Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most well-known and most planted varieties on the planet. Along with other extremely popular grapes like Chardonnay and Merlot, producers are enthusiastic about planting this grape no matter what the region. Napa Valley established Cabernet Sauvignon as its dominant variety, and since it took off and became the U.S.’s most globally recognized fine-wine region, many producers in the New World followed suit and planted more Cab.
What’s unique about these wines is that, unlike in the grape’s hometown of Bordeaux, California and other New World regions have attempted, with great success, to isolate Cabernet Sauvignon into varietal bottlings and single-vineyard offerings. Yes, there can be a minuscule percentage of Petit Verdot here and a skosh of Merlot there, but California, Washington State, and Australia all offer stunning varietal examples.
This year, American Cabernets dominated our rankings, with top performers from California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma County exciting us most. Other top bottles came from Washington State, Texas, and even as far away as Australia, where you can find great value. Here are 27 of the best Cabernet Sauvignons of 2023.
Table Of Contents
Best Cabernet Sauvignons Under $50
Dandelion Vineyards ‘Pride Of The Fleurieu’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Founder and winemaker Elena Brooks has been making wine since she was 16, helping her mother at a winery in Bulgaria. After years of dedication and education making wine around the world, she landed in Australia with her family. All that experience shows. This is such a true expression of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The nose is so earthy and peppery with some dark berry fruit wafting up. The palate is soft and chewy with a good density of fruit and more of that earthy pepper. So good. This is definitely a case buy.
Average price: $25
Xanadu Vinework Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
An Irish couple moved to Margaret River. They were enamored by the pioneering spirit of the region that they were certain would become a major Australian wine region. Planting vines the year “Star Wars” came out, in 1977, they were one of the first to do so getting the area started. This wine is so balanced and delicious and under 30 bucks. It has a confident casual vibe with undeniable cracked black pepper and blackberry notes on the nose. The tannin on the palate is present, but takes a back seat to soft fruit and great acidity.
Average price: $27
Miraflores Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2019
Founded in the late ‘90s and guided by a mentee of the U.S.’s most famous winemaker and consultant, André Tchelistcheff, Marco Capelli is doing great work up in the mountain air of California’s El Dorado AVA. While the vineyards were originally planted to Zinfandel and Syrah, the Cab is really thriving. This wine has a leanness to it, which is a good thing. The bright mountain-fruit acidity balances the depth of fruit resulting in a medium weight with seamless tannins slightly framing the wine.
Average price: $45
Best Cabernet Sauvignons Under $100
Arrowood Winery Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Winemaker Kristina Shideler has a motto: “Taste everything you can get your hands on. Never stop learning and never get bored.” She sees wine as more than just a product, but a drink that has value in “the integral role it plays in cultures around the world.” She applies this passion to Arrowood, and wow, does it work. Big and juicy yet soft and graceful, this wine has classic blackberry fruit but also gives the slightest rose petal notes in the background. The mouthfeel is so comfy and quenching with well-integrated tannin.
Average price: $50
Becker Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2017
This winery was the result of a vacation home search turned into a wine adventure, starting with 50 acres of land. Today, after years of family and friends helping to make a dream come true, the winery is now at 300 acres. Cab is not top of mind when I think of Texas but now it is. This is a plush, fruit-forward wine that has an ease to it, like that big sky country it comes from. The fruit is deep and savory and the palate is fleshy and coating. This is a BBQ Cab.
Average price: $50
Burgess Cellars ‘Contadina’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Tom Burgess’s winery is a place that has not only produced exceptional wines, but has also been an inspiration and training ground for some of the greats in Napa Valley. Today, winemaker Meghan Zobeck carries on the legacy of Burgess while also transitioning the property to regenerative farming. This Cab is drinking so well right now. It can still age but it has entered its refined aroma phase. The nose is all rosemary and roasted prunes with some aged balsamic vibes. The balance on the palate is extremely awesome with the softened tannins on level with the fruit and that hillside acidity lifts it all up.
Average price: $50
My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Winemaker Eric Jensen first started producing this wine as an homage to Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure Winery, as Asseo would frequently refer to himself as Jensen’s “favorite neighbor.” My Favorite Neighbor is the result of their friendship, and the Cabernet-based wine was inspired by Asseo’s roots in Bordeaux. This Cab is so Paso and so damn good. It’s deep, like really deep, with some unique floral notes among the blackberry fruit. The palate is all about the mouthfeel. You just want to sink into this wine with soft, plush fruit and seamless tannins.
