What to drink ... Cabernet Sauvignon

Young Cabernet Sauvignon requires time to mellow out.
Young Cabernet Sauvignon requires time to mellow out. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

UP TO $25

Ferngrove Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 $20

Young cabernet sauvignon can be challenging because it needs time in the bottle to temper its angular tannins and mellow out. It's definitely a variety that rewards the patient. Yet Ferngrove's 2011 is incredibly approachable and a good example of young, easy-to-drink cabernet. On the lighter side of full-bodied, with cassis, chocolate, smoky and dusty notes in the mix, it has a core of juicy fruit, plush, slightly grainy tannins and cleansing acidity. Some spicy blackened fish would be a good match. ferngrove.com.au

UP TO $40

Wynns Black Label Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $30

Something is comforting about Black Label: a reliable Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon and an excellent, well-priced wine. The 2010 is the 55th vintage of Black Label. This, too, is approachable for a young cabernet; with ripe, luscious tannins, it is full-bodied yet balanced and delicious. Deep and fine, its rich fruit melds with spice, chocolate, a hint of herbs and earthiness. Tannins are ripe and round, the oak is neatly integrated, and it finishes long. All that's needed is a dish of spicy chicken and fennel tagine. From Nick's Wine Merchants.

OVER $40

Bremerton Walter's Reserve Cabernet 2009 $50

What was once known as Bremerton's reserve cabernet is now named Walter's, after winemakers Rebecca and Lucy Willson's grandfather. Give it plenty of air to open up and it will reveal a nose of blackberry, plums, anise, a hint of mint and that enticing earthy, chocolate mud-cake character of Langhorne Creek. The rich fruit easily handles the spicy, cedary oak, and while full-bodied, it's not over the top. It will easily age another eight years but to enjoy today, it demands a hearty lamb and tomato stew. bremerton.com.au

SPLURGE

Henschke Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $115

The 2008 vintage of Henschke's flagship cabernet sauvignon is its 30th, and while it started as 100 per cent cabernet sauvignon from Eden Valley, it is now about 6 per cent merlot and 5 per cent cabernet franc. Typical of Eden Valley, it has a fragrant, leafy-herb note, as well as camphor and oatmeal. It is a restrained cabernet with cassis and red berries, tartness, spicy, cedary oak and lively acidity. Although released with four years' bottle age, it is youthful and will gain complexity in the next eight years. From Dan Murphy's.