That's a little rich for my blood. I might do something like that once every couple of years. I sometimes go thirty for a Washington state cab, and even that's high end for me.
Try the 2003 Cynthus Napa Cab. $28 from the Wine Legend (internet price) If you go to the store in Livingston, make sure you ask for the internet price (otherwise it's $35). Drinks like a $75 cab. Great value. Blows the snot out of Silver Oak. Just opened a 2003 Silver Oak (Napa) that cost $72 (on sale from $90) and was hugely disappointed. Hard to beleieve the Alexander tastes better.
I'm a big fan of Pinot Noir, specifically ones from the Carneros region. "Shrug" is one of my favorites around the $20 price point. Seemingly about 3 times a year, I get on a wine kick. Primarily now during football season though, it's beer.
they're all bit pricey - the duckhorn may be the most reasonable. i picked these because they're the ones that consistently get strong positive eye-openers-after-first-sip response when i serve them to my friends/ guests.
i didn't write the vintage becaue that pretty much goes with location & grape, not so much with winery, i think. you'll know by the price right away, anyway. but can't go wrong with what's available in the wine stores for the above.
For those of you drinking ten dollar California and Australian red wines, may I suggest that you walk over to the Spain, Argentina and Chile aisles as I believe they offer the best values in wine. As much as I love French wine (I really need to know more about Italian wine too), many of the cheaper Spanish and South American wines will have the fruit forwardness of the Australian and American wines you are familiar with. Many of you will probably,at this point, consider french wines to be too subtle and many Italian to be too tannic (think licking your baseball glove when standing in the outfield as a kid.) Eventually you will find Italian and French wines to be great, but I think Spanish/South American is a good second step.
From Spain try a Grenache or a Garnacha. Fairly fruit forward. Las Rocas is a solid wine and available everywhere for about ten or eleven dollars.
Also from Spain, try a Tempranillo. Fruit forward with a little earthiness and spicy finish.
From Argentina try a Malbec. I'm not as high on these as I was a few years ago because they are being way overproduced. Most are fairly fruit forward, especially in the lower price range. Still a nice wine and good for parties as most people will enjoy them.
Many folks enjoy the red wines from Chile but I haven't had as much luck, so I won't discuss them.
I have found that as long as it comes from the Mendosa region it is a great wine at any price. My wife and I have tried some that cost as little as 9 bucks a bottle that were fantastic. If you like Cab Sav try Nappa valley. Cost about 12-14 bucks but is also fantastic.
Thanks for all of your responses, I'll keep an eye out for all of them but probably find just a few of them. Will give the California Cabs another try, it has been a while as I've been drinking Washington State reds. Agree on the Mendoza Valley, unbeatable values. Bridlewood? I haven't heard of that one. Will check it out.
I'll throw this one out there, probably around $17 most places.
A blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cab and Syrah. Fruit forward but not jammy.
Some spice. My only minor complaint is the 14.5 alcohol tastes a little hot right out of the bottle. Air it out for a few hours.