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Uncorking Perfection: 15 Best Cabernet Sauvignons to Drink in 2023

best-carbernet-sauvignons

Last Updated on November 25, 2023 by Lydia Martin

As a wine enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for the best vintages to add to my collection. With the year 2023 fast approaching, I’ve been doing my research and have compiled a list of the 15 best Cabernet Sauvignons to drink in the upcoming year. 

From established vineyards to rising stars, this list has something for every palate and budget. So grab a glass and join me as we explore the world of Cabernet Sauvignon and discover the gems that 2023 has to offer.

15 Best Cabernet Sauvignons to Drink in 2023

a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and a wine glass with grapes on the side

1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 13.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $8,932 USD

Screaming Eagle vineyard is located in the Napa Valley AVA in California, which is known for producing some of the world’s finest wines. The vineyard is situated on the eastern slopes of the Oakville AVA, which has a microclimate that is ideal for growing the Cabernet Sauvignon grape varietal. The mountain fruit has unique intensity and complexity due to its high altitude, steep slopes, and volcanic soils.

Screaming Eagle has a rich heritage that began in the early 1990s when founder Jean Phillips purchased the vineyard [1]. The winemaking team is led by Nick Gislason, who is known for his meticulous attention to detail and innovative winemaking techniques. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are harvested by hand and sorted multiple times to ensure only the highest quality grapes are used. 

The wine is aged in new French oak barrels for approximately two years, which adds complexity and structure to the wine without overpowering the fruit. Screaming Eagle is known for its full-bodied and powerful style, with black fruit, chocolate, and espresso aromas. The wine has a long aging potential and can continue to improve for decades in the bottle.

2010 Colgin Cellars Tychson Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 14.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $750 USD

Colgin Cellars Tychson Hill Vineyard is located in St. Helena, a region within the Napa Valley AVA, and is situated at an elevation of 950 feet on the eastern side of the Mayacamas mountain range. The volcanic soil and the cooler microclimate produce small, intensely flavored berries that give the wine its distinctive character. 

Colgin Cellars has a reputation for producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon wine, with a focus on handcrafted winemaking and attention to detail. The winemakers use a combination of traditional and modern techniques to create a wine that is balanced, complex, and expressive. The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo a rigorous selection process to ensure that only the highest quality fruit is used. 

The wine is then aged for 20-22 months in new French oak barrels, which adds depth, complexity, and structure to the wine. The resulting wine is a bold, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with dark fruit flavors, notes of spice and tobacco, and a long, lingering finish. The wine has a good tannin structure, which makes it an ideal candidate for aging, and it is expected to continue to improve over the next decade or more.

1994 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 13.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $800 USD to $1500 USD

Harlan Estate is placed in the western hills of Oakville, in the Napa Valley AVA. It is situated on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains. The vineyard’s location at an altitude of 900 feet above sea level provides a unique terroir that contributes to the wine’s complexity and character. The estate is known for using mountain fruit that is carefully selected and handpicked. 

This high-elevation fruit is known for its intense flavors, depth, and concentration, which are all evident in Harlan Estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard was established in 1984, and since then, it has been known for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Harlan Estate’s wine making philosophy is rooted in the traditional Bordeaux style, which involves blending several grape varietals. 

The estate’s winemakers are dedicated to crafting wines that are true to their terroir and express the vineyard’s unique character. The winemaking process at Harlan Estate involves using only the best grapes, hand-sorting them, and aging them in new French oak barrels for up to two years. 

The wine is then bottled and aged for another two years before release, resulting in a well-structured, complex wine with excellent aging potential. The wine’s style is elegant, with a perfect balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity, making it one of the most well known wines in the world.

Read: Cheap Cabernet Sauvignon Options

2010 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 14.5% | REGION: Rutherford, California | PRICE: $800 USD to $1000 USD

Scarecrow is a highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon produced in the Rutherford AVA of Napa Valley, California. The wine is made with intensely purple grape berries sourced from the J.J. Cohn Estate Vineyard, which has a rich history dating back to the early 1940s. The vineyard is located on a prime Rutherford benchland and is known for producing exceptional fruit with rich flavors and balanced acidity.

