U.S. CABERNET REPORT: Spring 2013

27 04 2013

I’ve noticed a funny thing with cabernet this year.  That being, I can’t find one that I like.  So we set up a shootout and recently tried these 2010-2011 cabernet sauvignons, over a period of two consecutive nights.  Listed in no particular order:

  • $25 – Raymond Napa Valley Reserve: 2010
  • $10 – Rodney Strong (Sonoma County): 2010
  • $24 – BV Rutherford (Napa Valley): 2010
  • $11 – Chateau Ste. Michelle (Columbia Valley, Washington): 2010
  • $11 – Toasted Head (Mendecino and Lake County, CA, just north of Napa): 2010
  • $10 – BrisAndes (Colchagua Valley, Chile): 2011

After careful imbibing, we conclude that none of these wines is worth recommending.  (At much lower prices, maybe.)  Maybe because the 2010 growing season was tough in California, as reported by Wine Enthusiast here.

What we tasted was either overly simplistic sweetness (Chateau Ste. Michelle, Raymond), or excess green pepper/vegetal flavors mixed with unidentifiable oaky goulash (Toasted Head, BV Rutherford).  What all of these cabs had in common was weakness.  No punch, no “wow”.  Just boring.

The best value was probably the $11 Toasted Head, a result loudly predicted by this video review.  (And I mean loudly!  WAKE UP!)  However I don’t think it is worth $25, as they said, or even $11, which is why I am not recommending it.

The BrisAndes offered up musty basement and sour rhubarb, coming in last place.  My favorite regardless of price was probably the most restrained, the BV Rutherford.  But no way was it worth $24.

Bottom line:  I recommend avoiding 2010 cabernet sauvignons, which is a lot of what’s out there now (Spring 2013).  I haven’t found any 2011’s that float my boat either.  Someday, California will excite us again.

We might not have to wait long.  The 2012 growing season appears to have been absolutely fantastic.  Check out this report.

Cheers,

Wineguider

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3 responses

29 04 2013
Glenn

I appreciate your candid assessment. If they are not worthy, we need to hear that. Part of being a good wine consumer is avoiding the poorer wines. In our village, the 2012’s are beginning to arrive. My limited tasting (3) suggests they are a step up from their recent versions.

13 08 2013
Kendall-Jackson cabernet sauvignon review UPDATE | Wineguider wine reviews

[…] things get a bit touchy.  If you have read my U.S. CABERNET REPORT: SPRING 2013, you know that 2010 and 2011 California cabernets are not performing well, to put it nicely.  And […]

21 08 2013
redlover

I’ve also read that 2012 growing season is supposed to be one of the best in quite awhile. Can’t wait to check them out!!

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