gato negro cabMany years ago when wine was just an occasional dinner companion and the budget demanded something off the bottom shelf I invariably reached for this wine. So I like to check in on it every so often to see if it’s continuing to deliver quality at its price point. Happily it is. From one of Chile’s largest producers, this really is the best $5 Cab on the market.

It features a bright berry aroma, with a hint of herbaceousness that I often find in Chilean Cabernet, and freshly-turned earth that is too rare in cheap wine. The palate is round and soft with vanilla notes but the acidity  blooms with enough force to keep the wine fresh, and even the tannins make a muted appearance sufficient to reassure us we’re drinking wine.

It is simple, but when you find a drinkable wine for  $5 that is cause for celebration. So bottoms up.

Pair with a juicy middle of the road pop rock tune like Hey Jealousy from the Gin Blossoms.

Score: 84

Price: $5 (widely available in retail shops and supermarkets)

Alc: 13%