Average price: $50
Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Ken and Ginger Harrison visited the Walla Walla Valley in Washington in search of a place to start a vineyard. The pair found a historic farmstead that drew them in, and they purchased the property in 2000 with the goal of creating a destination for premier Cabernet Sauvignon. The Harrisons’ dedication to Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the skill of winemakers Daniel Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler, is very apparent in this wonderful Washington wine. The nose is bright with very present earthy tones. The palate is just all balance, with medium fruit, well-integrated tannins and a lingering finish.
Average price: $62
Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
With over a hundred years of experience, a rich history of being included in the Judgment of Paris, and a deep library that basically represents Napa history in a cellar, you know this winery knows Cab. This big’un is still aging but has juicy, peppery fruit on the nose and palate with some still-kind-of-new tannins making their way into the wine. The wine is drinking well now, but you could definitely hold onto this one for a few years.
Average price: $65
Palmeri Sweetwater Saddle Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
The quote on the back of the label says it all. “Our family has selected vineyards that embody a passion for the luscious boldness of mountain fruit.” If you know Napa Cab, welcome to high- elevation Sonoma Cab. The earth here lends itself to truly wonderful fruit. There is a savory element among the fruit in this wine that adds complexity. On the palate you’ll want to savor it so much that you won’t want to swallow it, then you’ll remember you have a bottle to go.
Average price: $69
Pursued By Bear Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Kyle MacLachlan is a Washington State native and as his career popped off he was always drawn back to the Evergreen State. As he pursued an acting career he also found a foothold in his home state. When Kyle met winemaker Daniel Wampfler, who has made wine for some well-known Washington wineries, he was then pursued by bear, the wine’s mascot, to enter the wine industry. This wine shows that this collaboration was serendipitous from the start. This is a wonderful Columbia Valley Cab with a savory yet fruit-forward nose. The palate is bright with depth and some tannin that just wants to hang on and will eventually melt into the wine. Lay it down for a year or sip it now. It’s ready.
Average price: $70
Aldina Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Aldina is named after Francisco Lopez and Monica Lopez’s parents, Al and Dina Lopez. Not only have they taken on the family business, they are the proprietors of Bacchus Landing, a beautiful food and wine-tasting establishment featuring all things Sonoma. And their wines are fantastic. This Cab is so plush and smooth. But not right away. It helps to let it open for an hour (but keep sipping to watch it evolve). The nose is full of classic blackberry fruit and a great earthiness. The palate is soft and deep and structured with excellent texture. It will age but can also be enjoyed now.
Average price: $72
Smith Story Wine Cellars Pickberry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
The Storys eloped in Hawaii, loved wine, conceived of a plan to make wine, moved to Northern California and the rest is history. Their motto is “drink what you love, love what you drink,” and you will love this drink. Soft on the nose with nice concentration of fruit, some savory feels, and the slightest hint of oak. The palate is bright and juicy for such a big wine, with a quiet tannin structure in the background and great natural acidity.
Average price: $75
Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
On a mountain straddling both Sonoma and Napa Counties since the late 1800s, Pride has the best of both worlds. Sold to the Prides by the Gamble family, the winery continues to make age-worthy mountain wines. This bottle is drinking well now with some decanting, but can also be put down for like two years. The fruit is ready to soften and fill out as the tannins fade into the wine.
Average price: $78
Monroy Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
From Jeddah, Saudi Arabia making wine with his father to California in the ‘90s where he studied as a molecular biologist, making his way into the labs of well-known wineries, it was inevitable that Adolfo Hernandez would become a winemaker. Today he and his wife Nohelia craft their own wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a nice well-aged example of their work. The nose is herb-y with peppery notes wisping through blackberry fruit. It has a classic California Cab vibe with a lean concentration of fruit that gives more than you think.
Average price: $80
Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Joe Heitz came to Napa Valley in 1961 and blew everyone’s mind. Now, this winery has been wowing the U.S. with seriously focused wine for decades. Heitz Cellars can take the W of being the first winery to offer a single-vineyard bottling in Napa. This is Napa Valley elegance. Soft everything. Soft savory fruit on the nose. Soft textures on the palate. The tannins are in the background but doing the work of keeping balance. Some of Napa at its finest.
