Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

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Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#1 Post by B. Buzzini »

...I want nice graphite dryness, not too sweet...firm tannins yet silky...varietal correct, yet showing some terroir complexity and uniqueness from the sheep herd...........GO!
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#2 Post by Victor Hong »

Older or newer vintage?
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#3 Post by Mark E. »

Frog's Leap for sure in my book.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#4 Post by B. Buzzini »

Victor Hong wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:05 pm Older or newer vintage?
Oh yeah...CURRENT renditions.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#5 Post by Tom DeBiase »

Frogs Leap, look no further. $50.00 or lower at several retailers on wine searcher.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#6 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

2018 Elyse Napa valley (and it’s not close)

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#7 Post by Jim F »

B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:04 pm ...I want nice graphite dryness, not too sweet...firm tannins yet silky...varietal correct, yet showing some terroir complexity and uniqueness from the sheep herd...........GO!
Terroir? So, are you ruling out Napa valley blends?
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#8 Post by Kevin Patrick »

Ramey, Trefethen, Stag's Leap Artemis, Paul Hobbs Crossbarn, Groth, Grgich Hills

Also 6 Magnums of Gallo:
https://www.winetoship.com/gallo-cabernet-sauv.html

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#9 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:20 pm 2018 Elyse Napa valley (and it’s not close)
Exactly.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#10 Post by B. Buzzini »

Jim F wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:23 pm
B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:04 pm ...I want nice graphite dryness, not too sweet...firm tannins yet silky...varietal correct, yet showing some terroir complexity and uniqueness from the sheep herd...........GO!
Terroir? So, are you ruling out Napa valley blends?
No...I want some uniqueness of the vineyard(s). Blends ok, as long as it breaks away from the sheep.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#11 Post by Scott Watkins »

Frogs Leap
Saunter ESV although more expensive but currently $55 if you act fast.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#12 Post by Mattstolz »

my favorite is Ridge Estate. Is that still under $50?

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#13 Post by Christos M. »

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:20 pm 2018 Elyse Napa valley (and it’s not close)
Plus 10% off if you buy a case directly from the winery.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#14 Post by DanielP »

I would not call it silky, and it's got some pyrazine, but Smith-Madrone makes a wonderful cabernet
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#15 Post by Victor Hong »

DanielP wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:07 pm I would not call it silky, and it's got some pyrazine, but Smith-Madrone makes a wonderful cabernet
Agreed. Perhaps the only post-1996 California red which I will happily drink, courtesy of a wonderful gift once from Bruce H. of his board.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#16 Post by joejolesch »

I’m not sure what the blend is for the latest release, but Blackbird Arise is a fine Napa choice at this price point. Caterwaul is another solid choice.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#17 Post by tpetty »

Another vote for Frog's Leap
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#18 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r »

Christos M. wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:06 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:20 pm 2018 Elyse Napa valley (and it’s not close)
Plus 10% off if you buy a case directly from the winery.
Where are you all buying this? I emailed the winery and they said it is not released yet...

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#19 Post by B. Buzzini »

Napanook was my go to...but that $49.95 is no more. Frog’s Leap...will check it out! Never had them.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#20 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:29 pm
Christos M. wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:06 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:20 pm 2018 Elyse Napa valley (and it’s not close)
Plus 10% off if you buy a case directly from the winery.
Where are you all buying this? I emailed the winery and they said it is not released yet...
Their wine club.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#21 Post by Albert R »

Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:29 pm
Christos M. wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:06 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:20 pm 2018 Elyse Napa valley (and it’s not close)
Plus 10% off if you buy a case directly from the winery.
Where are you all buying this? I emailed the winery and they said it is not released yet...
You need to become a member. PM Cheryl Foil. She has been active here.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#22 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:35 pm Napanook was my go to...but that $49.95 is no more. Frog’s Leap...will check it out! Never had them.

Napanook is a bit lush.

Do Frog’s Leap. A classic. Easily the best sub-$100 Napa Cab. Had the 2016 Mayacamas tonight, would take the more classic Frog’s Leap over it all day long, not to mention it is 1/3 the price.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#23 Post by LeslieB »

Smith-Madrone.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#24 Post by Albert R »

B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:35 pm Napanook was my go to...but that $49.95 is no more. Frog’s Leap...will check it out! Never had them.

