Hi all.

First, let me start by saying that I enjoy wine, but am not a student of the drink. I don't know the fancy terms and most often tend to enjoy $10-$15 bottles of white.

That being said, I've had the occasion now, twice, to enjoy a bottle of Caymus cab that was absolutely outstanding. This particular bottle was from 2009. All I can describe it as is drinking liquid gold - tasty and smooth, my perfect combo. In fact, this was on Thanksgiving and I can't stop thinking about how good it was.

Is there anything you can suggest that may be in the $20-$25/bottle range that would be remotely similar?

Thanks!
Original Post
There are not a lot of California Cabs out there of this quality which can be obtained for $20-25. The quality starts to suffer.

I will say that in a good vintage, The Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty close. Generally obtainable for $25+, and in a good year can be quite good. However, overall it is made in a similar style each year.

Now that you know that $65-70 will get you something like Caymus, you are probably wondering what $100 might get you?
quote:
Originally posted by Wine doc:
Now that you know that $65-70 will get you something like Caymus, you are probably wondering what $100 might get you?

Big Grin

I will also add this. People will suggest a number of wines in the $20-$25 range. You go out and buy 1 or 2 of them and find that you don't really like it. At this point, you've already spent $50. Another $10-$15 would have gotten you a bottle that you know you'll like.
That leads to the value of attending tastings when offered at retailers.
I was poured a Caravan, second label of Darioush, at a local tasting. Not under $25, but fits the smooth rich profile the OP is looking for. I'm not a fan of the style, but all tastings give reference points.

Better yet, join a group that does blind tastings. With the right group and intelligent selection, you can sort out preferences quickly, independent of price and name recognition.
I'm going to add to the bandwagon slightly. There really isn't anything in the $20-$25 range you are likely to enjoy as much. HOWEVER, at $40-$45 you can find a recent vintage of Chappellet Signature. That you might enjoy more than the Caymus. Lewelling can be a fun, easy CA Cab when young. Those should be $45-$50.

In your price range I seem to recall people enjoying Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Canoe Ridge, but its been a while. Also, Sequoia Grove Cabernet can be quite pleasant. But neither of these are going to be at the quality you are looking for.
These guys nailed it. $20-25 is a tough price point for quality domestic cabs; not impossible, just tough.

Here's a few that are decent:

- Beringer Knights Valley (Especially '10)

- Justin Cab

- Arrowood Cab

- Freemark Abbey Cab

* Note that these won't touch Caymus in terms of quality.

When & if your wine hobby drifts to Spain, Italy, or the Southern Rhone, I find a ton of better QPR wines in the $20-30 range. In the mean time, get out to some local tastings if they're available.

Cheers, & welcome.
Thanks for all of the thoughts and comments.

Good idea on the the local tastings. Like I said, I don't know alot of wine, and less about reds, so most of the time I'm at the mercy of whatever we end up ordering. I did come across a Tikal Malbec and I really enjoyed, so I've managed to pick that up once or twice and have enjoyed it. But it wasn't the Caymus.

I can't imagine it gets better, but yeah, I guess I'm curious to see what $100 gets you now.

At $75 a bottle, this isn't something I can purchase a whole lot. Mostly maybe for Christmas and other special occasions. And I don't think I'm to the point yet where I can feel 100% comfortable to go spend $75 and then turn around and drink it. But maybe that comes with time and experience.
quote:
When & if your wine hobby drifts to Spain, Italy, or the Southern Rhone, I find a ton of better QPR wines in the $20-30 range. In the mean time, get out to some local tastings if their they're available.


(Sorry, pet peeve Wink .)

Oh, absolutely true. heckofagator, my comment, and those of the others' is about the Cabernet grape from CA or else in that style (The Chateau Ste Michelle I mentioned is from Washington State).

