Spotlight on Cabernet Sauvignon

Written by
Vintage Cellars
February 16, 2017
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Cabernet Sauvignon – what is it, where does it come from and what should you eat with it? Read on to find out.

Among the many and varied hurdles in the wine world, often the hardest to clear is selecting what to buy. Once you have figured out what grape to choose, there are still more decisions to make but at the very least, you have narrowed the field significantly. One of the noblest of all the red grapes is Cabernet Sauvignon, and this is one worthy of your choice for a host of reasons. Let’s look at a few of these in more detail.

What is it?

Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape with the parent grapes of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It is possible to sometimes taste notes of blackcurrant in both Cabernet Sauvignon and the parent grape Sauvignon Blanc, even though it might feel unusual to taste such a signature flavour from both a red and a white wine.

Where does it come from?

The home of Cabernet Sauvignon is Bordeaux in France and whilst Cabernet Sauvignon has travelled the width and breadth of the globe, most commentators would attest to the very best examples as hailing from the low-lying vineyards beside the Gironde River in Bordeaux. As general rule these wines are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon alongside bedfellows, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Outside of France the Napa Valley in the USA, Margaret River in Western Australia and the Yarra Valley in Victoria are all excellent producers of Cabernet Sauvignon based wines modeled on those of Bordeaux. For the purist, the Australian region that consistently produces 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines year in, year out is Coonawarra in South Australia.

What do I eat with it?

Cabernet Sauvignon wines are deep, concentrated and tannic and one of the best ageing wines that you could add to your cellar. It is in no small part, this ability to age a long time that has added to the immutable reputation of the wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon. With this intensity and tannin comes an ability to pair with rich food, think roasted and barbecued meats, game meat, stews, hard-aged cheddars and strong blue cheeses. As a young wine it can be incredibly assertive and powerful, but as it ages it blossoms into a wine of great majesty.

6 to try

Mid-week quaffers

Houghton Cabernet Sauvignon - An Aussie classic, showing lifted red berry notes, cigar box and sweet fruit.

St Andrews Imperial Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - You can expect dark cherries, spice and soft mouth feel.

Weekend treats

Singlefile Cabernet Sauvignon - Recently awarded the Halliday 2014 “Dark Horse Winery of the Year”, Singlefile continue to show terrific value for money and this is no exception. Lovely concentration and balance, ripe fruit, spice and lovely texture make this a truly delicious wine. Beautiful now, but it will also reward those who are patient following decade-long stint in the cellar too.

Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon - A dense palate with sweet blackcurrant and mulberries, cedary oak and firm tannins, as you can expect from this grape. Xanadu is continuing to rise in the Cabernet stakes, going from strength to strength.

A little bit fancy

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon - This leads with blackcurrant and laurel with hints of lavender and ripe mulberries. It has a beautifully textured palate showing cedar, graphite and well-balanced acidity. This wine is long and harmonious.

Hollick Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon - One of Coonawarra’s best, the Hollick Ravenswood takes fruit from Wrattonbully and Coonwarra to deliver this inimitable wine. Plum, mocha cassis and dark chocolate and the 18 months in French oak merely adds to the complexity and length of this wine.

The expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from around the world can at times be challenged as it is so popular, and therefore made by many who simply want to fill the demand, often, at the expense of quality. These great Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the great wine regions of the world will outlive and outlast them though, so be sure to get some into your cellar or into your glass for immediate enjoyment.