Truly great wine for under $30? Yes! And Cult Cabernet is one of them


There is much to be said about a truly great bottle of wine. The process of finding this bottle of wine can be daunting but incredibly rewarding when you find something that brings forward an almost visceral reaction when opened then consumed.

I’ve opened bottles of wine and immediately been able to sense there might be something a little special going on. Aroma is the first clue that you’ve found the right bottle of wine. It can be huge and overpowering like a great Cabernet or subtle and elusive like a fine Pinot Noir.

Color impressions are next, when you’ve poured the wine into a glass or decanter. Deep black ruby colors always strike me, especially when the clarity of the wine seems to make it sparkle in the glass. Once again, aromas are released as you pour and you can almost close your eyes and taste the wine just through your sense of smell.

And if you can find all of these sights, smells and tastes in a bottle under $30? Even better. It is the hunt for great wine without having to pay Screaming Eagle prices that keep many of us on the prowl for great bottles of wine. And they are out there!

A perfect example of this is Cult Cabernet from Napa Valley California. I ran across this particular Cabernet while at a wine dinner and was instantly struck by the dark brown label with just the word Cult written across it in block white letters. It is a very small production Cabernet from Napa, yet very affordable at less than $30 a bottle. The makers of Cult are somewhat thumbing their noses at the very expensive and almost unattainable cult Napa Valley Cabernets.

With the firm belief that it is the quality of the wine that makes it special, not the price on the bottle, this winery is producing is a really wonderful bottle of Cabernet. It is full bodied with rich fruit flavors including black currents and raspberries. Deep rich color leads to an impressive multi-layered structure with decadent hints of spice and chocolate. This is a well-balanced wine with a super long finish that makes you eager for the next sip.

In the words of Cult, “We believe it is 5 o’clock somewhere. We believe in four letter words. We believe you don’t have to be snobby to be trendy. We believe that everyday should be a celebration. We believe in rambling, frequent, borderline inappropriate toasts. We believe in timeless consistency. We believe in heavy pours and big glasses.”

They have certainly made a believer out of me!

- Heather Taylor Boysen