A modern Australian classic

Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most planted winegrape variety and it is the third most crushed variety in Australia, behind Shiraz and Chardonnay, accounting for around 15 per cent of the national crush.

It is grown in most regions in Australia, from the warm inland regions like the Riverland to the cool regions of South Australia’s Limestone Coast and the temperate Margaret River.

It is commonly blended with Shiraz and/or Merlot, and is central to the classic Bordeaux wine, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Cabernet Sauvignon Variety Snapshot 2020

Variety snapshots are one-page profiles of individual Australian winegrape varieties and provide at-a-glance summary statistics on: viticulture data, winegrape production, winegrape price, key producing regions and export sales data compared against the same statistics for all wine grape varieties.

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In the vineyard

  • Originating in the Gironde in south west France, Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Very old Cabernet Sauvignon vines exist in Langhorne Creek and Barossa.
  • Not a particularly adaptable variety. It prefers moderately warm climates – a mild maritime climate is ideal.     
  • Thrives on well drained soils – especially gravel based soils in Margaret River and classic terra rossa soils of Coonawarra.
Regions

Heat stress and drought stress affect Cabernet Sauvignon’s success. It does best in moderate climate regions such as Coonawarra and Margaret River. Other major regions that grow this variety include the Riverland, Riverina and Murry Darling.

Styles

Medium to full-bodied wines with firm, structured tannins. Regional expressions vary but Cabernet Sauvignon’s varietal character shines through no matter where it is grown.

Qualities

A wide range of qualities exist. Affordable, every day drinking wines through to some of Australia's most sought after, collectible fine wines.

24,682ha
Total plantings (2019-2020)
Mid 1800s
First plantings

In the winery

Vinification techniques
  • Quite traditional vinification approaches
  • Pre-fermentation  cold maceration techniques are used  
  • Pump-overs and use of header boards common for colour, flavour and tannin extraction     
  • 1–3 week post-fermentation maceration depending on producer
Maturation
  • New French oak common for maturation
  • Long maturation in oak quite common for 12–24 months

Major regional expressions

Barossa Valley

  • Rich, ripe opulent wines
  • Performs best in the cooler sites and cooler vintages 
  • Sometimes blended with Shiraz
Read more on Barossa Valley

Coonawarra

  • Medium to full-bodied wines with concentrated flavours of blackcurrant, mulberry and plum
  • Typically firm tannins without being astringent or hard
  • Coonawarra Cabernet has the capacity to age gracefully for decades
Read more on Coonawarra

Langhorne Creek

  • Full-bodied rich flavourful wines with soft tannins and ripe black fruit flavours
  • Typically blended with Shiraz to make the signature red wine style of Langhorne Creek
Read more on Langhorne Creek

Margaret River

  • Medium to full-bodied wines with classic blackcurrant, cedar and violet characteristics
  • Often blended with Merlot
Read more on Margaret River

McLaren Vale

  • Full-bodied, rich wines with ripe berry and chocolate characteristics
  • Can be quite age worthy especially in cooler vintages 
Read more on McLaren Vale

In the glass

Style and character

Medium to full-bodied with strong varietal characteristics which shine through wherever it is grown.

Pairs with

Lamb, beef, darker game meats, braised red meat dishes, firm cheeses.

Typical flavours

Blackcurrant
Blackberry
Mulberry
Cedar

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.