The winemaking process at Scarecrow is meticulous, with a focus on producing a wine that reflects the unique terroir of the estate vineyard. The grapes are handpicked and sorted in small, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks before fermentation. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels for 21 months, which contributes to the wine’s complex flavor profile. 

Scarecrow is known for its full-bodied, rich, and opulent style, with notes of blackberry, cassis, and dark chocolate, with a long and silky finish. With proper cellaring, Scarecrow has the potential to age for decades, making it a great investment for collectors and a top choice for fine wine enthusiasts.

1982 Château Mouton Rothschild Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 12.5% | REGION: Pauillac, Bordeaux, France | PRICE: $10,000 USD

Château Mouton Rothschild is considered one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines to drink in 2023 due to its exceptional quality grapes sourced from the prestigious Pauillac region in Bordeaux, France. The vineyard’s location on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, combined with its gravelly soil, creates optimal growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. 

The wine is also crafted using traditional winemaking techniques and is aged in new oak barrels for 18 to 20 months to develop its complex and refined flavors. As one of the five first-growth Bordeaux wines, Château Mouton Rothschild has a rich heritage dating back to the 19th century. The estate has been owned by the Rothschild family since 1853 and has since become a symbol of prestige and quality in the wine world. 

Its commitment to excellence is reflected in the wine’s impressive aging potential, with some vintages lasting for decades or even over a century. Château Mouton Rothschild is known for its powerful, full bodied wine with a deep ruby color, intense aromas of black currant, graphite, and cedar, and flavors of black cherry, plum, and spice. The wine’s tannins are firm but well-integrated, providing a long and persistent finish. 

The wine’s blend is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, and a splash of Cabernet Franc creates a harmonious balance of flavors that complement each other perfectly. These factors combined make Château Mouton Rothschild a highly sought-after and coveted wine for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

1997 Vérité La Joie Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 14% to 15% | REGION: Sonoma County, California | PRICE: $250 USD to $500 USD

Verite La Joie Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from high-elevation mountain vineyards in the Sonoma Valley, which benefit from the unique climate of the region. This location is known for producing high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with concentrated flavors and a good balance of acidity.

Moreover, the winemaking process of Verite La Joie is highly specialized, with a focus on quality and attention to detail. The grapes are carefully harvested and hand-selected, with only the best grapes making it into the final blend. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels, which impart additional flavors and aromas to the wine, and contribute to its smooth and complex mouthfeel.

Finally, Verite La Joie is known for its aging potential, with the wine often improving over time. It has a dense, full-bodied style, with rich flavors of blackberry, cassis, and black cherry, along with notes of spice and vanilla. This complexity and depth of flavor make it a wine that is highly wanted after by collectors and enthusiasts and one that is sure to impress this year and beyond.

2013 Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 14.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $800 USD to $1200 USD

Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet Sauvignons is produced from grapes grown on the Madrona Ranch vineyard in the St. Helena AVA of Napa Valley, which is known for its excellent mountain fruit. The vineyard is farmed organically, and the grapes are handpicked and carefully sorted to ensure the highest quality.

The winemaking at Abreu Madrona Ranch is meticulous and focused on showcasing the unique characteristics of the vineyard. The wine is aged in new French oak barrels for up to two years, adding layers of complexity and depth to the wine. The result is a wine with a dense, layered, and complex character, with notes of black fruit, spice, and cocoa.

Abreu Madrona Ranch is a Cabernet Sauvignon specialist, and the wine is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The wine is full flavored and structured, with firm tannins that will allow it to age for many years. With its impressive heritage and winemaking pedigree, Abreu Madrona Ranch is a wine that will continue to improve in the bottle over the coming years, making it an excellent choice for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

2010 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 15.5% | REGION: Stags Leap District, California | PRICE: $250 USD to $350 USD

Shafer Hillside Select is produced by Shafer Vineyards, located in Napa Valley. It is known for producing world-class wines from its hillside vineyards in the Stags Leap District. The location and AVAs provide a unique terroir that influences the flavor profile of the wine. The mountain fruit grown in these vineyards has an intense flavor and concentrated tannins, resulting in a rich and complex wine.

Winemaking is another factor that sets Hillside Select apart. The grapes are handpicked and carefully selected to ensure only the highest quality fruit is used. The wine is aged for 32 months in new French oak barrels, adding layers of complexity and toasted oak flavors. The winemakers use a combination of traditional and modern techniques to produce a wine that balances power and finesse.

