A $45 Zinfandel or a $45 Napa Cabernet

Would you rather drink a $45 Zinfandel or Napa Cabernet?

I find myself in my cellar on a Tuesday or Wednesday looking at and wanting a $100 Cab but being a weekday I try not to. Then I see a few lower priced Napa Cabs in the price range below $50. Except in another area of the cellar I have all of this great tasty Zinfandel. What I end up with is drinking the Zinfandel, ignoring the $50 cabs (forever) because they just are not as good as the zins and drinking the $100 cabs Friday and Saturday.

Anybody else?

IMO, pretty easy. You can get a top top flight Zin for $45, while $45 Napa cab is nowhere near the QPR

Drink what excites you on the night, and buy more to replace it.

It’s not a competition, just trying to work out your own preferences, and you seem to be pretty clear in that, which is cool.

I don’t usually think about “what price wine do I want tonight,” but I think I get your drift.

If I wanted a ‘bigger’ experience in your example, I think, on average, I would hit the zin.

When you ponder, are you thinking purchase price, or current resale value?

You’re not alone buddy. When i’m in that ‘what the hell am i going to drink tonight’ mode, 8 times out of 10 I end up drinking a delicious, well-priced zin, and passing over my much more expensive cabs and the few moderately priced ones (which we label as 'good QPR’s, but at the end of the day we realize they just aren’t that great)… and pretty much always end up happy that i did.

This is even more true on a school night.

Resale value never comes into play for me below $100. But it sure does steady my hand when the resale is 2-3x what I paid even though I have never flipped a wine. I just can’t seem to enjoy a good $45 Cab as much as a $45, $40 Zinfandel. And I have a bunch of Zinfandel in my cellar. The Cabs in this range just are not very expressive to me so I pass on them. Then wonder why I bought them. Well until non wine people come over. :frowning:

You only live once. Drink what you feel at the moment.


And this:

Drink what excites you on the night, and buy more to replace it.

It’s not a competition

Sometimes you just want a Cab. Sometimes you want something else. I don’t drink a whole lot of Cab, but if that’s what I want at that time and I have it at hand, that’s what we drink. Same for any other grape.

Count me in for the zin. I’ve had far more $40ish zins than $40ish cabs but fewer “that was unimpressive” moments with the zins. Last sub $50 Napa cab I had was 2013 Lariat DD (upper $30s I think). Did not like it at all.

There are more $45 dollar excellent zins than cabs. Would be boring to have the same handful of good QPR cabs instead of the wide array of single vineyard zins.


Plus, I am a much greater fan of Zin than Cab. :slight_smile:

Firstly, it’s interesting no one has mentioned food/what’s for dinner yet. Certain foods might work better with cab or with the zin. You can always pop the cab to use for your deglazing/wine sauce and drink it while creating dinner. Then pop the zin with dinner and relax with the zin the rest of the night.

I’m not sure what’s the dilemma? [cheers.gif]

I agree that a $45 Zin is “top shelf” compared to a $45 Cab, but I respectively disagree that a $45 Zin was unimpressive compared to the $45 Cab - maybe you just favor the cab profile more than the zin?

To me, many of the most satisfying CA Cabs in the $25-45 range are not from Napa producers. You pay a premium on the fruit and the winery location. It’s a moving target, but you can find some darn good Napa Cabs from non-Napa producers for around $45, and they don’t have the pressure to make the modern style. (A decade ago there were a few of those for $25, which to me were better than almost all sub-$100 Napa Cabs.) Look outside of the lauded Cab regions, and you can find gems in the $25-35 range. There should be some relation between the price you’re willing to pay for a wine and the pleasure you expect to get from it.

Scott - I think you misread what Micah was saying.

There is an itch that I have which can only be scratched by a very good Cabernet. The QPR $45-$65 just never scratches it. If I drink the $45 cabernet it just makes that itch, itchier plus I am usually let down and disappointed that evening with the $45 Cab

As some others have stated in so many words, I go by the axiom, “drink what you like and like what you drink”. For me, its really that simple.


I’d rather drink a $32 bottle of zin which is about where my 2 favorites come in. I don’t know of any more expensive bottles that I would prefer.

I might open both and set out two glasses.
The open bottles are then kept in the kitchen wine fridge so,
I get the best of both worlds, and it will last 3 nights (sometimes).