Written by: Jamie

Updated: October 25, 2023

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  • Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Review [Tasted & Rated]

Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Review [Tasted & Rated]

There's something about bold, eye-catching wine bottle art that always makes me slightly wary about what's inside!

I think we've all been duped by a colorful label before and for me that prejudice remains years later.

So, I went into this wine tasting with apprehension. But, was it warranted? Let's find out if the Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon is all show.

Wine Specs

  • Price: $17
  • Vintage: 2020
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Location: Lodi, California
  • Winemaker: Michael David Winery
  • Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Winemaking Techniques: Aged 12 months in 88% French oak & 12% American oak
Freakshow wine in glass and bottle


I paid $17 for this, which is fairly standard. It's a commonly available wine across supermarkets and grocery stores and you often see it on sale a few dollars cheaper.

This is a really attractive price point considering the wine comes from Lodi, California. Lodi is perhaps better known for Zinfandel (particularly old vine Zin) but Cab from this region can also be really good and you never see it sub $20.

But, this is also partly my gripe with the wine which I'll explain as I conclude this review down below.


It's dark, really dark! A dark ruby color with very little opacity. It gives the first impression of a wine just as bold as the bottle!

Freakshow cabernet sauvignon wine color


Besides the bottle label scaring me slightly, the fact that this is also 14.5% ABV also had me concerned.

And alcohol greets you immediately. So, I decanted this a little longer than I would usually. 

I let it sit in a large glass for over an hour before I approached it again. The hope was that a little of that heat would have dissipated.

And after time it did become better balanced and more welcoming.

It's your typical Californian Cab on the nose. Very fruit driven with big notes of blackberry, plum, and black cherry. There's a little bit of red fruit there too in the form of strawberry that gives it a bit of a lift.

Next to the fruit there's a bit of oak, some cedar, and a hint of smoke. The oak is nicely judged and doesn't fight with the fruit.

Freakshow red wine on display


It's quite consistent from nose to palate, with dark fruit being the star of the show. Plum, black cherry, and blackberry dominate but take on a jammier, sweeter character than they had on the nose. It's a very dry wine but its fruit forward nature gives the impression of a slight sweetness.

There's some vanilla and violet there too that compliment the fruit quite nicely.

Fruit makes way to spice on the end, with a peppery, spicy finish of decent length.

With medium tannins and medium acidity, it's a crowd pleaser of a wine that's pretty well balanced, though slightly hot.

It's straightforward and uncomplicated but it's enjoyable all the same.

It's a wine that would go really well with red meat in the form of steak or BBQ ribs. Some bold food would go well with that 14.5% ABV and bold character.


Pre-tasting, my two big concerns with the Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon were:

  1. 1
    The style over substance nature of extravagant wine bottles. Was I the victim of another cunning marketing ploy?
  2. 2
    How would the rather hot 14.5% ABV be balanced?

So, how did the wine hold up?

Actually, really well. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality.

While, it is a little hot, decanting for slightly longer than usual achieves a better balance with regards to the alcohol.

Just like the bottle art, this is a big, bold, crowd pleaser of a wine. It's very fruit driven with just the right amount of oak offering light notes of vanilla, spice, and smokiness.

At $17 it also offers really good value. You just don't get Cab from this region for less than 20 dollars, so that's impressive.

However, for just $5-$10 more the world of Californian Cab really opens up to you and you can find a noticeable step up in quality and complexity.

So, while this is an enjoyable bottle of wine that I score 7/10, you can find bottles that score at least 8/10 for just a little more money.

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About the Author Jamie

I'm Jamie (James to some), professional over-thinker and aspiring pun champion. I'm fluent in emoji, sarcasm, and song lyrics.

I'm a certified cork dork wine obsessive and wineturtle.com is my megaphone.

I have the WSET Level 2 (with distinction) in Wine and I'm currently enrolled in level 3. I've also co-written a book on wine.

I look for value in wine and I'm always on the look out for the next hidden gem.

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