Average price: $85
Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
The Cakebreads came to wine country in the early ‘70s. What began as a photography trip to document Napa Valley, ended up with a ranch purchase. Over the years they have steadily expanded, working with new grapes and different terroirs. They have become part of the fabric of the Northern California wine industry, even presiding over the Napa Valley Vintners Association. This wine shows the skill and patience it takes to make wine in America’s fine-wine region. Soft and soulful on the nose, it will draw you in right away with a pop of blackberries and earth. The palate has a nice balance between fruit, which is soft and plush, and tannin, which is still working its way into the wine.
Average price: $89
Annadel Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Katie Honey and Dan Whalen, owners of Annadel Estate Winery, came to wine country in 2020. It’s a new adventure for Dan and Katie, coming to California from New Jersey and Saskatchewan, respectively. They have employed the skill and experience of Palmeri’s winemaker Drew Damskey to get things going, and man are they going. This built-to-age Cab is a structural gem. The nose is focused, with a hint of roasted fruit. It deepens as you smell it. On the palate the firm tannins are not done easing into the wine but it is drinking wonderfully now, with a great texture.
Average price: $90
Brandlin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
The Brandlins came upon the top of Mount Veeder in the late 19th century and, with their Alpine heritage, said yes, please when many said no thank you, mountain life is not for everyone. It began with an orchard and some grain to sell to the valley, but this is Napa, so eventually they took advantage of their terroir and started producing wine. This Cab is just awesome. It sings with mountain fruit, a term we use in the industry to reference the high-elevation vineyards that gain more sun and retain more acidity than the valley floor or even lower hills. It is so present with a nose of classic blackberry fruit and an added earthy, roasted-herbs situation. The palate is a straight up joy to sip with very well-balanced fruit and a tannin structure that supports without taking over. This wine is wonderful.
Average price: $96
Cobden Wini Old Federal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Mark Davis left Maryland for California to study wine. He then traveled around the world learning first hand. When it was time to make his own, he wanted the wine to honor his parents, Christopher Cobden Davis and Mary Winifred Davis, due to their endless support and enthusiasm for his endeavors. Davis’s dad likes a good Cab, so the wine features a sketch of him on the label. If his dad likes a good Cab — then this will blow his mind. It’s powerful, toothsome, and delicate at the same time. The nose is classic and inviting, with juicy blackberry fruit. But, the palate! Oh, man, the mouthfeel is so deep and soft.
Average price: $98
Best Cabernet Sauvignons Over $100
Flora Springs Wild Boar Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Flora Komes took a chance on a Napa Valley property that many had passed on, seeing its potential. It was the beginning of decades of hard work and strategic expansion. Over the years, with all of the successes, it has always been Flora’s vision; it’s the reason her name is on the winery. This Cabernet is both age-worthy and ready to drink now. It has a big dollop of oak on the nose and palate, which works with the concentration of fruit giving the depth. The palate is powerful with a soft mouthfeel. The tannins are quite young, and in a few years will bring even more layers to this wine.
Average price: $125
Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Chris Carpenter came from Chi-town with a marketing degree. He found himself studying at UC Davis and off to Italy for some hands-on time with the Antinori fam. He has taken this experience and applied it to the soils of Mount Veeder, making wines with a sense of place. This bottle is a wonderful representation of how balance works with Cab. A big wine from the top of a mountain that is impeccably balanced with amazing depth of fruit. The nose is jammy blackberries and some pepper. The palate has the most wonderful depth of fruit framed by easy tannins that don’t overwhelm.
Average price: $125
Sullivan Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Sullivan Estate is a unique place in Napa. When the county lines were being drawn up, they went right through this property. Today, Sullivan still resides on the dividing line. This wine is sort of ready to drink now, but if you do it’ll want a little breathing room, like an hour. The nose is expressive and will only get better with time. The tannins on the palate are still working their way into the wine and are definitely present. The balance is undeniable, and where this wine is going is exciting.
