Best everyday CA Cabernet direct buy?

Just the wrong grape and business model for a great number of wineries. Lots of wineries would rather sell bulk juice on the market -vs- have brand dilution with a less expensive wine than their flagship. Granted some wineries have “second wines” or something analogous, but they are very rarely what I would consider an affordable wine for the masses. Especially, nothing in the sub $40 stratification.

All the entry level wines from places I buy from are right at $50 a bottle.

For small producers that we all like, yes, these ring true. But, sometimes you have to go to the big store to get your cellar defenders and/or daily drinkers.

I would love it if Myriad started selling a $35 bottle. Of course the quality would give a little, Paul Hobbs Crossbarn is a good example.

Bingo. And, that wine is sold by the case at Costco. So, no need for me to entertain a direct buy.

Really good wine for $34 a bottle IMO.

Hollis Cab sells for $37 in my store, so right in his range.

I’d also suggest looking into Hindsight. I had the basic 2010 Napa Cabernet over Saturday and Sunday and it was killer at $20, so even under your range. They do a $40 Oakville Cabernet but I haven’t tasted it yet.

I should have been more clear, and thanks as always for the friendly tone that you employ in your posts. I buy many (way too many, in fact) wines directly from the winery. Some of the wines that I buy would cost more at retail than what I pay direct, and more others simply have little to no availability at retail.

But in the category of “everyday CA cabernet < $40,” I don’t think there is much value to the search for savings via buying direct, particularly since it means paying shipping. Does anyone have anything in terms of good < $40 CA cab daily drinkers that are cheaper if you buy them direct?

And more broadly, of all the wineries selling direct to customers, and even if you narrow that to your mid to upper tier quality producers, I think only a very small percentage sell at a discount relative to retail. How many wineries in California consistently undersell the retail/auction price for their wines after you factor in shipping? Could you even name 20 in that category? Screaming Eagle, Harlan, KB, Rhys, Sea Smoke, Saxum, maybe Turley, maybe Rochioli, Marcassin, Kistler, maybe the Ridge MB futures program . . . I’m sure there are some others, but I don’t think that many. And these are almost all very small production, very expensive producers, not anyone making $30 cab.

As far as the other reasons one might be on a mailing list, I get those (and again, I’m on waaayyy too many lists myself), but I didn’t think that was part of what was being sought by the original post here.

Buy Washington State.

[u]Powers’s various blends[/u] can be had in your price range, and they are stunning, world-class wines.

I have liked most every vintage of the Keenan Cabernet (regular, not reserve) in this price range (about $39 direct). Even with shipping, it’s better than most in this price range and $10-15 above. Said differently, if a $40 dollar wine drinks like a $50-60 bottle I can find locally, incurring the shipping charge doesn’t cause me a lot of heartburn.

Snowden Ranch is 40-45
Schrader Double Diamond about the same
Beau Vigne Juliet is good but about 50 I think

I wish Rhys wasn’t so philosophically opposed to doing a cabernet…they actually might make something interesting.

It definitely wouldn’t meet the price limitations set in this thread though.

Agreed re: Paso, but the search in Temecula is likely doomed from the start. I’ve had some pretty good Cabs out of the Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara.

Blackjack Ranch comes to mind. Their high end Cabernet and blends go for $60+, but they also have another level in the $28+ range.

You actually can’t grow Vitis vinifera in SoCal, except at elevation [or maybe out in the middle of the desert, with irrigation].

Down in the valleys, nearer to sea level, it falls prey to Pierce’s Disease.

I think there are some small producers who do boutique wines in small volumes that deserve your attention. Jean Edwards, James Johnson, Broman, Georg Rafael & Grassi Family come to mind.
I think there is value there and they meet your criteria of direct.

Southern California—

Moraga Vineyards was around in the '90s and from Bel Air. I haven’t seen anything about it for a number of years and don’t believe it would be in this price arena. [cheers.gif]

Ruston La Maestra can be purchased from Ruston for $35-40 depending on what direct specials John may be running. This is their single vineyard estate(St Helena Cab). Jeff Ames has been making the wine since 2009.

This is the only one i could think of. My other favorites- Buehler, Honig, Neal and Turnbell I buy locally…

Emerson Brown. Look no further.

Very close…you might consider Smith-Madrone.

Marshall [cheers.gif]

Definitely not in the price range…but it’s too unlikely of a place that has had such quiet success, it would be a shame not to at least try their wines.

So while this likely kills my idea of planting vines in a coastal city in So Cal, I knew there had to be a reason there’s so little Vitis planted. Guess I’ll have to read up on it…thanks for putting it out there.