41 Cabernet Sauvignons Worth Splurging On

These are the best bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon for your next anniversary, promotion, or big night in.

The Best Cabs to Splurge on

Stephanie Russo

Great Cabernet Sauvignon can set you back by several mortgage payments if you’re not careful. Yet there are still plenty of splurge-worthy Cabs from around the world that ring in at under $150 per bottle…still a whole lot of money, but not in the realm of many Cab-based cult wines, or First Growth Bordeaux, which can easily stretch in to the four or five figures depending on the vintage and the provenance. The ones below, listed alphabetically, represent some of the top high-end Cabs around. They range from 2017 to 2020, and all are worth considering for special occasions as we head into the springtime holiday season of Mother’s and Father’s Day, graduations, and more. It’s also worth noting that, though a majority of these are from California, there are terrific ones that can be found from around the world, from great Bordeaux to South America, Australia, and beyond.

2019 Acumen Peak Attellas Vineyard 

Hailing from the Atlas Peak AVA, this is full of the kind of savory, detailed flavors that you’d expect; mineral and black licorice notes find fantastic counterpoints in pan-toasted fennel seeds, peppercorns, and a whiff of bacon fat alongside Amarena cherries and caramelized stone fruit. This is one for the cellar.

2019 Amici Cabernet Sauvignon

Amici produces a lovely range of single-vineyard Cabs, and they’re definitely worth checking out. Yet this Napa Valley bottling is also terrific, showing that a more densely textured red can also maintain a real sense of grace. This one drips with black licorice, star anise, cassis, mashed blackberries, plums, and candied violets, all of which are carried along by sweet tannins. 

2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Stella Knight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon to Splurge On

Courtesy of Baldacci

This unabashedly opulent red drips with hoisin sauce, caramel, candied orange peels, and cassis, all finding balance and harmony alongside tea-like tannins whose ripeness and integration make this excellent to drink now, yet still capable of aging for another decade or more.

2019 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The Napa Valley classic is in top form with the 2019. It’s velvet-textured, vibrant, and ripe, with cassis, kirsch, red licorice, black raspberries, pomegranate syrup, vanilla- and cinnamon-seamed chocolate, and bass notes of sweet tobacco and sandalwood, with suggestions of laurel in the background. The tannins are assertive yet sweet, and very well-integrated, lending this wine exceptional length and aging potential. 

2018 Benovia Cooley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

From Northern Sonoma, this wine is already showing brilliantly: Purple and red-berry fruit perk up the palate, joined by blueberries and boysenberries, as well as licorice-scented peppercorn spice, lingering with a suggestion of kirsch and sachertorte. Freshness and power are balanced impeccably.

2018 Beringer Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Saline and sweetly fruited all at once, this red is a dance between the slightly dried black plums and Chinese five-spice powder notes and a core of more mineral savoriness. The result is a wine of pleasure, detail, and tension that can be found for less than $50.

2019 Brandlin Estate ThS Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon to Splurge On

Courtesy of Brandlin Estate

From Mt. Veeder, this is an estate-grown gem whose hot-rock minerality anchors seriously structured notes of blackberries, brandied cherries, grilled plums, black walnuts, allspice, and singed tobacco. Give it a few years to integrate a bit more, and then enjoy it through 2043 and beyond.

2020 Caprio Cellars Red Label Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon to Splurge On

Courtesy of Caprio Cellars

Estate-grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State and incorporating 10% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot alongside the dominant Cab, this is a vibrant, mouth-watering red bursting with red-berry fruit and bergamot. It resolves with a lively finish marked by cranberries and a hint of leather, the dusty tannins lingering nicely and calling out for food.

2017 Captûre Cabernet Sauvignon

Crafted by winemaker Sam Teakle from estate fruit grown on Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak, this explodes from the glass with crushed blueberries and huckleberries, dates, melted dark chocolate, and toasty cedar, all of which are sweetly spiced with cinnamon stick and grilled vanilla, finishing with a final pulse of candied violets. Even at six years of age, this is still youthfully exuberant, though it’s just beginning to show inklings of the savory maturity it has in store.