Frankly, I've had several $30 Cru Beaujolais that I think are wholly better wines, in every way, than Caymus. But, that is a very very different style of wine.
quote:
At $75 a bottle, this isn't something I can purchase a whole lot...


heeckofagator,

Just for clarification of my earlier posts. I don't think you are actually looking at $75/bottle to get quality or taste profile similar to Caymus in CA / CA-style Cabernet. But depending upon what is available to you, you are almost certainly looking at about $45 minimum and that is only if you can find the right wine at the right price. Frown
Well, you've got me interested...

I'm not stuck on the Cab - I only said that cause I knew that's what the Caymus was. In fact, I'm not sure I could tell the differences between all of them. With time, I suppose....

But yeah, any other (fairly easy to obtain) $20-$30 bottles from different regions? I'm all ears.
$45 is better than $75, all else being equal Wink

Any specific recommendations?

quote:
Originally posted by winetarelli:

heeckofagator,

Just for clarification of my earlier posts. I don't think you are actually looking at $75/bottle to get quality or taste profile similar to Caymus in CA / CA-style Cabernet. But depending upon what is available to you, you are almost certainly looking at about $45 minimum and that is only if you can find the right wine at the right price. Frown
quote:
Originally posted by winetarelli:
quote:
When & if your wine hobby drifts to Spain, Italy, or the Southern Rhone, I find a ton of better QPR wines in the $20-30 range. In the mean time, get out to some local tastings if their they're available.


(Sorry, pet peeve Wink .)



What are you talking about?! Devilish
I'd second the Mondavi for being a consistently good Napa cab for 30 bucks.

Usually in that price range I don't look to Napa. There's some excellent ones you might enjoy from Chile though, which is my fallback for great value Cabs. Something like Concha Y Toro's Marques de Casa Concha (a favorite of mine for 18 or 20 dollars) and the Montes Alpha.

And if you liked that Malbec try the Tilia Malbec and Cabernet. Only about 10 bucks and both excellent from Argentina.
I just looked up the Beringer Knights and saw this at Total Wine.

"Wine Advocate - Knights Valley, CA- "Firm tannins support an expressive core of dark red fruit, grilled herbs, asphalt and savory herbs, all of which come to life in a vibrant Cabernet Sauvignon long on personality and character. This is a serious wine for the money."

ASPALT?!??!?!? Is that an acquired taste? Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by DoubleD:
If your wine budget is only $60 per month, I'd rather drink one bottle per month versus drinking a $15 bottle each week.


I'm the opposite. I'd rather a nice 15 - 20 dollar bottle once a week than a 60 dollar bottle if that was my budget. I honestly don't find a huge difference in a good 90-91pt/$20 dollar cab vs a 92-93/60 dollar bottle. Not like one is being choked down and the other is mind blowing. Plus the more often one drinks the more different wines you can try (obviously) and see what you like if you're new to the sport. If you're talking say an $80 - $100+ bottle that's usually where I start finding something special that would be worth missing out on a very nice weekly bottle for under 20 bucks. But I'd much rather a 50 dollar bottle once a week than a 7 dollar bottle every day Ack !

But if you're checking out the Beringer heckofagator try the Napa bottling too. More ripe and bold than the KV. And if you can find the Mondavi Oakville on sale for 40 bucks or so that's a great one to grab also for about half what you can usually grab a Caymus for.
quote:
Originally posted by heckofagator:
$45 is better than $75, all else being equal Wink

Any specific recommendations?

Chappellet Signature (easy #1)
Lewelling (for the "lush" factor you may have been describing)


quote:
Originally posted by Icewino:
I honestly don't find a huge difference in a good 90-91pt/$20 dollar cab vs a 92-93/60 dollar bottle. Not like one is being choked down and the other is mind blowing.


I get what you are saying but I never found CA Cab to be particularly pleasurable at the lower levels, and certainly won't provide the same experience Caymus did. Personally, if I want to drink something from the U.S., I get far more pleasure out of a $9/750ml Allagash Grand Cru or Trippel than I do out of any $20 CA Cabs.

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