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Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for July 2000


How Much to Pay For Cabernet?



You decide how high a quality wine you want, and then look at our WineDay Buyer's Cap (B.C.). It will tell you the most you should pay for that quality. We applied it to California Chardonnay last time. Now let's apply the WineDay B.C. to Golden State Cabernet Sauvignon.


The Rest of the Story

We'll look at Cabs rated from 79 to 95. A 79 is of modest quality, a 95 is magnificent. How much does it cost to move up from a 79 rating to an 80? Only a buck. But, the higher you go, moving up one point is much more expensive. Here are the numbers, based on the averages from the last 10 months of my tastings.

Rating Price of the Wine Cost to Go Up One Point
79 $ 6.00 $1.00
80 $ 7.00 $1.00 (80 is a bit above average)
81 $8.00 $1.00
82 $9.00 $1.50
83 $10.50 $2.50
84 $13.00 $3.00
85 $16.00 $3.00 (very respectable wine)
86 $19.00 $3.00
87 $22.00 $4.00
88 $26.00 $4.00
89 $30.00 $4.00 (very good)
90 $34.00 $5.00
91 $39.00 $5.00
92 $44.00 $7.00
93 $51.00 $12.00
94 $63.00 $20.00
95 $83.00 --- (superb)

How I Use The B.C. (Buyer's Cap)

My House Wine - Because it costs only a dollar a point, I'm going up to about an 82, and ask my wine merchant for his best California Cab around $10.

My Cab for Guest - It is three or four times more expensive to move up one point as we cruise upward in the 80 ratings. My tastings show the 86s are plenty pleasing, so I grab the best Cab around $20.

Chateau Julien


Here is a good example of a wine I'd buy at a particular rating level.

Rating The Wine
80     Monterey Vineyard Cab, Monterey County
81     Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Cab, California
82     Chateau Julien Grand Reserve Cab, Monterey County, (pictured)
83     Charles Mitchell Cab, El Dorado
87     Sterling Cab, Napa Valley
89     Guenoc Bella Vista Cab, Napa Valley
91     Carmenet Moon Mountain Reserve Cab, Sonoma Valley
92     Paradigm Cab, Oakville, Napa Valley
93     Heitz Trailside Vineyard Cab, Napa Valley
95     Peju Estate Reserve Cab, Napa Valley



There are no Napa Cabs in the four lowest ratings. The typical bargain Cabs are from other regions, such as Monterey.

However, five of the six more expensive, higher rated Cabs are from Napa grapes.

So, my house wine isn't likely to be a Napa, but my guests are likely to see a Napa label.


This page created July 2000