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The Best Affordable Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons


The Best Affordable Napa Valley Cabernets – The classic “Napa Cab”, the archetypal Napa Valley wine, is a rich, oak-aged red with aromas of blackcurrant, boysenberry, licorice, vanilla and smoky, bittersweet chocolate. The range of grape varieties grown in the Napa Valley has evolved steadily over the 150 years since Yount planted his first vines. Cabernet Sauvignon has risen confidently to become Napa’s star performer, and is the most widely planted grape in almost all of the valley’s sub-regions.

The Thursday before Labor Day weekend marks a unique celebration, it is  National Cabernet Sauvignon Day.  It’s a day that honors and recognizes this most famous of all grape varietals. While Cabernet Sauvignon is famous on a global scale, some of the best expressions of this varietal comes from the Napa Valley, where the Cabernet is King.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a small, thick-skinned grape that is easily adaptable and thus grown in many regions, altitudes, latitudes and climates around the world. When I think about high quality, consistent vintages, and highly structured Cabernet Sauvignon, I always look to the Napa Valley. 


Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain

4070 Spring Mountain Road,
St Helena, CA 94574
+1 707 963 7075

Barnett Vineyards is a Californian wine producer situated in the Napa Valley. The estate specializes in single-vineyard Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines produced from its vineyard plots in Spring Mountain District.

Fiona and Hal Barnett founded Barnett Vineyards in 1983 when they acquired a 16-hectare (40-acre) site in Spring Mountain. They planted their new estate to Cabernet Sauvignon and six years later these vines supplied the grapes for the first of Barnett Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon vintages. A total of 232 cases of wine were made in this inaugural release year, and today production has increased to up to 6000 cases of wine per annum as further vineyards have been acquired.


Beringer Private Reserve

2000 Main Street,
St. Helena, Napa CA 94574
+1 707 257 5771

Bursting with classic black cherry fruit on a lovely frame of soft tannins and integrated acidity this is just ready but will continue to soften and improve though it is delicious today.

Beringer is California’s longest continuously operating winery. It has become one of the largest and most distributed American labels, and is known for its range of wines, from affordable table wines to fine single-vineyard cuvées and a private reserve label.

Beringer’s most lauded range is the Private Reserve label, offering wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon.


Caymus Special Selection

8700 Conn Creek Road,
Rutherford, CA 94573
+1 707 967 3010

The Caymus Vineyard owners and winemaking team have instituted a valley-wide approach for their Special Selection. You will find grapes selected to uphold the high standard of this red.

Caymus Vineyards is a wine producer based in Rutherford, in California’s Napa Valley. Like most of the valley’s famous producers, it specializes in top-end wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, and its top wine, the Caymus Vineyard Special Selection, is notable for having been the only wine to have twice topped Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list, with its 1984 and 1990 vintages.


Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon

4240 Silverado Trail,
Napa, CA 94558
+1 707 257 2345

The hallmark of 2016 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon is its seamlessness, the result of decades of meticulous vineyard management of the cooler climate, Southern Napa Valley sites. Darioush estate vineyards in the Mount Veeder and Napa Valley AVA s have hit their stride, producing fruit with splendid concentration, compelling freshness, and graceful complexity.

Darioush Winery is a California wine producer located off the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley, and was established in 1997 by Darioush Khaledi. It is known as a “destination winery” in Napa for its dramatic Persian architecture, and produces a range of wines that repeatedly receive high scores in the press, particularly the flagship label, Darius II.


Dominus Cabernet Sauvignon

2570 Napanook Road,
Yountville, CA 94599
+1 707 944 8954

The historic Napanook Vineyard, one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley that has been in production since the late 19th century is the home of Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus’ Dominus. Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Dominus is an iconic wine that never lacks for bold intensity and power.

The vineyard’s volcanic, well-draining soils are specifically suited to growing Bordeaux varietals, and winemaker Tod Mostero vinifies each dry-farmed parcel separately. Attention to detail is unparalleled, with minimal intervention allowing the terroir to fully express itself in the wine. This 2017 is another outstanding success, 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.

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Far Niente Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

1350 Acacia Drive,
Oakville, CA 94562
+1 707 944 2861

Far Niente Winery was established in Napa Valley, California, in 1885 by John Benson. It is a producer of premium Cabernet Sauvignon and one of the most storied California wineries.

There are several vineyards in the Oakville appellation that provide grapes for the Far Niente wines. The Martin Stelling vineyard provides fruit for the Cabernet Sauvignon, and bounds Heitz Cellar’s famous Martha’s Vineyard, as well as Harlan Estate. Fruit for the Chardonnay comes from several vineyards in Coombsville, a cooler area just east of Napa town.