Average price: $130
Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi came to the U.S. with the American dream top of their minds. With a background learning from his father’s winemaking in Shiraz, Iran, they created a special place in Napa Valley. They focus on the cooler climates of Napa Valley and it shows in this wine. This Cab hits all the marks. It has depth. It has the classic blackberry and pepper on the nose. The mouthfeel is big and bold, but with impeccable balance. Not one element outperforms another. Powerful, elegant, and harmonious.
Average price: $140
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars ‘Fay’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Stag’s Leap is one of the most famous wineries in the U.S. It was a top performer at a tasting outside Paris in 1976 now known as the Judgment of Paris. Fay is the name of the man Stag’s Leap Cellars owner Warren Winiarski bought his first vineyard from. This is American wine history in a bottle. Soft broad fruit with a strict tannic edge that, after a few minutes in the glass, softens into the fruit, giving the wine a nice concentrated depth.
Average price: $155
Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
In the late ’60s when Bob and Eleanor Travers took over at Mayacamas, their efforts were recognized in the 1976 Judgment of Paris. The romance of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, the idea of it back before the cult Cab era, is in this bottle. It represents why we, as a budding wine drinking culture, fell in love with wines from this valley and its bordering mountain ranges. Mayacamas Vineyards isn’t just named after the mountains, but defines them and the land they possess. To say this winery is still thriving today is an understatement. The balance is impeccable with the presence of a calm lake, deep and wide. The nose is a study in restraint and expression with those classic earthy blackberry tones subtly embedded in the core of the wine. The mouthfeel is so harmonious, it’s hard to capture in words. The weight is just right, the texture is expertly built and the seamless structure, with tannins woven into the wine, will make you realize you’re sipping a bygone era still alive and thriving on a mountaintop. When we think of American Cab this is what we think of.
Average price: $195
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
This estate is famous for its Chardonnay, specifically the 1973 vintage, but their legacy is not tied to just one grape. They can make a mean Cab, too. Mean as in you think you’re sipping a wine from across the pond and beyond. The nose is elegant with mild fruit and earth. When the wine hits your palate you’re welcomed with the softest fruit depth framed by prominent yet very subtle tannins that will get softer with age and match the fruit. It would also feel wrong not to enjoy this wine with a meal as it is almost built for food.
Average price: $200
Where does Cabernet Sauvignon come from?
Cabernet Sauvignon originated in Bordeaux, France, where it is widely used in the prestigious blends of the Left Bank. DNA testing has shown that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually the product of a crossing between two other grapes that are popular in Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc — hence the name Cabernet Sauvignon.
Which region makes the best Cabernet Sauvignon?
While Cabernet Sauvignon comes from France, where it is commonly used as a blending grape, most major wine regions have taken up this grape and made it their own. High-quality examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, both as varietal wines and in blends, can now be found across the globe from esteemed regions like Napa Valley to Washington State, Australia, Chile, and South Africa. It is one of the world’s most common and popular varieties, also making it one of the most planted.
Why is Cabernet Sauvignon so popular?
Cabernet Sauvignon put Napa Valley, and the U.S. wine industry, on the map, and drinkers embraced it. The wine’s profile is bold, fruit-forward, and complex, making it a great choice for drinking on its own or with food. The familiar flavors of blackberry, plum, blackcurrant, and vanilla make it an inviting wine that many enjoy, especially with a nice steak.
VinePair’s tasting methodology
Throughout the year, VinePair conducts numerous tastings for our popular Buy This Booze column, and wine and spirits reviews. Our mission is to provide a clear, reliable source of information for drinkers, providing an overview applicable to day-to-day buying and drinking.
Tastings are not typically conducted blind. In alignment with our reviews mission, we believe in purposefully tasting all products as our readers typically would, with full knowledge of the producer, the region, and — importantly — the price.
For Buy This Booze roundups, we typically include a maximum of one expression per brand, though we do allow multiple products from the same production facility (i.e., released under different labels).
For this roundup, we aimed to consider the best Cabernet Sauvignons from a variety of origins and price points. From notable to up-and-coming regions, we looked for wines whose flavor profiles went beyond the grape’s standard characteristics and showcased terroir. The lower-priced bottles on the list represent those with the most balance and concentration at their price points. As for the more expensive inclusions, these wines were chosen due to their nuanced notes and their well-rounded acidity and balance.