A few more dollars but the Di Costanzo-DiCo is my current favorite. I purchased the 2018 Elyse but I have not tried it.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#25 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r »

Albert R wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:39 pm
Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:29 pm
Christos M. wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:06 pm

Plus 10% off if you buy a case directly from the winery.
Where are you all buying this? I emailed the winery and they said it is not released yet...
You need to become a member. PM Cheryl Foil. She has been active here.
I did sign up for an account and the mailing list through a link provided by Cheryl but haven’t received any offer details yet.

I did not join the “club” with auto shipments twice a year so maybe that is the only way to get these right now.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#26 Post by Albert R »

Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:44 pm
Albert R wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:39 pm
Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:29 pm

Where are you all buying this? I emailed the winery and they said it is not released yet...
You need to become a member. PM Cheryl Foil. She has been active here.
I did sign up for an account and the mailing list through a link provided by Cheryl but haven’t received any offer details yet.

I did not join the “club” with auto shipments twice a year so maybe that is the only way to get these right now.
I joined the club and was able to purchase during their last release. Cheryl and then Melissa were very helpful.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#27 Post by JulianD »

Sojourn Home Ranch
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#28 Post by Jim F »

B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:34 pm
Jim F wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:23 pm
B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:04 pm ...I want nice graphite dryness, not too sweet...firm tannins yet silky...varietal correct, yet showing some terroir complexity and uniqueness from the sheep herd...........GO!
Terroir? So, are you ruling out Napa valley blends?
No...I want some uniqueness of the vineyard(s). Blends ok, as long as it breaks away from the sheep.
Ok, then this gets into my favorite <$50 cab territory a bit. Frog Leap sure. DiCo yes, but more $ I think. I just had a 2016 Marietta Game Trail...Yorkshire Highlands- great for $30. Amici Napa is a blend..I love it, not sure about your terroir requirement. Beringer Winery Exclusive is $35 on sale, I believe it is from their declassified PR barrels and to me, great juice. Robert Craig Affinity, like DiCo, is SV. If I think of more, will edit them in.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#29 Post by Tom R W »

Chappellet Signature, but I recently had to pay $60 in my wine shop now.
Honig is a consistently decent cab under$50.
Beringer’s Knights Valley is a bargain at $30, imo.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#30 Post by Mike Maguire »

2018 Mt. Veeder cab

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#31 Post by Zachary Mancini »

B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 7:35 pm Napanook was my go to...but that $49.95 is no more. Frog’s Leap...will check it out! Never had them.
I was just about to say Napanook... but the cheapest you will get it for is 60.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#32 Post by ray ormand »


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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#33 Post by Rich Brown »

Mattstolz wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:41 pm my favorite is Ridge Estate. Is that still under $50?
I came here to say exactly. Ridge Estate is the answer for sure.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#34 Post by Chris Seiber »

Scherrer Alexander Valley is in the $40s I think.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#35 Post by F.Daner »

Another vote for DI CO from Di Costanzo. It's spot on to your description but it is $55.
My other is Frog's Leap. Excellent wine and great value for a Rutherford Estate Cabernet.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#36 Post by Dennis Borczon »

Kind of sad to see how FEW options are entered. Used to be back in the day that $50.00 gave you lots of choices. No wonder Napa cab is viewed as elitist juice. I will toss Flora Springs regular cab in the ring. Priced right at $50.00 from winery but I know there are better deals out there. Low key family, nice people and really have a great central valley piece of dirt. If you include cabernet blends the Trilogy can be found from retailers (at least the 2016) for $49.95. I have aged many of these wines for decades and they hold up extremely well. The Hillside Select is classic juice that does not try too hard to push things in any direction. The only thing they lack is a great PR department to hype the product...

Unfortunately this discussion would be way more interesting if we enlarge it to best $50.00 Bordeaux choices. They really have value all over the Golden State right now, at least in certain vintages.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#37 Post by Jim F »

Mike Maguire wrote: April 21st, 2021, 8:39 pm 2018 Mt. Veeder cab
Good choice champagne.gif
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#38 Post by Zachary Mancini »

Amici is decent also. Their regular cab is usually around 40. Also, Harriet and Harvey from my favorite neighbor is good as well.

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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#39 Post by Stan Y. »

B. Buzzini wrote: April 21st, 2021, 6:04 pm ...I want nice graphite dryness, not too sweet...firm tannins yet silky...varietal correct, yet showing some terroir complexity and uniqueness from the sheep herd...........GO!
I like to follow these threads - looking for the same thing, but am still not sure it really exists like it did in the 80s and 90s. I never buy Bordeaux futures but just picked up some '19 Domaine de Chevalier at $55 for exactly this, except for the Napa Valley part.

