High prices are mistaken too often as a guarantee of high quality. While it’s true that many of the best wines in the world are also among the most expensive, simply buying an expensive wine does not guarantee that you will enjoy it. Nor does a low price tag necessarily mean that a wine isn’t worth adding to your collection.
For example, you can find some of the best Cabernet wines for under $200 if you know where to look.
The Cost of Quality Wine
At first glance, logic suggests that price and quality should be correlated. The more effort and high-quality grapes that go into a wine, the more expensive the vinification process and the higher the retail price. Therefore, it should follow that an expensive wine must be an excellent wine.
However, there are further considerations:
- Even an expensive vintage that scored well among professional reviewers might not appeal to your specific tastes—a poor investment if you intend to enjoy the wine yourself.
- While the ingredients and winemaking process do factor into the retail cost, influences that have very little to do with wine quality—like transportation and distribution—can result in significant markups.
- Perceived value also affects wine cost. A wine that is marketed specifically as a luxury item might carry a higher price tag simply to uphold that image—and to widen the producer’s profit margin. Whether the wine truly is luxurious may be another matter entirely.
- Just because a wine doesn’t have the cachet to generate high demand—and a higher cost—doesn’t mean it’s a low-quality wine. It may be new to the market, or it may simply be flying below the radar of most professional reviewers.
Does this mean that your fellow collector wasted several thousand dollars by investing in that rare Domaine de la Romanee-Conti vintage? Not necessarily.
The cost of a wine is not the same as the value of a wine. If you have strong personal or professional reasons for wanting a certain wine, the satisfaction of finally obtaining it might well be priceless. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to enjoy during a more casual get-together, a Cabernet Sauvignon that costs $200 might bring you just as much enjoyment as a $2,000 bottle—perhaps even tasting all the better for the value.
And, of course, purchasing the right lower-cost wine can result in a much higher ROI if you intend to resell.
The Best Cabernet Wines for Under $200
Not all lower price wines are high quality, though. Sometimes less expensive wine tastes, well, cheap. There’s nothing worse than opening a promising bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon only to discover the tannins are too ripe, the fruit too forward—or worse, a truly fatal flaw like cork taint.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines selling for under $200 on the market today listed in order of highest to lowest rating on Wine Advocate, along with summarized tasting notes for each.
|2016 Maybach Family Cabernet Sauvignon Materium Weitz Vineyard||99||Blackberry pie, warm blackcurrants, wild blueberries with underlying vanilla, chocolate, espresso, and a hint of lavender. Full-bodied yet fresh, with fine-grained tannins.|
|2009 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley||99||Kirsch, licorice, graphite, and dried spice. Ripe, flamboyant, and a “formidable structure” that will allow it to continue aging well into 2029.|
|2013 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley||98||Cassis, black currant, smoked herbs, licorice, and graphite. A “sensational” full-bodied wine with ultra-fine tannins and a longevity of up to 20 years.|
|2008 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain||98||Dark fruit, licorice, tar, and asphalt. Layered and fruit-forward, expected to drink best between 2028 and 2043.|
|2013 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard||98||Mediterranean herbs, licorice, blackberry, and cassis. Intense and pure, with notable structure and depth.|
|2014 Seven Stones Cabernet Sauvignon||98||Blackberry, blackcurrant, sweet cherries, unsmoked cigar tobacco, and graphite. Luxurious and agile; drinks well young but is expected to last well into the 2030s.|
|2016 Myriad Cabernet Sauvignon Empyrean Beckstoffer George III||98||Kirsch, Black Forest cake, blackcurrants, blackberry, cinnamon, rose hip tea, cloves, and forest floor—with a touch of graphite. Full-bodied and darkly fruity, with velvety tannins and a long, spicy finish.|
|2013 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Galitzine Vineyard||98||Sage, graphite, black cherry, currants, and chocolate, with excellent balance between fruit, oak, and alcohol. Rich and ripe yet elegant, drinking well now through the next decade or so.|
|2012 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley||98||Black cherry, cassis, Asian spice, coffee, and lead shavings. Ripe and “hedonistic,” with a “massive, heady finish.”|
|2010 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley||98||Creme de cassis, coffee, spice, graphite, and a hint of violet. Strongly structured and balanced, with layered notes and textures.|
Are you looking for Cabernet Franc wines for under $200? While finding a good bottle at a low cost can be difficult (partly because Cabernet Sauvignon is more widely purchased and produced), here are a few suggestions to get you started:
|2013 Vineyard 29 Cabernet Franc||98||Spring flowers, mulberry, blueberry, and raspberry. Bright and medium-bodied, with an elegant intensity that “borders on perfection.”|
|2009 Sheridan Cabernet Franc||98||Herbaceous and spicy, with a velvety texture and impressive length.|
|2009 Jonata El Alma de Jonata||97||Cigar, chocolate, tobacco, and crushed rock. Huge and full-bodied, currently in the prime of its maturity.|
This is far from an exhaustive list of great Cabernet wines you can buy for $200 or less. There are many more options that professional reviewers have scored 90 or more points.
As always, the more you know about your own tastes, the market, and the wine you’re considering, the better equipped you will be to choose your wine with confidence, regardless of its cost.
Tips for Finding Great Wine at a Good Price
Beyond the Cabernet Sauvignon wines listed above, there are many others worth considering. Perhaps the easiest way to find them is to visit retailers’ sites and filter your search by variety and price to view only those wines available for $200 or less. Look for:
- Wines sold on the secondary market—While most collectors want to resell their wines for a substantial profit, some may sell for close to, or even less than, the retail price. This is especially true if the seller wants to sell quickly or if they are unaware of the true value of the wine.
- Wines from lesser-known labels—New or smaller vintners may sell excellent wines at lower prices than their peers to gain wider recognition.
- En primeur leftovers—When stock remains after an en primeur week, wineries often sell it for less than the typical retail price in order to make room in their cellars.
- Winery direct sales—Wines that ship directly from producers to retail shelves (or better yet, your own doorstep) often sell for less because of the lower transportation costs. This option also offers the highest chance of preserving your wine’s provenance.
Of course, not just any wine will do. Purchase wines through trusted sources, such as retailers that conduct thorough inspections of their products prior to sale.
To ensure the wine you choose is right for you, be sure to research ratings and tasting notes and pay particular attention to reviewers whose tastes are similar to your own. If you plan to resell, take a look at how much the typical market price has increased (or decreased) since its release to get a feel for whether your wine will appreciate.
Whether you’re looking to buy low and sell high or simply wanting to dip your toes into collecting with a few less expensive wines before you move into larger investments, long-lived Cabernet wines are always an excellent choice. Even if you narrow your search to only the best Cabernets under $200, you’ll still have a wealth of superb choices.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.