It is very difficult to find a delicious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for under $20. But this week at the Burlingame Safeway you can purchase the Buehler Vineyards 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon for $15.74, also available at K&L Wines for $19.99.
Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011
Year after year this family-owned winery, located at the base of the Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley, makes three terrific value wines. Along with the Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, they also a produce a lovely Napa Valley Zinfandel and a Chardonnay wine from the Russian River Valley. The Buehler Vineyards winery was established in 1976 when land and buildings were relatively inexpensive. Less overhead makes it possible for Buehler to keep the cost of a bottle of wine at a low price. THis is certainly a good deal for the customer.
Some of the California wine writers have been somewhat negative about the 2011 vintage in the red wine department. I find no flaws in this wine. It is very Cabernet like in both aroma and taste. I opened this wine and let it sit for a couple of hours, and I think it tasted better with the breathing time. The wine has nice cassis and dark fruit flavors. 30% of the Cabernet grapes come from the Buehler hillside vineyards and the rest from the Valley floor. The tannins in this Cab are very approachable. We have visited this winery on two occasions and they have both been delightful visits. The place is beautiful and worth a visit when in the Napa Valley. The price at the Safeway is $15.74 if you mix-or-match 6 wines, otherwise it is $17.49. I am rating the Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon at 89 Points.
Bodega Colome Amalaya 2011 Malbec – Costco $12.99
This Argentine Malbec is not from Mendoza but from Salta. The vineyards are located at 5900 feet above sea level. Are you familiar with the Hess Collection Winery in the Napa Valley? Well, the Bodega Colome that made this Malbec is owned by the same Hess Family. I like this wine because it has some fun characteristics, including some spice that I do not find in a Malbec from Mendoza. The wine consists of 85% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah; and that is much different from the usual Malbecs of the Mendoza region. I am going to rate the wine at 88 Points. At Costco there are two other Malbecs that I have reviewed before, both from Mendoza, the Bodega Norton 2010 and the Pascual Toso 2012. I would say that I prefer these two wines to the Amalaya. If you shop at Costco, you may want to purchase a bottle of each and give them a taste test.
Happy New Year to all from the Vintage Wine Tasters!