Cabernet sauvignon is the world's most widely planted grape variety. It reached Australia by way of James Busby in 1832 and was originally a blending grape, but quickly became popular among winemakers and viticulturists as a single varietal.
Known for its deep colour, rich, fruit-forward palate and hints of herbal notes, cabernet sauvignon offers great cellaring potential. These four wines to try are some of the best expressions from South Australia – three from Coonawarra and one from McLaren Vale. Add them to your list.
Head of winemaking Louisa Rose says: Cabernet is one of the greatest varieties. It always makes me sit up straight and appreciate its linear elegance and grace. In Australia, we are blessed with some of the best (and there are only a few) regions in the world that can grow and make complete and consistent wines from the single variety without the need to blend.
Suggested food pairing: Louisa pairs The Menzies with a chargrilled rib eye on the bone or porcini mushrooms, thyme and quinoa risotto.
RRP $60 | Drink to 2031 | yalumba.com
Chief winemaker Tim Heath says: I love the fact that the cabernet sauvignon lends itself to expressing power and concentration, but at the same time it offers a sense of elegance and restraint. These are traits the greatest expressions of cabernet show – it was what I was drawn to on my first trip to Bordeaux.
Suggested food pairing: Tim enjoys this cabernet alongside rich and luxurious grilled lamb dishes, or with good quality aged cheddar. He says this wine is also perfect for gifting for Father’s Day.
RRP $45 | Drink to 2032 | riddochcoonawarra.com.au
Winemaker Trent Nankivell says: I love the purity of varietal aromas and flavours often found in cabernet sauvignon – especially Coonawarra cabernet – it’s a classic. Cabernet is a wine that when crafted with care, can be enjoyed many years into the future. It's a wine to share with the next generation.
Suggested food pairing: Winemaker Trent Nankivell pairs the Ravenswood with an ox-tongue ragu.
RRP $98.50 | Drink to 2039 | hollick.com
Winemaker Chris Carpenter says: My first encounter with California cab was the 1990 Groth Reserve. Transcendent cabernets are weaves of complexity, acid, structure and their ability to evolve in so many directions over time is endlessly stimulating. I love to make them because they can be tossed about like a rugby player, rather than handled with kid gloves, and still have elegance, grace, structure and a sense of place.
Suggested food pairing: Chris pairs the Trueman with a well-spiced pork chop or leg of lamb. It also matches perfectly with wild mushroom risotto.