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Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

1829 St Helena Highway,
Rutherford, CA 94573
+1 800 532 3057

James Suckling Review Rated 91 This shows some of the classic Grgich hallmarks with fresher fruit that runs in the red to black plum spectrum as well as fresh herbs and grass. Medium to full body, grainy tannins and a minerally, dynamic finish. From biodynamically-grown grapes. Drink in 2020. The wine’s complex flavors of black currants, clove and mocha are topped o by licorice.

Grgich Hills Estate is a historic fixture in Napa Valley, founded by Miljenko “Mike” Grgich in the Rutherford AVA in 1977. The winery produces an array of wines from five estate vineyards located throughout the famous valley, and has received international acclaim for its elegant and balanced wines.

Grgich Hills Estate crafts a number of reserve and special wines, the most popular being their single vineyard Yountville Cabernet, sourced from some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Napa Valley, planted in 1959. The Violetta Late Harvest dessert wine is named for Mike’s daughter, Violet, and is sourced from the American Canyon vineyard.

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Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

750 Oakville Cross Road,
Oakville, CA 94562
+1 707 944 0290

Wine Enthusiast Review Rated 94 Muted at first, this reserve wine shows a deft hand. A red currant tone is met by a mild grip of tannins and a soft mid-palate that is lightly rich in coconut shavings and mocha. Supple and balanced in richness, it offers classic flavors of cassis and cherry wrapped in supportive oak. Wine Spectator Review Rated 93 Aromas of dark berry, fresh-cut herbs, cedary oak and gravelly earth are tight and well-centered.

Groth Vineyards and Winery is located in the Oakville sub-appellation of Napa Valley, California. It is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon wines, but produces Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as well.

Both the generic and reserve Cabernet Sauvignon wines are sourced from the Oakville property, and are full-bodied and true to the appellation.

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Heitz Cellar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

436 St. Helena Highway,
St Helena, CA 94574
+1 707 963 3542

Heitz Wine Cellar is an iconic Napa Valley wine producer located just south of St Helena. It is most famous for its single vineyard wines made of Cabernet Sauvignon, and in particular the Martha’s Vineyard wine, which is one of Napa’s ‘Cult Cabernets’. Heitz Cellar Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon are much more affordable choices.

As with many Napa producers, Heitz’s success has been with its Cabernet Sauvignon. Heitz is the exclusive lease holder of the 14-ha (35-acre) Martha’s Vineyard in the Oakville AVA and has used its fruit to produce vineyard-designated varietal Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the 1966 vintage. Despite this, Heitz has shied away from using Napa’s sub-AVA titles, choosing instead to use the more generic Napa Valley AVA along with the vineyard name.

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Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon

200 Taplin Road,
St Helena, CA 94574
+1 800 707 5789

Joseph Phelps is one of Napa Valley’s most prominent wine producers. As is the case with many of Napa’s most famous producers, the key grape variety here is Cabernet Sauvignon.

The iconic redwood winery is located just outside of St Helena. The company owns vineyards across Napa, notably in Stags Leap, Oak Knoll, Rutherford and Oakville.

Joseph Phelps’ flagship wine is Insignia, which made its debut in 1974. This is a blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller amounts of other Bordeaux varieties. The precise components vary with each vintage. Current options are Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The company hopes to replant some Merlot for future vintages.

Phelps’ aim was to move away from varietal labeling and create a wine that could be different every year, depending on what the vintage called for. It is one of Napa’s so called cult Cabernets, and several vintages have been awarded 100 points by noted wine critic Robert Parker. From 2004 Insignia is made entirely from estate grown fruit.

Outside of Insignia, Joseph Phelps makes a large portfolio of wines. Fruit for these is sourced both from estate vineyards and partner growers.

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Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon

8164 St. Helena Highway,
Oakville, CA 94562
+1 707 967 9600

The State Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of black cherry and loganberry that are enticing, but it is the velvety palate and the juiciness of this wine that seems to define the vineyard. There is softness and a thickness to the texture that is pure enjoyment that carries through to an extremely long finish.

Nickel & Nickel Winery was established in 1997 by Gil Nickel of Far Niente. Situated on the 42-acre John C. Sullenger property in Oakville, the winery focuses exclusively on varietal wines from single-vineyard designations. While primarily focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, the company also produces a small amount of Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah.

The winery was opened to the public in 2003, with cutting-edge facilities located within an 1880’s farmstead. Each vintage, Nickel & Nickel make up to fifteen different Cabernet Sauvignons sourced from different vineyards in Oakville, Napa Valley, Rutherford, Diamond Mountain, Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, St Helena, and Yountville. The intent is to let each site express its terroir, and to show the diversity of Napa Valley in the glass. While the estate John C. Sullenger Vineyard and Tench Vineyard are favorites, each vineyard produces a unique bottle of wine that are textbook examples of Napa Valley Cabernet.

