5 California Wines for Every Budget
Gather is a travel-inspired lifestyle site featuring writing by Katie Drake and photography by Helen Brooks. Bringing you the best restaurants, nightlife, and hidden hot spots from around the world, the women at Gather round up must-know tips from their travel experiences.
Figuring out which wine to buy can be obfuscating if you’re not a sommelier. Do the reviews matter? How much information is too much? Is it okay if you judge a bottle by its label? While we all know that wines from Napa Valley are a good place to start, there’s such a wide selection that it’s hard to figure out which one to commit to. To save you time and money, we’ve done the background check for you, traveling up and down Napa’s back roads to meet with winemakers, shop owners, and sommeliers both well-known and on the DL. Read on for our cheat sheet to buying Napa wines—it should help narrow the field to the very best at every price.
Mumm Napa Dry Brut Rosé ($18)
Dry, effervescent, and pretty in pink, the Mumm Rosé is always an excellent party guest—and great to have on hand for impromptu celebrations. Buying by the case isn’t a bad idea.
Buoncristiani 2012 OPC Red 750ML ($39)
Year after year, Ol’ Pa’s Cuvée is our Friday-night-in wine of choice. A tasty and reliable red blend, you’ll want to stockpile it (or gift it to someone you like—a lot).
Rudius Oakville 2013 Panek Vineyard Cabernet St. Helena ($88)
When it comes to reds, Rudius winemaker Jeff Ames speaks our language. You can’t go wrong with any of his wines, but this is one of our favorites.
Myriad Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane ($240)
Winemaker Mike Smith’s exceptional vintages are picks you can take to the bank. In addition to charging less than he could for a famed Beckstoffer vineyard designation, he’s never made a wine we didn’t love. Hop on to his mailing list while you still can!
Abreu Thorevilos 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml ($450)
Expensive, exclusive, and tough to track down, Abreu’s vintages check all the “cult wine” boxes. The pure artistry involved in the tending and creation of these wines make them special occasion–, cellar-, and investment-worthy. The best we’ve ever tasted, bar none.
What are your go-to wines for an evening in or a night out?