OLLY SMITH: Robust and fruity: Cabernet Sauvignon, the most recognisable of all red grapes
It’s probably the most recognisable of all red grapes – there’s no mistaking Cabernet Sauvignon’s blackcurrant taste. It is powerful, deep, rich and prized. It is also used to bolster blends that might otherwise lack presence. From lead role to bit part, Cabernet deserves to take a bow.
A young Cabernet Sauvignon is robust and fruity, but as it ages and matures in-bottle it softens into a more earthy, soft and savoury red. Try Weinert Carrascal Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (14%)at £9.50, a snip from The Wine Society.
Bordeaux famously blends Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot along the Left Bank of the Gironde estuary with famous appellations such as Margaux and Médoc. It’s considered a classic style that can command high prices but I’ve found a treat from Berry Bros & Rudd that shows great quality for under a tenner.
A successful trick of Cabernet is to pair with powerful co-stars such as spicy Shiraz. Australia has nailed this with iconic examples such as Penfolds Bin 389 2015 (14.5%), which is available via Fraziers Wine Merchants for £60. But I’ve found a superb Shiraz-Cabernet blend in Aldi . It arrives in store and online from October 1, so make a note in your diary to buy Lot XI Clare Valley Cabernet Shiraz 2016 (14%) for £10.99 – a wine that’s beautifully balanced in Cabernet’s favour.