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75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2015

75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2015


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Nobody ever said that college was easy. Let’s face it: College dining halls are typically not culinary havens. Thankfully, though, there are more than a few colleges across the country that go above and beyond when it comes to their dining services. From schools that have their own vegetable gardens to ones that host chef demonstrations and serve only food that’s made in small batches from scratch, we’ve tracked down the 75 best colleges for food in America.

75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2015 (Slideshow)

This is our fourth annual ranking of the best colleges for food. Over the years, the list expanded from 52 colleges in 2012 to 60 colleges in 2013 to 75 colleges in 2014. To assemble our ranking, we started out with a full list of roughly 2,000 colleges, and after rigorous research and outreach to their dining services, we narrowed that list down to about 300 contenders. These standout colleges were highly respected for a variety of reasons across the country, and had dining programs that caught our attention. After that, we ranked the final 75 by scoring each of those colleges on the below criteria:

Nutrition and Sustainability: The college makes consistent efforts to ensure that its food is well-balanced as well as tasty, and is healthy not just for the students, but for the environment as well.

Accessibility and Service: The college accommodates all dietary preferences, has a variety of options for students to choose from, and makes sure that the dining options are conveniently located near students’ dorms. Dining program has on-campus eateries that are open late at night, and meal plans let students purchase off-campus food.

Education and Events: The college offers nutrition and culinary education to every student on campus and holds food-centered events to foster community and break the monotony of the dining experience.

Surrounding Area: Students have access to exciting and vast food options in the area surrounding the college and can access it easily. We compiled information from Yelp to grade colleges on the quality and accessibility of all the food around campuses within a five-mile radius.

The “X” Factor: These are the little extras that made our jaws drop and prove that these colleges really go above and beyond and get genuinely creative.

Even though the actual quality of the food was extremely important in our ranking, the overall dining experience, including the surrounding area, is what really determined which colleges made the cut and which didn’t. Surprisingly, it wasn’t only the Ivy League schools that came out on top; smaller colleges often had better programs that could cater to each and every student’s need due to their lower population.

The nine newcomers this year include the University of South Carolina, which uses no frozen foods and has nine certified executive chefs on campus; Rhode Island School of Design, which builds recipes around seasonal ingredients and offers pizza delivery until 12:30 a.m.; and Georgia Tech, which has a completely sustainable food program and recently rebranded its dining halls as “community restaurants.” Other first-time inductees include UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Southern California, Ball State, Northeastern, Duquesne, and Tulane.

The Northeast has the most colleges on our list, with 26, followed by the West and South, with 16 schools each. 10 schools from the Midwest made the cut, and seven are in the Mid-Atlantic. Health-conscious California has more ranked schools than any other state, with 15; followed by Massachusetts with seven; New York and Pennsylvania with five schools each; and Connecticut, Georgia, and Maine with four schools each. One more Southern school made the cut this year than last year, along with one additional Northeastern school, two fewer Mid-Atlantic schools, and one fewer Midwestern school. The amount of Western schools on the list remained the same.

The schools on our list really make an effort to ensure that students are well-fed with healthy, sustainable food in unique preparations. Schools including UC San Diego, Tulane, University of Washington, and NYU have food trucks stationed on campus daily; Yale, University of Washington, Purdue, Dickinson, Stanford, and Mills boast on-campus farms; Bates, UCLA, and Northeastern all have dining halls that have been Certified Green by the Green Restaurant Association; and schools including Johns Hopkins, Tulane, Purdue, Northeastern, and Columbia host regular chef cooking demonstrations and classes.

Students across the country are becoming more mature in their tastes and more demanding in what they expect of their higher education dining experience. They want their food to taste great, to be fun, and to be sustainable, and these colleges are stepping up to the challenge. If you’re a food lover who wants to go to a college that’s as passionate about food as you are, then you might want to get those transfer forms ready after you check out our picks for the 75 Best Colleges for Food in America.

