Cabernet Sauvignon (pron. cab-er-nay sav-in-yon)
Usually considered the noblest of red grapes Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce distinctive wines that are tannic and can have long aging potential. Australian Cabernet Sauvignon's taste characteristics are dark cherry, cedar, mint, black currant and cool climate growth can offer green pepper or olive. Up to 18 months of aging in small oak barrels before bottling is common in order to achieve more complexity. It is often blended with other varieties to make more complex wines.
Australian Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the medium to cool regions will be as powerfully flavored with black curranty notes and as full-bodied as you’d expect from anywhere. It’s at its berry and minty/eucalyptus best in the Coonawarra and Margaret River regions. McLaren Vale in South Australia generates Cabs with black currant and berry characters with a hint of chocolate. There are also some wonderfully good blends with Merlot and a Shiraz Cabernet has to be tried to be believed.
Cabernet Sauvignon berries are small, spherical with black, thick and very tough skin. This toughness makes the grapes fairly resistant to disease and is a mid to late season ripener.
Australian Cabernet Sauvignon wine tends to be a deep purple red in color and makes big, dense wines capable of long aging. These wines are rich and well structured and benefit from further aging in the bottle, so it’s also well worth cellaring them for a year or two if you can wait. Young Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be very tannic, meaning it can make your mouth feel dry when you drink it. For this reason, Cabernet wines are best enjoyed with foods containing protein and fat (such as a nice juicy steak) as these elements tend to mellow the tannins. Age will also mellow the tannins, if you have the patience to hold on to your wine. Let the bottle ‘breath’ for 10 minutes or so before drinking.
Check out our Food and Wine Pairing suggestions to see the best choice for your Australian Cabernet Sauvignon wine.