of my favorite dishes to eat with a cabernet! European cabernets, specifically from France, tend to have higher acidity making lamb or other game dishes a nice pairing match.
Disclaimer: I like my cabernets to be rich and smoky with depth. Although some of the wines in the following list are fruit forward on the nose, they are not fruity in taste.
My Top 10 Cabernet Sauvignons Under $10 (in no particular order):
1) Fetzer Vineyards Cabernet Valley Oaks: The Fetzer cabernet has more depth and richness than most cabernets under $10. It has bright fruit aromas, yet is earthy and easy to drink. This cabernet is an excellent choice for weeknight sipping.
2) Challis Lane Cabernet: This is a go-to weeknight cabernet for me. I always grab a few bottles of this when I go to BevMo. It is a smooth, easy drinker. Dark fruit aromas on the nose but not at all fruity on the palate. This is a great wine to drink with pizza or barbecue.
3) Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet: A delicious tasty, smooth cabernet. It has that sweet vanilla oak flavor that you find in cabernets but also carries the richness of a cab with depth. This cabernet received 87 points in Wine Enthusiast, which for the price, is impressive. Drink this cabernet with a delicious tender piece of beef.
4) McManis Vineyards Cabernet: Delicious, every day cabernet to sip on by itself or pair with a hearty winter stew. While bright, fruit flavors dominate this wine, I still do not consider this a “fruity cab”.
5) Dancing Bull Vintage Blend Cabernet: This is a juicy cabernet that goes well with food or is delicious all on its own. Even though this wine has hints of strong raspberry aromas, it is not too sweet. Since this cabernet works so well on its own and won’t break the bank, it is a perfect pick for hosting a large gathering of people.
6) Jekel Vineyards Cabernet: From California’s Arroyo Seco region in the Central Coast. It is dry and oaky with complex flavors. One of the main reasons I like this cabernet for the price is because it is full bodied. It is very smooth and a great accompaniment for the heavier dishes. However, this wine is just as lovely and delicious to drink on its own.
7) Five Rivers Cabernet: Easy drinking cabernet. Flavors of cab fruitiness. However, this wine has a nice refreshing acidity making it not sweet. It is smooth yet smoky with a nice texture. It has that nobleness that cabernet lovers crave.
8) Gnarly Head Cabernet: This cabernet’s grapes are from Lodi and Monterey, which is considered in California’s Central Coast. It is fruit forward on the nose, has soft tannins, yet earthy, smoky and smooth. Another excellent pick for a large gathering of people due to its popularity.
9) Bogle Vineyards Cabernet: Bogle has impressive wines for everyday prices. Perfect for fine, upscale, everyday enjoyment this is a great go-to cabernet. It is slightly sweet when you first sip but finishes with a nice spicy kick.
10) Hawk Crest Cabernet: Great value has always been Hawk Crests trademark. This is a well-built cabernet with a strong backbone that pairs well with hearty stews and delicious meats. I love the dryness, smoky notes and earthy undertones of this cabernet.
Fun Facts About Cabernet Sauvignon:
~ Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are small, black and have a very tough-skin. The small grape size gives big flavors to the wine.
~ The tough skins are what give Cabernet wine its hard tannins.
~ Cabernet grapes are very adaptable and grow in almost any climate that is not too cool.
~ Cabernets are meant for aging. Those from Napa and the Bordeaux region of France usually improve over decades.
~ Cabernet is really the off-spring of much older Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc varieties of wine and is consider a “young” grape.
Happy Cabernet Sipping!