#75 Tulane University, New Orleans


New Orleans is one of the finest cities for food in America, and Tulane is located right in the heart of it. While students can venture off campus to eat if they’d like, Tulane’s dining halls provide everything they need. All items are made from scratch, and their late-night City Diner, open daily from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., serves a famous 16-ounce “Big City Pancake” on a pizza tray along with New Orleans staples like shrimp and grits, po’boys, chicken and sausage jambalaya, and red beans and rice. Their popular on-campus food truck, Ironsides, specializes in waffle sandwiches, and it’ll soon be joined by a second food truck called Rouler that serves New Orleans street food. Their main dining hall was remodeled this summer, cooking demonstrations are held regularly at a special demo kitchen, produce is purchased from several local farms, a weekly farmers market is held on campus, and students can use their “NOLA Bucks” to purchase food at 25 off-campus restaurants.

#74 Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.


Feel like watching behind-the-scenes videos about what goes on in the dining hall? At Boston College you can, with the school's Kitchen Confidential web series. And if that isn’t enough, you can also take a virtual nutrition tour that assesses popular nutrition facts and topics, all with the intent of educating and encouraging students to lead a healthy and happy life. Boston College also hosts a Featured Chef Series to expose students to the dishes of such culinary celebrities as Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, and Giada De Laurentiis, prepared by the dining staff. Clearly this school knows how to please its students.

Did we miss any? Let us know! Leave us a comment or send us an email about food on your campus and we’ll consider it for next year.

Additional reporting by Sidney Harrison.

#75 Tulane University, New Orleans
#74 Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
#73 University of Southern California, Los Angeles
#72 University of California, Irvine, Irvine, Calif.
#71 California Baptist University, Riverside, Calif.
#70 Carleton College, Northfield, Minn.
#69 Duquesne University, Pittsburgh
#68 California State University, Chico, Calif.
#67 Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
#66 Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.
#65 Colby College, Waterville, Maine
#64 Southern Methodist University, Dallas
#63 College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine
#62 Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.
#61 Saint Anselm College, Manchester, N.H.
#60 Saint Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y.
#59 University of Washington, Seattle
#58 Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.
#57 University of Delaware, Newark, Del.
#56 UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.
#55 Tufts University, Medford, Mass.
#54 University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
#53 Northeastern University, Boston
#52 Bates College, Lewiston, Maine
#51 Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt.
#50 Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
#49 Roger Williams University, Bristol, R.I.
#48 Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.
#47 Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, Calif.
#46 University of Houston, Houston
#45 Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.
#44 Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.
#43 UC Davis, Davis, Calif.
#42 Connecticut College, New London, Conn.
#41 Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
#40 Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla.
#39 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
#38 Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.
#37 Carroll University, Waukesha, Wis.
#36 University of Chicago, Chicago
#35 University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn.
#34 Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
#33 High Point University, High Point, N.C.
#32 Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
#31 Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis
#30 University of San Diego, San Diego, Calif.
#29 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
#28 UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif.
#27 Pitzer College, Claremont, Calif.
#26 Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
#25 St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn.
#24 Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
#23 University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
#22 University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.
#21 Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
#20 UC San Diego, San Diego
#19 Brown University, Providence, R.I.
#18 Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
#17 UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif.
#16 University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
#15 James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.
#14 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
#13 UMass Amherst, Amherst, Mass.
#12 Mills College, Oakland, Calif.
#11 Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
#10 Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.
#9 Boston University, Boston
#8 Occidental College, Los Angeles
#7 New York University, New York City
#6 Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
#5 Duke University, Durham, N.C.
#4 Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Ga.
#3 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
#2 Columbia University, New York City
#1 Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


The best and most expensive Cabernet Sauvignon in America, by and large, comes from Napa Valley. Other places grow great Cabernet—sites in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, for instance𠅋ut no other region produces Cabs of such consistency and sheer profundity. Cult bottlings like Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate, along with a few of the amazing wines below and on the following page, are really only available at auctions and top restaurants. But the value wines we recommend are easy to find, and delicious.

"I&aposve got 2,000 people on the waiting list. And to think that when my dad and I started out, we thought, well, if it doesn&apost sell, we&aposll just drink it ourselves."
—Kelly Peterson, Switchback Ridge

2012 Corison Kronos Vineyard Napa Valley ($170) Veteran winemaker Cathy Corison creates this vividly aromatic, cassis-scented Cabernet from low-yielding 30-year-old vines surrounding her winery, off Napa Valley&aposs famed Highway 29 between Rutherford and St. Helena.

2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley ($131) Beringer&aposs top bottling, a blend of fruit from six different Napa vineyards, has been a benchmark for California Cabernet since former chief winemakers Ed Sbragia and Myron Nightingale made its inaugural vintage, back in 1977. The black currant packed &apos12 effortlessly carries on that tradition, and should age gracefully in a cellar for many years to come.

