A Tasting of Top-End California Cabernet Wines.


I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful small-group tasting of highly-rated California Cabernets last weekend at a friend’s house. We tasted six top-end Cabernets that range in price from $55 to $133. At the end of the tasting, individuals evaluated and ranked the individual wines and a group score and ranking for the wines was derived. The wines were tasted “blind” and not revealed until after the scores were tabulated.

Of the six wines tasted, the clear favorite of the group is Francis Ford Coppola’s 2013 “Archimedes” which retails for $86. Surprisingly, the 2012 Mayacamus Cabernet Sauvignon, which at $133 is the most expensive wine of the evening, is rated 5th.

Below is some detail including professional ratings of each of the wines tasted. The wines are presented in order of ranking from favorite to least favorite.

2013 Francis Ford Coppola Winery, “Archimedes” $86

80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec.  Alcohol 15% by volume.  24 months in new French oak.
Robert Parker – 94, Tim Baxter – 98.

2013 Hall, “Jack’s Masterpiece” Cabernet Sauvignon $120

95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot.  Alcohol 15.4% by volume.  24 Months in 65% New French Oak.
Robert Parker - 99, Wine Spectator - 95.

2013 Turnbull Wine Cellars, Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon $55

83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Merlot, 1% Malbec.  Alcohol 14.5% by volume.  20 Months in French oak.
Robert Parker - 95 points.  James Suckling – 92.

2013 Venge, “Silencieux” Cabernet Sauvignon $62

100% Cabernet.  Alcohol 14.8% by volume.  27 months in 100% new French oak.  Bottled unfiltered.
Robert Parker – 95, Wine Enthusiast – 94

2012 Mayacamas Vineyrds, Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon2012 Mayacamas Vineyards, Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon $133

100% Cabernet.  Alcohol 13.25% by volume. 18 months in large oak barrels and 18 months in barrique.
Vinous – 96.  James Suckling – 94.

2012 Dominus, “Napanook” Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend  $62

95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite Verdot.  Alcohol 14.5% by volume.  24 Months in 20% new barrels. 
James Suckling – 95, Vinous – 94, Robert Parker -93.

All in all it was a rare and wonderful group opportunity to taste some highly-rated, expensive Cabernet wines that might otherwise strain an individual’s budget.

Note - prices are actual purchase prices in the Washington, DC market and may not accurately reflect prices in other market areas.

©Richard Marcis
March 5, 2017


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