Bonanza Cabernet is a great opportunity to try wine from one of the great California wineries. Produced by superstar winery Caymus, Bonanza is their entry-level Cabernet which over-delivers.
The roots of the family in California date back to the 1880s, when they obtained a 150-acre farmstead. That farmstead was located in Rutherford, right in the heart of Napa Valley.
Today Chuck Wagner, the patriarch of the winery, is focused on making exceptional wines across the world with his family.
Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon Review
This bottle, which I affectionately refer to as “baby Caymus,” is the definition of a crowd-pleaser. It delivers a consistent profile year to year. Even if it is not your new favorite bottle, I have met very few people who outright disliked it!
Bonanza is a bit unusual, as it does not have a vintage statement. Instead, it will have a “lot number.” The wine, while all Cabernet, is a blend of several vintages.
This helps ensure quality and consistency from one bottling to the next. On top of that, it adds a nice layer of complexity to this everyday drinker.
This bottle is a ruby-red color in the glass, and the color really pops. It has very dense legs after a good swirl or two in the glass.
The nose is remarkably nuanced. Bright wild cherries, pomegranates, and strawberries leap out of the glass. The aroma of rich fruit is followed by toasty oak, vanilla, and a hint of smoked meat that adds some nice complexity.
Ripe blueberries and blackberries take center stage for this flavor show. This luscious fruit is backed by vanilla, dark chocolate, and cassis coming shortly after.
The wine has a higher residual sugar than a lot of Cabernets, but this is a part of the “house style” of the winery. It makes for a very distinctive profile.
What Does Bonanza Cabernet Pair With?
Steak, ribs, and lamb are all fantastic calls for this bottle. Alternatively, this is the perfect food-friendly bottle for a laid-back menu.
Plus, it does great with something as simple as burgers and pizza! In short, it is hard to go wrong with this bottle. Eat what you like and enjoy the results.
What Are Wines That Are Similar to Bonanza Cabernet?
If you want to continue exploring the offerings from this family, I strongly recommend Quilt, a line produced by Chuck Wagner’s son Joey.
If you want a direct upgrade from Bonanza, the winery’s namesake, Caymus, is arguably one of the best wines in the world in this style.
That said, Caymus does command a substantially higher price point. Finally, Caymus imports Shiraz from South Australia and Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. Dubbed Transit and Red Schooner, respectively, they also represent an opulent style of heavy red wines.
Outside of the offerings from the Wagner family, I also strongly recommend trying wines from Austin Hope in Paso Robles.
Particularly their entry-level wine, Austin. It is another non-vintage Cabernet Sauvignon in the same style as Bonanza and is fun to throw into your daily mix if you need to shake things up.
Overall I would say this wine does exactly what it is supposed to. It is an excellent everyday drinker and appeals to a lot of people. In fact, I have recommended it for various weddings and events, which I have helped plan in the past.
It also offers an entry-level bottle from one of California’s most prestigious wineries. If you want something with a bit more punch or structure, this may not be your go-to bottle.
That said, I would recommend everyone give it a try at least once!