2012 Dalla Valle Napa Valley ($226) Seamless and profoundly elegant, with soft tannins and a touch of Cabernet Franc that adds a faint herbal note to the nose, this remarkable Napa Cabernet (crafted by winemaker Andy Erickson) comes from Dalle Valle&aposs estate vineyards tucked away on the east side of Oakville.

2012 Quintessa Napa Valley ($169) Biodynamic viticulture and meticulous attention in the cellar from Agustin and Valeria Huneeus have helped make Quintessa, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, one of California&aposs top reds. The polished &apos12, saturated with smoky black plum and black currant flavors, may be the most impressive Quintessa produced to date.

2013 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Napa Valley ($220) Visionary owner Al Brounstein started bottling Napa Cabernets from specific terroirs on his Diamond Mountain property as early as 1972. Gravelly Meadow, a cool, stony five-acre plot, produced this refined, ageworthy bottling with a compelling scent of anise and red cherries.

2013 Cellar No. 8 ($9) Winemaker Paul Rydquist imbues this modestly priced North Coast Cabernet, made at Sonoma&aposs historic Asti Winery, with loads of sweet black currant and vanilla oak flavors.

2014 Hahn Estates ($15) Winemaker Greg Freeman considers working at Hahn Estate to be his dream job. His Cabernet is straightforward and juicy, with spicy hints of French oak backing the sweet black fruit.

2013 Hayman & Hill Reserve Selection Paso Robles ($14) Dennis Hill, winemaker for Blackstone, and his winemaking partner David Hayman source great fruit from throughout California&aposs premier wine regions for this new project. Their &apos13 Napa Cabernet is full of rich blackberry and spice notes.

2013 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley ($12) With 220 acres of vineyards in Sonoma&aposs Alexander Valley, Geyser Peak winemaker Ondine Chattan can be ruthlessly selective about which grapes go into her firm, cassis-rich Cabernet. Aging in American oak barrels gives it additional notes of cedar and chocolate.

2013 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County ($18) Dense black cherry flavor and green peppercorn notes define this substantial red, made from fruit sourced from low-yielding benchland and mountain Sonoma County vineyards.

2013 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley ($91) Switchback Ridge—sourced from the 100-acre Peterson Ranch near Calistoga—was on collectors&apos must-have lists even when the first vintage was still in barrel, in 1999. The luscious 2013, its deep black cherry flavor lifted by black pepper, shows why.

2012 Marston Family Vineyard Spring Mountain District ($150) Only the best fruit from selected blocks of Michael Marston&aposs 40-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is used for this powerful, multilayered red, its blockbuster fruit framed by firm but velvety tannins.

2012 Seavey Napa Valley ($130) The Seavey Vineyard, first planted in 1871, was one of Napa Valley&aposs original hillside vineyards. Today, winemaking star Jim Duane and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka craft their formidable Cabernet fruit into voluptuous wines like this one𠅋lack and dense with tarry plum and licorice notes.

2013 Hourglass Estate Napa Valley ($163) Jeff Smith&aposs tiny Hourglass vineyard occupies some of Napa Valley&aposs best real estate, with neighbors that include cult names like Colgin, Grace Family and Vineyard 29. Top winemaking consultant Tony Biagi made this plush but muscular Cabernet.

2012 Bond St. Eden Napa Valley ($477) Bond, a project from Harlan Estate proprietor Bill Harlan, is a collection of five single-vineyard Cabernets. The succulent, spicy St. Eden, from vines grown on a small knoll just north of the Oakville Crossroad, has dazzling aromatic notes of red currants, black pepper and smoky oak.

The best Cabernet list in California may very well be at an Italian restaurant. Valentino, in Santa Monica, has amazing depth in the expected Barolos, Barbarescos and Brunellos. And with 15 full pages of California Cabernets—including lengthy verticals of Colgin, Harlan Estate, Grace Family and other cult bottlings—it puts any other California restaurant wine list (Italian or not) to shame. DETAILS Valentino Santa Monica, 3115 Pico Blvd. 310-829-4313 pieroselvaggio.com or welovewine.com (an address that says it all).


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Comments:

  1. Holt

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !! I have long wanted to see this !!!!

  2. Vudora

    Without intelligence ...

  3. Vishura

    It's conditionality



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