To many in the wine world, Cabernet Sauvignon is king. Amongst the world's most planted varieties, it's instantly recognisable blackcurrant bouquet often combines with cedar, cigar box and hints of tobacco leaf. In Bordeaux it forms the backbone of all great left bank "Claret" wines and is the foundation of the vineyards of Medoc. Its tannin, alcohol and acid balance make it capable of developing in the bottle over several decades. Australia, South America and North America also produce notable expressions, occasionally vying with the finest from Europe. Look out for Cabernet from Chile, Argentina, California and cooler regions of Australia including Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Coonawarra. Browse our top rated Cabernet wines here.
Cabernet in Australia.
Cabernet Sauvignon came early to Australia around 1831, forming part of James Busby's collection. Canes were imported from Chateau Lafite by Paul de Castella for his Lilydale vineyard in the 1940s. Today, several superstar Aussie Cabernets have become international wine icons including Mount Mary, Cullen and Moss Wood. Low yielding, fully ripened fruit is vital if one wishes to capture Cabernet's classic blackcurrant flavour and avoid the green, vegetal / leafy / methoxypyrazine characteristics that come from over-cropped, under-ripe fruit. The best examples are austere and structured in youth, with a core of fruit emerging after extended cellaring. They can be exceptionally long lived.
The best Cabernets are here.
Cooler climates like the Yarra Valley, Coonawarra and Margaret River vie for the title of Australia’s leading Cabernet regions. However, several less obvious South Australian efforts rank among the country's most prized, including the exuberant Penfolds Bin 707. The reality is Cabernet performs well in almost all regions, and retains its popularity as a contrast to Shiraz, with a more food-focused approach. Also look out for South American Cabernets, particularly those from Argentina and Chile. Of course, it goes without saying, Bordeaux remains the inspiration for them all.
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