2 great Cabernets: Caymus and Kenwood Artist
For me, these were a great treat, as I would normally not be able to afford either one. MSRP is around $75, which means if you shop carefully, you should be able to get them for about a Ulysses S. Grant per bottle. I was at the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival at Heather Farms, and they were selling glasses of each for an Alexander Hamilton per glass. What a bargain.
I did think the Kenwood was better: richer, fuller, more buttery, and definitely ready to drink now. Caymus was equally heavenly, but a bit more fruity and perhaps needing another year or two in the bottle for peak enjoyment. Still, both were great and I loved ‘em both.
"If you want oak, chew a toothpick."
-- Louis P. Martini (1918-1998)
OK, so I think that's a bit extreme, but not necessarily by much. Oak is a "spice," if you will, in the winemaker's "kitchen." Just as with a chef's use of salt, if the first thing you taste in the dish is salt, the chef used too much . . . but MOST of the time, if the chef didn't use ANY salt at all, the dish would be lacking "something" -- even if you couldn't put your finger (or taste bud) precisely on what that something might be.
Or, as another wine professional once said,
"Chardonnay doesn't taste like oak. OAK tastes like oak."
-- Jason Brandt Lewis, 1953-
Just my 2¢; YMMV