Hillside Select is a Cabernet Sauvignon specialist, and it shows in the wine’s style [2]. The wine has a full-bodied and rich flavor profile with dark fruit flavors of blackberry and black cherry, along with notes of mocha, espresso, and vanilla. 

The wine has an aging potential of 20-30 years, allowing it to develop and evolve over time. Hillside Select is a premium Cabernet Sauvignon that showcases the unique terroir of Napa Valley and the expertise of its winemakers.

2013 Dominus Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 14.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $200 USD to $300 USD

Dominus Estate is a world-renowned winery that produces a good few of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, California. The winery is placed in the heart of Napa Valley, and its vineyards are situated in the famous Yountville AVA. The grapes grown here are of exceptional quality due to the region’s warm climate, long growing season, and well-drained soils, resulting in intensely flavored wines with distinctive varietal character.

The winery uses a unique blend of traditional and modern winemaking techniques to produce its signature style of Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are hand-harvested, sorted, and fermented using natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels for up to 18 months, giving it a complex, layered flavor profile with notes of dark fruit, chocolate, and spices.

Dominus Estate is known for its elegance and balance. Its firm structure and silky tannins make it an ideal wine for aging. The wine has a great potential to improve in the bottle for many years, and it is recommended to decant the wine before serving to allow it to open up fully.

2010 Bond Melbury Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 14.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $250 USD to $360 USD

Bond Melbury offers an exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California. This wine is sourced from the Melbury vineyard, which is situated on the eastern hillsides of the valley above the Rutherford appellation. The vineyard’s unique location provides ideal conditions for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, including well-draining soils and a warm climate with cool evening breezes.

Winemaking at Bond Melbury is meticulous, with a focus on producing small batches of wine with an emphasis on quality. The grapes are carefully hand-harvested and undergo a rigorous sorting process to ensure only the highest quality fruit is used in production. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for up to two years, imparting flavors of vanilla and spice while also adding structure and complexity to the wine.

Bond Melbury is known for its distinctive style, which is characterized by its dark, intense fruit flavors, bold tannins, and long, lingering finish. This wine has excellent aging potential, and while it can be enjoyed in its youth, it will continue to develop and improve for many years to come. Bond Melbury is an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon that exemplifies the quality and craftsmanship of Napa Valley winemaking.

1997 Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 13.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $500 USD to $800 USD

Opus One is located in Napa Valley, which is renowned for its high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The region is characterized by a warm Mediterranean climate and the AVAs of Oakville, Yountville, and Stags Leap, which are known for producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The mountain fruit used in Opus One’s wine comes from the winery’s estate vineyard on the eastern foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. 

The mountain fruit provides the wine with a unique character and complexity. Opus One’s heritage is also noteworthy as it was founded by two of the world’s most famous winemakers, Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. The winery combines traditional Bordeaux winemaking techniques with modern technology to produce a complex, balanced, elegant wine. 

The wine is stored for 18 months in new French oak barrels, which contribute to the wine’s flavor profile and aging potential. Opus One’s cabernet sauvignon specialism is evident in the wine’s style. The wine is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. This blend provides the wine with a balanced and complex flavor profile. 

The wine is rich and full-bodied, with notes of dark fruit, chocolate, and spices. Opus One has a high aging potential and can be enjoyed now or cellared for many years to come.

2001 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 13.9% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $190 USD

Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted in Howell Mountain AVA in Napa Valley. The mountain fruit grown in this region benefits from the unique microclimate and volcanic soils, producing grapes with intense flavors and tannins ideal for aging. The winery’s commitment to organic farming practices and minimal intervention winemaking techniques further enhance the quality of its wines.

Dunn Vineyards has a rich heritage in winemaking, with a focus on producing high-quality, terroir-driven Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Randy Dunn, the founder and winemaker has been making wine in Napa Valley since the 1970s and is known for his dedication to producing age-worthy, structured wines. The winery’s long-term approach to winemaking allows its wines to develop complexity and nuance over time, making them ideal for aging.

Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon has a distinct style characterized by its full-bodied structure with rich, dark fruit flavors such as blackberry, black currant, and black cherry, as well as notes of spice, vanilla, and cedar. The tannins are firm and well-structured, giving the wine excellent aging potential. 

