A Guide to Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, the ‘King of Grapes’

Celebrating Cabernet Day

Cabernet is celebrated on the 30th of August each year around the globe, deemed ‘International Cabernet Day’. As one of the key varieties to launch our winery 50 years ago, it’s an important variety to our family’s history. Today’s a great day to celebrate by opening a bottle of Cabernet and enjoying the ‘King of Grapes’!

The history of Cabernet in Australia

Boasting firm tannin, great acidity and rich aromas and flavours; Cabernet Sauvignon is a true Australian classic. Whilst being the world’s most widely planted grape, Australia makes up 18% of the world’s plantings and the variety planted across almost every wine region in Australia.

First originating in the Gironde in south west France, Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon has a long history in Australia dating back to when it first arrived on Australian shores in 1832. It was a difficult variety to adapt and took some time to establish itself. These days, innovation and craftsmanship has shaped Cabernet to the popular style it is today.

When Wakefield Wines was first established in 1969 we planted the largest contiguous Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1973, the first release of our Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded a gold medal at every national wine show it was entered into. Today this wine is exported around the world and is one of our most popular styles.

What makes Cabernet Sauvignon special?

Australia’s unique climate and landscape produces very diverse styles across each region in Australia, so it’s a great wine to explore the differences across various producers.

Australia produces immediately fresh and elegant styles to be enjoyed now, alternatively Cabernet is a classic wine for any budding collector as it has immense potential for long term age-ability.

There are many diverse winemaking techniques that can be used to produce Cabernet Sauvignon. It is successful as a standalone single varietal wine but also in many classic wine blends. One such technique that we use is regional blending.

One such technique that we use is regional blending. An example of this can be found with the Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a very special example of the variety where the fruit is sourced from both our Clare Valley estate and a grower partner in the Coonawarra wine region. The winemakers actually make two separate wines from the regional parcels so the unique regional characteristics are preserved. Their artistic sensibilities are then indulged as they blend the two parcels seamlessly together to produce a multi-layered wine of interminable interest and wonderful complexity.