2017 Chaix Vintner’s Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon

At nearly six years of age, this joyous Cab is full of life, boisterous berry and cherry fruit, and sweet spice. The dusty tannins and Chinese five-spice powder are pleasantly present, and make it a perfect foil for grilled ribeye, but it’s also friendly enough to enjoy on its own. And while the label says 15.9% ABV, it doesn’t drink like that…so be careful!

2019 Chappellet Signature Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 

What a gorgeous nose, dripping with still-absorbing oak that frames blackberry liqueur, kirsch, and candied violets, as well as a hint of cafe mocha. That’s all before a palate seamed with minerals,dripping with chocolate ganache-coated Amarena cherries, grilled vanilla pod, creme de cassis, maduro tobacco, cedar, and dried thyme that becomes more pronounced through the finish.

2018 Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon

Hailing from the Red Mountain AVA of Washington State, and bringing together the work of both Chateau Ste. Michelle and Italy’s Marchesi Antinori, this boasts a seasoning of 3% Cabernet Franc, which seems to lend it lovely mint- and tobacco-like lift, both of which serve as excellent counterpoints to the cafe mocha, cocoa powder, and black plum flavors that linger through the toasty, mineral-flecked finish. This will reward patience: It’s excellent right now, and promises to get even better over the next 15-plus years.

2020 Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker — and accomplished jazz saxophonist — Jeff Morgan has produced a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon here, and even in the challenging (and often terrifying) vintage of 2020, this bottling is a success. It speaks of vibrant brambly berries, black figs, carob, and cinnamon stick, all of it carried along by assertive tannins that are balanced and hold the promise for an easy 15 or more years of maturity in the bottle.

2018 Crosby Roamann Crosby’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

High-toned red currants and black and red raspberries vibrate with coriander and fennel seeds, as well as a hint of toasted sesame. There is a warm, slightly saline tug to the orange oils and kumquats, making this wine food-friendly, but also nice just sipped on its own.

2020 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon to Splurge On

Courtesy of Don Melchor

From the Puente Alto D.O. in Chile comes this flagship wine from Concha y Toro. Vintage after vintage it’s one of the country’s superstars, and no wonder: The winemaking is conscientious and the vineyard site is unparalleled. It’s a savory yet lush wine in 2020, mineral-kissed and  with ripe blackberries, huckleberries, candied violets, and chocolate ganache. Balsamic and graphite notes lend it savoriness, and promise many years of evolution ahead — easily a decade or more.

2018 Duckhorn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate-enrobed cherries and black raspberries are joined by pomegranate syrup, baseball mitt leather, and cigar tobacco in this herb-flecked, powerful yet balanced mountain Cab. The tannic structure is in charge right now, so give it a couple of years before opening…and then enjoy through the mid-2040s.

2019 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon

There’s so much ripe, sweet, generously spiced wild red berry fruit here, like strawberries and  raspberries, as well as kirsch and balsamic notes that lend this wine terrific lift and energy. These notes are for the special holiday edition bottling, a blend of two key vineyard sources, but it speaks well of the range of Cabs produced by Flora Springs, as well.

2019 Gentleman Farmer Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a delicious expression of the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, a plummy, blackberry liqueur and cassis-dripping Cab whose sweet tannins and oak spice flavors make it excellent already, and also appropriate for another decade and a half in the cellar, if you have the patience. As an added bonus, 5% of June sales will be donated to both the It Gets Better Project and Queer LifeSpace.

2019 Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a savory expression of Sonoma Cabernet, with toasty flavors of licorice root, sarsaparilla, spearmint, blackberries, and grilled sage that promise an easy 15 years of evolution in the cellar. Toasty oak spice is still integrating, but with air, it resolves nicely. If you decide to pop the cork now, a well-marbled steak alongside it is the way to go.