I understand the Frog's Leap love given it's restraint and accessibility. Doesn't have much 'graphite dryness' though; 'firm' does not come to mind at all for the current release; and its uniqueness is its understated polish. Ridge is Ridge - baby Monte Bello with way too much oak and tannin for current enjoyment...still have a few 2011-2014s cellared as an experiment and expect they will need 15-20 years (which I guess is better than 30-40 years for Monte Bello).

Based on this topic I need to try Di Constanzo, and maybe the Elyse if it can be found without too much jumping through hoops. I am seeing conflicting notes on the Di Constanzo...AG says "intense with huge depth of fruit" which is normally code for something I will not like at all, but some cellartracker notes mention restraint which bodes well.

Time to open another "best $50 Bordeaux" thread I guess.

Edit: just saw Dennis's post, looks like we may be on the same page.
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Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

#40 Post by OwenB »

Zachary Mancini wrote: April 22nd, 2021, 5:38 am Amici is decent also. Their regular cab is usually around 40. Also, Harriet and Harvey from my favorite neighbor is good as well.
Was going to ask about H&H. I think it’s available <$30. Only 40% cab so not necessarily a fit for this thread, but looked like a pretty good value if you’re into that style.

https://m.klwines.com/p/i?i=1485008
Last edited by OwenB on April 22nd, 2021, 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #41 Post by Ed Steinway »

    2015 Ramey Napa Valley is currently at Northern California Costco's for under $50. Ridge Estate, Frog's Leap, Heitz, Smith-Madrone, Freemark Abbey, Keenan --there are quite a few at that price point that would be in the mix.

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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #42 Post by Tim Heaton »

    someone opened the 2007 Frog's Leap this past weekend in Boston - it came across as precisely what you've outlined. Really spoke of its place; loads of Rutherford dust. For any that might be holding some, I'd be drinking these 07s sooner than later. Zero sweetness factor, fwiw.
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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #43 Post by Jim F »

    Another that comes to mind is Caterwaul. It is $50 list, a TRB wine and a blend from across Napa, it is a packed cab that reflects modern winemaking, but still true to the variety and to me, not over the top. Again, being a blend, cannot say that it speaks terroir.

    And one more- Robert Craig Affinity, SV (mostly if not all), mountain fruit.
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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #44 Post by Zachary Mancini »

    OwenB wrote: April 22nd, 2021, 6:17 am
    Zachary Mancini wrote: April 22nd, 2021, 5:38 am Amici is decent also. Their regular cab is usually around 40. Also, Harriet and Harvey from my favorite neighbor is good as well.
    Was going to ask about H&H. I think it’s available <$30. Only 40% cab so not necessarily a fit for this thread, but looked like a pretty good value if you’re into that style.

    https://m.klwines.com/p/i?i=1485008
    Ya might not be the perfect style the OP was asking for, but it does have a lot of asian spice character to it.

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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #45 Post by dave kammerer »

    Another vote for Smith-Madrone.

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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #46 Post by Dan Kravitz »

    Has anybody mentioned Frog's Leap [cheers.gif] [snort.gif] ?

    And three more.

    Domaine Eden.
    Mount Veeder.
    Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards (can be found for ~$50).


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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #47 Post by Dan Kravitz »

    Just posted, then checked my e-mail, Last Bottle has 2014 Sbragia Mt. Veeder 'Godspeed' up for $45. Sounds good to me.

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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #48 Post by Justin S »

    +1 on Domaine Eden. It has plenty of minerality but maybe not graphite flavor.
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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #49 Post by Taylor Broussard »

    Think Frog's Leap could do well - but I really think you'd want to drink these 6-8 years out so they can fill out. We visited last fall, and while they were the excellent across the board, I think they could come across as a bit too austere if you're drinking them right at release. If you're drinking them shortly after release, I'd give the White Rock Vineyards Claret a try. These should be a bit more open at 50%ish Cabernet, and the rest Merlot, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.

    Forgot to add too... they're doing a summer sale too. Use the code Summer25 to save 25% when you buy 3 or more bottles. www.whiterockvineyards.com That would put their Cabernet Sauvignon in your $50 price range too. WRV is right behind one of Shafer's Ridgeback/SchoolBus Vineyards. The 2015 WRV Laureate was one of the best wines we tasted through our last trip.

    K Kl@dder
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    Re: Best Calif Cab at $49.95...

    #50 Post by K Kl@dder »

    I would vote for Smith Madrone, but apparently I need to go buy some Frog’s Leap to give it a try.
    K e i t h

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