9 Stellar Cabernet Sauvignons for Under $20
The great red wines of Napa Valley and Bordeaux may not be the most budget-friendly in the world—although at their best, they are profoundly wonderful—but that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune to treat yourself to a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, for $20 and under, there are remarkably delicious options from all over the world. The trick, as always, is knowing where to find them…and then pairing them with a great meal.
The wines below, listed alphabetically, don't represent an exhaustive list of budget-friendly Cabs, but they are all worth checking out. Whether it's the northern or southern hemisphere, the so-called Old World or New, or producers that are widely distributed or require a bit of searching, Cabernet Sauvignon fans are living in a golden age for the grape variety. These nine are a great place to start.
2019 Be Human Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington ($17)
From the Aquilini family in Washington State, this wine shows just how much value can be found right now in Washington. The addition of 6% Petit Verdot, and the aging for 19 months in 1/3 new oak, has lent this appealing notes of brambly berries and hints of chocolate.
2018 Carmel "Appellation" Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee, Israel ($20)
Israel is in the midst of a transition period right now with its wines, and producers from large to more boutique are crafting reds, whites, and rosés of serious accomplishment. This one, from the Upper Galillee, shows ripe, generous fruit sweetly spiced with oak—alongside the first grilled steaks of the season, it will shine.
2019 David Finlayson Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($18)
Sweet cherry fruit and black raspberries join scrubby herbs and well-calibrated oak spice in this barbecue-friendly red that practically calls out for a hamburger.
2020 Grounded by Josh Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($15)
This is a pure, lively, generous expression of Cabernet Sauvignon, the currants and tart cherries dusted with cinnamon and clove, the acidity lending liveliness and structure alongside very well-integrated tannins. Another winner from Josh Phelps.
2017 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua, Chile ($19)
Proof that inexpensive Cab can age well, this shimmers with currants, cherries, and taut minerality, all informed by tobacco and sage. Lively and balanced.
2018 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County ($18)
The Martini Sonoma Cab is consistently well-crafted and enjoyable, and the 2018 is no different. Red and black currants, blood oranges, melted licorice, toasty cedar, and woodsy spices linger through this beautifully structured wine.
2019 Vasse Felix "Filius" Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Australia ($20)
Usually more than $20 but sometimes available for less, this gem is worth it either way. Margaret River, in far Western Australia, is home to some of the best Cabs in the country. This one, from the always excellent Vasse Felix, brings together ripe berries and currants, dried Mediterranean herbs, and a finish that vibrates longer than the price might imply. Worth seeking out.
2019 Wente Vineyards "Southern Hills" Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley, California ($20)
This is a bright, red-fruit-forward expression of Cab, though the dusting of cinnamon and cocoa powder will appeal to fans of a richer style, as will the flavors of black raspberry that sweep in once the wine gets some air.
2019 Zuccardi "Q" Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina ($19)
Plush and silky in texture, this is cut through with energetic acidity, which frames brambly berries and hints of cedar, as well as a savory edge of singed sage and well-structured minerality.