1. Elyse Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard 2008, $70
Saving best for last Elyse was the most full-bodied of the bunch with chocolate and blackberries on the nose and earthy, black cherry, cocoa on the palate. Wine Enthusiast‘s Steve Meimoff mused this five-year vintage “has shed its baby-fat, and is starting to develop bottle complexity.” (92 points). Pair it with lamb, beef or a platter of rich cheese.
2. Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District 2011, $70
Hailing from Napa’s famed Stags Leap district, this 2011 Cliff Lede Cab had a smooth velvety texture and notes of dark red fruit and cocoa. Featuring sophisticated tannins and a generous finish. Robert Parker and Stephen Tanzer gave it 91 points.
3. Richard Partridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $68
Aged in 100% French oak for 21-months this silky, creamy Cab has long tannins and a fruit forward finish. Wine Spectator rated it 90 points. We thought it was a no-brainer pairing for summertime grilling, which in SoCal is pretty much 360 days of the year.
4. Kuleto Estate El Coyote Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $80
Upon first sip of Kuleto I said, “Mmm, it makes me pucker, I like it.” Everyone nodded and took a second sip of the fruit forward Cab. “Good acid, that’s what makes you pucker,” our wine guru explained. It has a unique sweet and savory umami-like flavor—perfect for decanting alongside a long dinner of rich foods and conversation with friends.
5. Ramspeck Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $26.94
An early favorite (three wines in) Ramspeck’s savory and black ripe Bing cherry flavors are smooth and inviting and it’s priced at an equally inviting $26.94 for everyday dinners featuring steak, pasta or anything bold.