Comparison Tasting The Best Cabernet Sauvignon Under $10: McManis, Columbia Crest and Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon

We recently saw the results of an internet survey that ranked the popularity of inexpensive wine producers whose wine offered the best value and quality for around $10. (see The Wine Curmudgeon’s McManis wins 2016 cheap wine poll). Since is about identifying quality wine at bargain prices we decided to do a comparison tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot from the top three producers of this survey. The three brands we tasted included:

    McManis Family Vineyards, California
    Bogle Vineyards, California
    Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Washington

For our first tasting we had Cabernet Sauvignon paired with roast lamb in cherry sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and a Caesar salad. We plan to do the Chardonnay and Merlot comparison tasting of these brands in the near future and will post them as separate reviews. The wines were opened one-hour before drinking and we each had three identical glasses so we could do a true side-by-side tasting of the Cabernet Sauvignon from the three wine producers.

So here’s what we thought…


    He said: All three we’re clear with a dark ruby color. The McManis had quite a strong damp earth and ripe fruit aroma that was head and shoulders better than the other two. By the third pour the aroma of all three had improved with a trace of leather, but in the end the Bogle and Columbia Crest aromas could only be described as very light. The taste followed closely to the aroma; the McManis had lots of cherry and current flavors, but was just a tad sweet. The Columbia crest was dry, fruity and had hints of tobacco flavors. The Bogle was also dry, but had more acidity than the others. All three had a medium-length finish, but the McManis and Bogle ended with a slight bitterness while the Columbia Crest ended with a slight grip in the back of the throat that makes me think the alcohol level was higher than the 13.5% shown on the label.

    After tasting these wines it’s easy to see why the McManis is popular…it’s very drinkable, has GREAT “New World” Cabernet aromas, jammy fruit flavors and fits the American wine palate so well. However, the Columbia crest has merit with its dry Cab taste and although lacking in bouquet, it was the most like a Cabernet Sauvignon. In the end I would rate them 1- McManis, 2- Columbia Crest and 3. Bogle.

    She said: All were dark ruby red, but the Bogle was slightly darker. The strong fruit aroma in the McManis was hands down better than the light earthy whiff in other two. And, surprisingly the dark fruit flavors in all three wines were quite similar; but I especially liked the trace of herbal flavors in the Columbia Crest. They were all medium bodied, had almost indiscernible soft tannins, were a little rough and ended with a fairly short finish. Initially the McManis finished on a slight sour note, but when sipping after the dinner they all had a similar ending. The McManis stood out as the best of the three and a quick comparison of cheap box wine and a cheap Walmart brand made the McManis shine!

Comments: See our previous review of: Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009