Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a return to form for Bogle, after the disappointing Zinfandel we reviewed last week. The nose offers a nice balance between dark red fruit and toasted oak. On the palate it’s medium bodied, with moderate tannins and a vanilla oak finish. Note: we paid $9.99 for this at Trader Joe’s, but you can find it for $8.99 at several other Southern California retailers, and even lower at a few.

Trader Joe’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The nose is fruity in a generic sort of way, with a sweet vanilla oak that some people really love. On the palate, there is an odd lack of tannins, as though they’ve been filtered out. Two of us liked it, while acknowledging that there was little of the varietal coming through. But the third found it simply too contrived to wholeheartedly recommend—particularly for $10.

Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon

An uneasy mix of strawberry jam and decaying forest floor. Sweet, sour, and thin, with some green tannins. If you’re looking for a red Two-Buck Chuck, get the Merlot instead.

Familia Nueva Liberte Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a well-made, reasonably priced Cab from Paso Robles. The nose is dominated by ripe (but not overripe) dark fruit, particularly plum. With the restrained tannins, this could easily be a Merlot/Cabernet blend. In any event, it’s good.

Poets Row Cabernet Sauvignon

From Sonoma County, this is a competent, if unexciting, Cabernet. The nose is dominated by vanilla and toasted oak, with ripe fruit taking a back seat. On the tongue, the fruit is more prominent. This is a decent New World drinker.