Captivating Cabernet

By on September 1st, 2022 in Blog
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Last month we mused that Pinot Noir was the ‘King of Red Grapes’. Well, another contender to the throne has to be Cabernet Sauvignon (aka Cab). Why? Well, between Cab and Pinot Noir, you’ve pretty much covered most of the world’s priciest wines. Not that price is always an indicator of quality, but when you have wines selling for four, five or six figures, you know they have to be pretty tasty. So what is it about Cab? In a word: age-worthiness. Well-grown and well-made Cab is awesome; bags of fruit flavour; high acid; enough tannin for the winemaker to play with. And so it’s this trio of fruit, acid and tannin that give a wine its age-ability. But you don’t have to remortgage a kidney for Mouton Rothschild or Screaming Eagle to experience Cabernet Sauvignon’s splendour. Below are four that nail the brief, however deep your pockets are.

cabernet sauvignon blog header

Jordan Wine Estate Long Fuse

These guys are one of our absolute favourites. Jordan Wine Estates are a husband and wife team who’ve been making wine under its family label for nearly 30 years. Gary and Kathy Jordan came from scientific and business backgrounds respectively before jacking it all in to follow their passion. Before producing their first bottle they spent several years putting in the hard yards at various American and South African wineries. And it shows. Jordan makes unbelievably clear expressions of each variety they grow. None more so than their 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Long Fuse. Great Cab should be all about rich fruit, high, smooth tannin, great acidity and just a little leafy, green bell pepper note that cuts through. This has all those ingredients plus lovely developed flavours of leather, smoke and a little furniture polish at the back. Think Bordeaux techniques using New World fruit and you’re there. Stunning. 

Jordan Wine Estate Long Fuse Cabernet sauvignon


Odfjell Armador Cabernet Sauvignon

If Jordan likes to use New World fruit in an Old World way, Odfjell is New World through and through. New World fruit tends to benefit from more sunlight, higher temperatures and less rainfall. This means grapes are often more ripe and fruity than their counterparts from Europe’s ‘Old World’ regions. Odfjell takes those riper fruitier grapes and uses stainless steel tanks (ie no oak), keeps the fermentation cooler and avoids heavy extraction methods. This offers a brighter style that focuses on fruit purity. This style can often be oversimplified, making simple wines with little complexity. Odfjell gives us nothing of the sort. Their Armador Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and layered but bright and fresh. Flavours include a little bell pepper, loads of blackcurrant, dark cherries and plums, fine tannin, refreshing acidity, shades of liquorice and vanilla and some lovely sweet spice. Cab done the New World way to a tee.

odfjell armador cabernet sauvignon chile wine


Château Ferran Saint-Pierre Tucaou Bordeaux

Now we head right to Cab’s ancestral home – Bordeaux. Despite being the ultimate Cab stronghold, it’s almost always blended here. The main reason is a practical one. Cabernet Sauvignon is relatively hard to grow in Bordeaux’s changeable climate. This means winemakers supplement their Cab with likes of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Rain, frost or hail at the wrong time of year can have devastating consequences, so a type of farming-spread-betting makes perfect sense. Château Ferran Saint-Pierre Tucaou Bordeaux is a 50-50 split of Cab and Merlot that showcases the benefits of blending these two wonderful varieties. Dark plums, zingy cranberry, sweet spice, toast and vanilla shine through. The acidity keeps things fresh and tannins are very well controlled. Bordeaux’s reds are often seen as heavy, overly tannic and a bit austere. Not so here. Want a Bordeaux that’s lively, elegant and super-moreish? Well, here it is. 

Château Ferran Saint-Pierre Tucaou Bordeaux cabernet sauvignon merlot

Revana Terroir Series Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

If Bordeaux is the Old World home of Cabernet Sauvignon, California’s Napa Valley is its New World equivalent. Since 1997 Revana has been creating top-quality Napa Cabs at prices that are much more reasonable than many of their neighbours. They have a small vineyard area so use a combination of their fruit and grapes brought in from some of the region’s best vineyards. Their Terroir Series Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley uses grapes from several parcels, vinifying and ageing each separately before careful and expert blending. Flavours of raisins meet cassis, red cherries, cranberry sauce and a little capsicum. Smokey, leathery, tobacco notes follow with super fine tannins. Bright acidity then cleans everything. Wonderfully elegant and amazingly easy drinking, you can either lose yourself in a world of delicious complexity or simply sit back and sip away. We’ve rarely tried a wine that delivers so completely.

Revana Terroir Series Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley