Consumer Reports taste tested them all and came up with the following reasonably priced wines:
Our highest-rated cabernet sauvignon from this year's tests — and the only CR Best Buy — was Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley 2002. This Washington state wine sells for $11 a bottle and impressed our expert tasters with its full flavor and ''big'' sensory presence. Other very good cabs were: Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Puente Alto Concha 2004 ($19, from Chile); Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley 2002 ($25, from California); Franciscan Oakville Estate Napa Valley 2003 ($28, from California); and Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino 2003 ($16, from California).
Merlots that retain our recommendation from previous tests are top-rated Gallo of Sonoma Reserve Sonoma County 2003 ($15, from California) and four CR Best Buys: Bogle Vineyards 2004 ($9, from California); Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo 2005 ($9, from Chile); Jacob's Creek 2005 ($8, from Australia); and Yellow Tail 2005 ($7, from Australia).