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Paradigm Winery

1277 Dwyer Road,
Oakville, CA 94562
+1 707 944 1683

Paradigm consists of four contiguous parcels totaling fifty five acres. Paradigm is a self contained winery estate; including fifty acres of vineyard, the winery, two homes, a warehouse, a barn and an acre of olive trees.

Paradigm Winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris, two winegrowers with extraordinarily deep roots in Napa Valley. Ren and Marilyn hired a young and talented winemaker, Heidi Barrett, who has been with Paradigm since the beginning. They all felt a shared passion for making great wine, and a determination to preserve the small, family-owned style of winery that Napa Valley was built on.

With an incredibly loyal team, Paradigm Winery maintains a hands-on approach to all winemaking and vineyard operations, nothing is outsourced. Every bottle you uncork was grown, crushed, fermented, barrel aged, bottled and stored on site.

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Paul Hobbs Winery

3355 Gravenstein Highway North,
Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707 824 9879

Paul Hobbs Winery was founded in 1991 by established winemaking consultant Paul Hobbs. Located in Sebastopol in Sonoma County, the winery specializes in single-vineyard varietal wines made from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay. Hobbs already had an impressive resumé as a consultant before establishing his own winery, which has gone on to receive significant recognition.

Paul Hobbs started his career working for Robert Mondavi in 1978, and was involved with the creation of Opus One – the collaboration between Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of the Bordeaux first growth Mouton Rothschild. Hobbs consulted with Simi Winery and championed the Argentinian wine industry while at Bodega Catena Zapata. The connections Hobbs made allowed Paul Hobbs Winery to achieve financing in a difficult period when California was suffering from phylloxera in the early 1990s.

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Pride Mountain Reserve Cabernet

4026 Spring Mountain Rd.,
St Helena,CA 94574
+1 707 963 4949

Pride Mountain Vineyards is a California winery that straddles the border between Sonoma County and Napa Valley – a brick inlay charts the border as it bisects the winery’s crush pad. Officially it is located in the Spring Mountain District AVA, although Pride Mountain makes wines from both Napa and Sonoma as well as blends of the two. A number of grape varieties are grown at the estate: specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay and Viognier.

Pride Mountain Vineyards makes a range of wines from both Napa and Sonoma fruit, or a blend of both. The blended wines show the the percentage of fruit from each region on the label. Due to local labeling laws, Pride Mountain cannot put ‘estate’ on any of its labels – even when the fruit is entirely sourced from its own vineyards – as it falls across two AVAs. Instead, Pride Mountain labels its more premium wines with ‘Vintner Select’. Its wines are critically regarded with the premium 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon earning 100 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

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Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet

6154 Silverado Trail,
Napa,CA 94558
+1 707 944 2877

Shafer Vineyards is a family-owned wine producer in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley. It is particularly known for its Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, regarded as one of the very finest wines in California. With the first wines appearing in 1978, Shafer Vineyards is one of the founding estates of – and a benchmark in quality for – the Stags Leap District AVA.

Shafer has around 57 hectares (140 acres) of vines in the Stags Leap District, spread out across several vineyards. The Hillside Estate vineyard has shallow, free-draining soils that produce small, intensly flavored berries. The best blocks are used to make the Hillside Select, a plummy, cherry-laden wine with ripe tannins that will age well for a decade or more.

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Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon

1902 Madrona Avenue,
St Helena, CA 94574
+1 707 963 0134

Spottswoode is a wine producer located in St Helena, in California’s Napa Valley. It releases only four wines every year, with the focus being on Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah.

Spottswoode’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes grown in the estate vineyard, at the foot of the Mayacamas mountains. It is aged for 20 months in French oak, two thirds of which is new, and depending on the vintage may have a proportion of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Sauvignon Blanc is predominantly made from estate fruit, with a small portion coming from grapes purchased from surrounding vineyards. Spottswood also make a second Cabernet Sauvignon wine, the Lyndenhurst, and tiny amounts of Syrah that are bottled under the name ‘Field Book’.Last updated 11-Aug-2016

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Joseph Phelps Insignia

200 Taplin Road
St. Helena, CA 94574

Joseph Phelps Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml 98 Points – #28 Top 100 Wines of the USA 2019 – James Suckling Lovely density and intensity with dark berries, blueberries and inky undertones with hints of spice, chocolate and walnuts. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. The texture and length are fantastic here. Complex. Hints of smoky wood at the end. This needs three to five years more in bottle age. Exciting wine.

Affordable Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons

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