Regardless of how much weight you give wine critics’ scoring, it’s hard to ignore budget wines that garner 90 points and above. That’s especially true when consecutive vintages of the same wines have consistently earned very positive reviews and some even made it into a wine magazine’s top 100 wines. The following are two delicious inexpensive cabernet sauvignon wines from California and Chile that both received 91 from different reviewers — a score that describes a wine as “outstanding” and “excellent.”
Viña Carmen 2012 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile’s Maipo Valley
Bought • Costco, 4200 Rusty Road, in February for $10.99
Description • This medium- to full-bodied wine earned 91 points from Wine Spectator and placed No. 32 on its Top 100 wines of 2015. The Carmen Gran Reserva cabernet tastes of concentrated red berry and plum fruit laced with black pepper spice and refreshing mint. It’s an earthy, complex red with good structure and firm tannins. It ends with a long, elegant finish. Pair this wine with steak and other grilled meat or ripe cheeses.
Bonterra 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Northern California
Bought • Costco, 4200 Rusty Road, in February for $9.95
Description • This flavorful cabernet, which received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast, is made from organic grapes of which 72 percent came from Mendocino County, 24 percent Lake County and 4 percent Napa County. It’s a fruity medium-bodied red that tastes of red berries and plum with hints of pepper and vanilla from oak aging. It’s a bit softer and lighter than the Carmen but more acidic. It would also go well with grilled meat.