From the archive: California Cabernet 2011 panel tasting results

Decanter's experts give their verdict on California Cabernet from the 2011 vintage...

Originally published in Decanter magazine's February 2015 issue and now available online and in full for Premium members

  • 118 wines tasted with four rated Outstanding

  • The panel tasters were: Romain Bourger, Stephen Brook & Angela Mount

The sheer number of high-scoring wines proves 2011 is not a write off, and with large-scale producers eclipsing more prestigious estates, there is great value to be found, says Stephen Brook

The panel was surprised when the results were disclosed that half of the Outstandings were, by Napa standards, high-volume wines offered at modest prices. But the surprise was a pleasant one. It shows that consumers don’t have to pay extortionate prices for fine Californian Cabernet.

It also indicates that some larger wineries, like Beringer and J Lohr, are at an advantage in a tricky vintage as they can select the best fruit from their own vineyards and from those that supply them on a contract basis. Looking back at my notes from previous vintages, I’ve always scored the Napa Cabs from Beringer and Black Stallion very positively in blind tastings. The wineries do a good job and offer good value.

Scroll down to see the top wines from the panel tasting

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