California Cab

California Cabernet Sauvignon


The Fifty Best California Sauvignon Tasting of 2022


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 8 cabernet sauvignon wines from California (5 priced over $100 and 3 priced under $100, pre-tax), with 10 members of our wine judging panel. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. Each of the wines were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles. Only ice water and crusty white peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold and Gold medals are awarded based on a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Silver or Bronze medals awarded for this tasting. Medals are provided based entirely on merit and only to products judged worthy of such award.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The appellations are identified for each brand. Prices indicated do not include tax. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites.

Wines priced over $100.



Revana 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon
Terroir Series

(Napa Valley)  $190

Aroma: Black cherry, plum, blackberry, cassis, rose, green bell pepper, spice, leather, balsam, oak.

Palate: Black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, cassis, violet, black licorice, bell pepper, slight vegetal note, black pepper, earthy, wet earth, forest floor, old wood, smoky.

Finish: Bing cherry, berry, currant, jammy, dark chocolate, pepper, smoky, soft tannins add complexity, nice, good with steak.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Revana Cabernet Sauvignon Terroir Series


Kinsella Estates 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
Jersey Boys Vineyard

(Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County)  $120

Aroma: Cherry, plum, blackberry, cranberry, cassis, prune, violets, vanilla, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, leather, clay, earthy, wet woods, oak.

Palate: Black cherry, blackberry, plum, black currants, red roses, tulips, nut, tobacco, earthy, strong tannins, smoky, oak, acidic, tangy.

Finish: Plum, jammy, balanced, soft, pleasant, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Kinsella Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Jersey Boys Vineyard

Lorenzi Estate 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
Hillside Vineyard

(Temecula Valley)  $195

Aroma: Black cherry, currants, violet flowers, herbaceous, cilantro, mocha, tobacco, leather, new wood, oak.

Palate: Raspberry, blackberry, currants, pineapple, dusty, earthy, tobacco, leather, tannins, high acidity, good structure, balanced, rich.

Finish: Bell pepper, pepper, lingering tannins, classic cab, elegant, delicious.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Lorenzi Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Vineyard

Keever Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Napa Valley)  $130

Aroma: Blackberry, black currants, vanilla, popcorn, leather.

Palate: Blackberry, cassis, dark chocolate, nutmeg, tobacco, leather, soft tannins. dark earth, wet wood, cedar, oaky, toasty, smoke.

Finish: Lingering black cherry, blackberry, oak, smooth, not complicated, great with steak.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Keever Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Darioush 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
(Napa Valley)  $120

Aroma: Black cherry, grape skin, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, coffee, tobacco, a touch of leather, oak.

Palate: Dark cherry, plum, raspberry, fresh berries, flowers, soft floral undertones, spice, tobacco, oak, earth, gravel, graphite, good structure, well balanced.

Finish: Bing cherry, currants, earth, pine, oaky, tannins, balanced, clean, smooth, approachable.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Darioush Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Wines priced under $100.


Declaration by 1849 Wine Co.
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Napa Valley)  $80

Aroma: Raspberry, blackberry, violets, toffee, mocha, dark chocolate, Toblerone, licorice, leather, forest floor, oak.

Palate: Dark cherry, sweet cherry, plum, fresh macerated plum, blackberry, blueberry, currants, cocoa, earth, layered, well balanced, pure, classy.

Finish: Lingering cherry, cherry Jolly Rancher, clove, pepper, a touch dusty, smooth, a nice sipper with braised short ribs.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Declaration by 1849 Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon

J. Lohr 2019 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon
(Paso Robles)  $35

Aroma: Dark cherry, ripe plum, strawberry, currant, prune, bell pepper, cocoa, licorice, funky, rich, buttery.

Palate: Ripe cherry, Bing cherry, plum, black currant, cassis, pepper, tobacco, leather, dark wood, oak, rich mouthfeel.

Finish: Streak of dark cherry, leather, tannin, smoke, rich, soft, sensuous.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

Jordan 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Alexander Valley, Sonoma County)  $59

Aroma: Black cherry, blackberry, strawberry, very berry, black currants, prune, fig, dried apricot, dark chocolate, earth.

Palate: Black cherry, black plum, blackberry, blueberry, light strawberry, black currant, peach, cocoa nibs, hint of pepper, light oak, clay, rich.

Finish: Plummy, grapefruit, grassy, wet wood, soft tannins.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon




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