2019 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon

A classic coating of the famous Rutherford dust introduces this terrific Cab. A suggestion of lightly toasted walnuts lends bass-note depth to ripe currants, blueberries, and ripe blood oranges. The grace-note seasoning of cocoa powder is notably decadent, and the balance of this elegant wine promises at least 10 years of evolution ahead, likely more.

2017 Ink Grade Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain, Napa Valley

The Cabernet Sauvignon to Splurge On

Courtesy of Ink Grade

Plush and generous on the nose and palate, with aromas of black currants, crushed blueberries, a deep core of mineral, and sweet charred vanilla pod in addition to kirsch and cassis. On the palate, this is bright and vibrant, with tea-like tannins framing flavors of cherries, red currants, pomegranate syrup, huckleberries,  singed herbs, and a long, mouthwatering, and blood-orange flecked finish. 

2018 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon

Full of youthful exuberance, the aging potential of this elegant wine is clear: There is excellent acidity and concentration to the red and black raspberries, tart cherries, subtle spice, and beautifully framing tannins.

2018 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon

Ladera has been on a tear in recent years, with their reserve, Howell Mountain, and other high-end bottlings showing particularly well. Yet this one, which can be found for around $80, is also well worth a place in your collection. The tea-like tannins are flecked with flavors of sage and dried thyme, which grow more pronounced on the finish as counterpoints to coffee beans, huckleberries, and Chinese five-spice powder.

2019 Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon

From Spottswoode, this is gorgeous: Generous with red and (mainly) black fruit: Blackberries, cassis, and a hint of black cherries, with excellent acidity. There are also notes of cedar, violets, crushed blueberries, and something vaguely tea-like through the long finish. 

2018 Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

As it always seems to be, this Cab is a benchmark in restraint, energy, and balance. With the 2018, it showcases all of the riper fruit so typical of the vintage—in this case cherries, currants, and mixed mountain berries—and joins them with bay leaf, cigar tobacco, blood orange, and subtle peppercorn spice. Its lingering finish promises 10 - 20 years in the cellar with ease.

2019 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon

Grown on Mt. Veeder, this is full of the classic crunchy tannins and acidity you’d expect from its origins. It’s a taut, coiled Cab from mountain-wine expert Chris Carpenter, and the cassis, mountain berries, and warm figs are lent immediate generosity by waves of dark chocolate pot de creme and cola spice. 

2018 Mt. Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Consistently an excellent value, this can be found for less than $50, and can go toe-to-toe with reds that cost well more. It’s a subtle offering, flashed with licorice, plum conserve, and a dusting of nutmeg, as well as subtle balsamic notes that lend lift to the ripeness of the vintage. 

2019 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon 

Made by Booker Vineyard in San Luis Obispo County, this Cabernet is a mouthwatering, propulsive wine whose blood orange and bacon fat notes find a lovely sense of balance and tension.

2018 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

This Stags Leap District beauty is silky in texture and wonderfully energetic in character. Toasty vanilla, black and purple plums, boysenberry, and whole clove shimmer through this brilliantly detailed, impressively mineral wine that balances ripe fruit and more savory notes with serious grace and power.

2017 PEJU Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

This ripe, relaxed Cab is in a fascinating place of its evolution right now: Velvety, laid-back tannins allow cafe mocha and chocolate-kissed plums and sweet black-cherrie pie filling to come to the fore. Sweet vanilla and graham cracker notes roll through the finish. This will certainly age for another seven to 10 years, but there is no need to wait given how nice it’s looking right now.

2019 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon to Splurge On

Courtesy of Penfolds

The label here notes simply South Australia as an appellation, but the grapes were grown more specifically in the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, and Padthaway. And what grapes they were: The result of their blending is a wine of vivid energy, balsamic freshness, and lifted, concentrated red-berry fruit, pomegranate, and currants, all of it kissed with notes of rooibos tea, eucalyptus, mint-filled chocolates, cigar humidor, and dried flowers. This is available for less than $80, making it a ridiculous steal.

