Chuck Wagner’s Nonvintage, Multi-Year Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon

This is the fourth incarnation of Chuck Wagner’s multi-year, nonvintage Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon. I couldn’t find any high-level (e.g., Parker’s Wine Advocate, Vinous, Wine Spectator) reviews, but some clear voices have chimed in, starting with Chuck Wagner himself: “Make no mistake – Bonanza is not Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet. Yet we are proud to be introducing this multi-vintage California-appellation Cabernet Sauvignon. Do you have any idea how much fun this is for a seasoned winemaker? Casting aside the boundaries of individual appellations or vintages, we have greater freedom to make good wine. One thing that’s very important to me – Bonanza calls back to a previous era when a glass of good wine with dinner was a simple pleasure. Bonanza aims to be a smart and gratifying choice, speaking to the enjoyment of everyday life. You may agree that our biggest fortune is good company, great food and delicious wine.”

More: “Medium ruby red, this wine opens with scents of currants and dried roses, grape pomace and fresh-tilled soil. The nose is nuanced with toasty oak imparting a subtle smoked meat character. Flavors of blueberries and blackberries mix with the warmth of vanilla and toasted bread. Silky tannins and striking smoothness. Mouthwatering, lengthy finish trails off with the taste of unsweetened chocolate and cassis.”

Another: “A plum purple color with crimson highlights, Lot 4 opens with a serious nose - underlying dark fruits are overlaid with soft leather, cassis, unsweetened chocolate and the subtle scent of smoke drifting from an open grill. Entry on the palate features intense but elegantly smooth tannins, which then recede as ripe berries grab attention. Hints of vanilla and blueberry playfully mingle, leading into a long, dry finish that returns to a serious note, with tannins that are luxuriously fine.”

And: “Love Caymus wines but can't afford to enjoy them as frequently as you'd like? Join the club, and in the meantime, consider this multi-vintage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chuck Wagner. Violets and dark floral aromas usher in jammy ripe blueberry and cassis. Very ripe and structured, you can cellar this for at least half a decade. Mocha and blueberry finish with sweet, smoky vanilla. Grab your favourite BBQ sauce, dress up a protein of your choice, and indulge without breaking the bank.”

The reviews I’ve seen put the wine at 88-90 points. At this writing, it can be had for as little as $12.99 per bottle.

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