Case of the Month – The 2015 Excelsior Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is hands down the best under $10 Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve ever tasted. I know, that sounds grandiose, but I’m prone to grandiosity when describing wine, and this one is 100% deserving. Our friend Zingo Munger of Cape Classics, the importer of the wine, says 2015 was an exceptional vintage………so does every wine writer out there. Dry, warm, and sunny conditions led to a bumper crop of super high quality grapes, and it is clearly evident in this wine. Ripe, supple, and possessing complexity pretty much never found in a Cabernet Sauvignon in this price range, this is guaranteed to be a critic’s choice for best Cabernet Sauvignon value of the year.
There are several things going for Excelsior’s Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to the nearly perfect vintage, this is a family owned estate. Freddie and Peter De Wet are the 4th and 5th generation of their family to tend the vine. Their 400 acres of vineyards are situated in Robertson and their limestone-clay rich soils are ideal for the vine and all of the grapes are hand harvested. Additionally, the 2015 is “bulked up” with 10% Petit Verdot — this adds darker fruit, complex mineral notes, and additional structure. Last, but not least, the wine is aged in “real deal” French and American oak barrels for a period of 9 months — no oak chips or artificial oak flavoring here. 100% estate grown fruit, attention to quality in the vineyards, real oak barrels, an attractive package……….how do they do it for less than $10?? I don’t know, but I encourage the De Wet’s to keep up the good work!
The resulting wine is a thing of beauty. Deeply colored and offering up a “$40 nose” of dark currant, cassis, licorice, tobacco, graphite, and spice box, this does not smell like an $8 bottle of wine. On the palate the wine exhibits soft and plush flavors of dark cherry, currant, herb, creamy mocha and more — this doesn’t taste like an $8 bottle of wine either! All in all, I’ve always been a big fan of Excelsior’s Cabernet Sauvignon and all of their wines, but this year’s release is off the charts. I can say with absolute certainty that this is the best under $10 Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve ever tasted.