I drink a lot of cabernet sauvignon, mostly because it’s the wine that shows up most often when I get samples. Almost every shipment has a cabernet in it, and the wine closet is about half cabernets at any one time. (Why this happens is a complicated question that makes my head hurt, dealing with marketers’ perceptions of what Americans should drink and not what we want to drink.)
Having said that, most of the cabernet I taste is quite ordinary — some fruit, some tannins, some acid and nothing much to distinguish it from the next cabernet in line. And the prices? Don’t get me started.
Which is why it’s always a treat to post my mostly annual review of the Avalon ($12, purchased, widely available). This vintage provides what Avalon always provides — quality Napa cabernet at two-thirds to three-quarters of the price of comparable wines. It had lots of berry and cherry fruit, decent acid and tannins, and a cocoa powder finish. Serve this with any red meat or red sauce, and remember what the people who make the wine say: "We’ve taken the ego out of the equation and bring you world class wine at a darn good value."