The wine spends two years in 100% new French oak barrels, which adds complexity and depth to the wine. Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon has an aging potential of up to 30 years, making it a wine to cellar and savor over time.

1994 Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 14.1% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $280 USD to $350 USD

Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon is a top-rated wine known for its exceptional quality, taste, and age-ability. One of the main reasons is the winery’s location and AVAs. The Wagner family, which owns Caymus, is known for producing high-quality wines from the Napa Valley AVA, which is known for its exceptional terroir and ideal climate for Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The grapes used in the Special Selection are grown in select vineyards within the Rutherford AVA, which is famous for its deep, gravelly soils that provide excellent drainage and a unique minerality to the wine. The winemaking process is another factor that contributes to the exceptional quality of this wine. 

The grapes are handpicked and carefully sorted before undergoing a lengthy maceration period to extract maximum flavor and tannins. The wine is aged in new French oak barrels for approximately 20 months, which adds layers of complexity and depth to the wine. The result is a full-bodied, rich, and concentrated wine with flavors of dark fruit, chocolate covered cherries, and espresso.

The wine is known for its excellent structure and firm tannins, which allow it to age gracefully over time. While the wine can be enjoyed young, it is recommended to cellar it for several years to allow the tannins to soften and the flavors to evolve.

1971 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 12% to 14% | REGION: Santa Cruz Mountains, California | PRICE: $300 USD to $1500 USD

The Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon is a standout wine due to its use of high-quality grapes, meticulous harvest process, and skillful winemaking techniques that result in a complex and balanced flavor profile. The grapes used in Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from a single vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, recognized as an exceptional appellation for producing high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The mountain fruit grown at this elevation results in lower yields and smaller, more concentrated berries with intense flavors and tannins. These factors contribute to the complexity and depth of the wine. Moreover, Ridge Vineyards has a long heritage of producing outstanding wines, dating back to 1885. The winery is known for its commitment to sustainable and organic farming practices, which results in higher-quality fruit and a unique expression of terroir. 

The winemaking process for Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon is meticulous, using traditional techniques and minimal intervention. The wine is aged in new American oak barrels, which add a subtle layer of flavor and structure to the wine without overpowering it. Thus, Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its bold, full-bodied style with firm tannins and rich, concentrated flavors of dark fruit, spice, and earth. 

The wine has a long aging potential and can be enjoyed decades after its release. It is a wine that behest attention and appreciation and is considered one of the best expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon from California.

1991 Joseph Phelps Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 13.5% | REGION: Napa Valley, California | PRICE: $250 USD to $500 USD

Joseph Phelps Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon is produced by the Napa Valley AVA, which is well-known for producing some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world. The fruit used to make this wine is sourced from various mountain vineyards, known to produce exceptional grapes with concentrated flavors and firm tannins. 

This results in a rich, complex, deeply flavored wine with intense blackberry, cassis, and dark chocolate flavors and a firm tannin structure. The winemaking process used to make Joseph Phelps Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon is also a factor in its exceptional quality. The grapes are fermented in small batches and aged in French oak barrels, which impart subtle flavors of vanilla and spices. 

Thus, resulting in a wine with a balanced oak influence that complements the fruit flavors. The winery also uses traditional winemaking techniques, such as extended maceration and barrel aging, to produce a complex and age-worthy wine. Joseph Phelps Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its age-ability, with the potential to improve over decades in the bottle. 

The wine has a long aging potential due to its high tannin structure and balanced acidity. As it ages, the wine develops more complexity and depth, with flavors of dried fruit, leather, and tobacco emerging.

FAQs

Which year Cabernet Sauvignon is the best?

There isn’t necessarily a “best” year for Cabernet Sauvignon, as the quality of the wine depends on various factors, such as the weather conditions during the growing season, the vineyard location, and the winemaking techniques used. 

However, some vintages are generally considered to be exceptional for Cabernet Sauvignon, such as 1997, 2001, 2007, and 2013 vintages in Napa Valley, California. Ultimately, the best year for Cabernet Sauvignon is a matter of personal preference and can vary depending on individual taste.

References

  1. https://cluboenologique.com/story/screaming-eagle-the-original-california-cult-wine/
  2. https://shafervineyards.com/wine/hillside-select.php
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