Wine Lists

Cabernet sauvignon to try

By Halliday Promotion

4 Jul, 2022

It's no secret that South Australia is home to some of the country's best cabernet sauvignon. Here are four complex and ageworthy wines from the state where cabernet reigns supreme.

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.

2016 Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon  

2016 Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark cherry red with a crimson hue. The bouquet is elegant and inviting, notes of cedar and liquorice combine with rich, ripe cassis, violets and the quintessential Coonawarra sea spray note. The palate opens with a burst of cassis and mocha. It is linear and structural, yet generous, dark and brooding with restraint and the promise of enjoyment for years to come. The tannins are sublime, giving an insight to the age-ability of this wine, yet in its youth, it is enjoyable as an elegant full-bodied red wine.

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 |

2019 Riddoch The Pastoralist Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

2019 Riddoch The Pastoralist Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

The Pastoralist Cabernet Sauvignon is deep red in colour, and offers aromas of fresh blackcurrant, bramble and hints of cedar. The palate is generous with a supple palate of smooth, silky and balanced tannins, with complex oak. Aged in new and seasoned French oak barrels for around 12 months, this concentrated balanced wine is perfect for drinking now or will reward with careful cellaring. An exemplary example of Coonawarra’s keynote grape variety.

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 |

2009 Hollick Estates Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 Hollick Estates Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon

Dense garnet red colour with crimson hues, concentrated aromas of plum, earthy spice, forest floor and blackcurrant on the nose. The Ravenswood is an intense and brooding wine with layers of dark fruit, black olive and coffee. The palate is full and round with an abundance of soft tannin. A great example of the ageing potential of Coonawarra cabernet.

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 |

2020 Hickinbotham Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon

2020 Hickinbotham Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2020 Trueman expresses cassis, rosehips, mint and Asian spice on the nose with dark cherry, cedar, slight toast, and silky tannins on the palate.

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.

RRP $80 | Drink to 2032 |

Learn more about cabernet sauvignon in our essential guide.
This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.
Top image credit: Yalumba.