2019 Priest Ranch Snake Oil Cabernet Sauvignon

Ringing in at a serious 15.6% alcohol by volume, this is a full-throttle Napa Cab, estate-grown in St. Helena. It’s coats the palate with dates, dried black figs, espresso oils, melted chocolate ganache, creme de cassis, and vanilla-spiced French toast, all of it framed with hints of salinity and tea-like tannins that, though still integrating, promise a long life ahead. 

2019 Realm Cellars The Bard

This Cab-dominant blend provides a joyous glassful of ripe and sweetly spiced dark-berry and plum fruit, the sun-warmed black figs, molasses, cassis, blueberries, candied violets, and pencil led notes dancing in a fascinating interaction with one another. Brandied black cherries lend it gorgeous ripeness, and vaguely salty tannins frame it all. Sandalwood and hoisin sauce fleck the long finish. For all of its richness, this remains vibrant and fresh. This is outstanding, and if you look hard enough, it’s available for less than $150.

2019 Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Crafted from grapes grown in the iconic Monte Bello Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this is a wonderfully perfumed yet deeply mineral Cab, hovering above the glass with almond blossoms, ripe cherries, smashed blueberries, sandalwood, and a fascinating suggestion of juniper. It all finishes with a lingering frame of dusty tannins that carry flavors of plums and mountain berries for nearly a full minute.

2019 S by Ray Signorello Cabernet Sauvignon

This is produced in an unabashedly ripe style, with fig newtons, graham crackers, and blackberry conserve sweety spiced with cardamom, licorice, and clove. There is a hint of tamarind paste that vibrates through the finish, making this particularly nice with saucy barbecue.

2019 Simon Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Positively overflowing with cassis and melted chocolate ganache, this benefits from complicating notes of star anise, walnut amaro, espresso, and Amarena cherries. There is also a savory tug at the edges, which, along with the assertive tannins, makes this a wine for both the dinner table right now (after a stint in the decanter) and for the cellar over the course of the next couple of decades.

2019 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars FAY Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a wine of immense expressiveness and wonderful balance, the currants and crushed huckleberries joined by dark chocolate-enrobed orange peels, black and red cherries, kirsch, licorice root, woodsy spice, and dark cigar tobacco smoldering through the long, powerful, graceful finish. Drink this now or in 30 years; either way, it’ll be delicious.

2018 The Setting Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Acclaimed winemaker Jesse Katz has crafted a wine of both subtlety and power here, with an unforgettably silky yet assertive texture. It speaks of purple plums, tannic blackberries, dark cherries, and well-steeped black tea. Flecks of licorice, lavender, sage, and charred cedar complicate things in the most delicious way.

2019 Turnbull Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a fantastic Oakville AVA Cab, bursting with blackberry and fig, and spiced with bergamot, a subtle dusting of coriander, and suggestions of cardamom and coffee. Cocoa powder and hoisin sauce linger through the finish, which is splashed with a hint of saltiness in the best possible sense. Savor this one for a couple of decades to come.

2018 Villa Maria “Ngakirikiri”

Blended from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and 2% Malbec, this hails from the Gimblett Gravels appellation of New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay. It’s a savory expression of Cab, with soy sauce and beef bouillon notes finding fantastic tension and balance against cassis, floral peppercorns, and grilled cedar. Vaguely balsamic notes hover in the background, and the structure promises ten to 20 years of evolution with ease, especially given its screw-cap closure.

2019 Vinoce Solar Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Crunchy, ripe tannins from the single-vineyard Mt. Veeder fruit frame a wine of copious purple plums, brambly berries, and sweet clove and cardamom. Mouthwatering acidity extends through the long, gently toasty finish, which shines with blueberries and lilacs.

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