Cabernet sauvignon was once the hero grape variety in South Australian vineyards, shiraz much less so. The worm has turned. Everybody loves shiraz these days, with cabernet the poor cousin. Yet South Australian cabernet styles offer great variety, and prices haven't always kept up with the quality of wine in the bottle. Regional differences can be striking, too, from lush warm-climate types through to the austere, savoury, cool-grown crowd. If you haven't sipped a South Oz cabernet for a while, the quality and value have never been better.
Penfolds The Creative Genius Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, $37-$40
Not as overt as other young Penfolds multi-regional blends, this has elegantly understated, plum, berry, spice and cedar aromas. Medium-bodied, poised and balanced, it flows seamlessly through fine tannins and a lingering finish. Screw cap; 14 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over eight years.
Stockists include Selected Dan Murphy's stores; selected Vintage Cellars stores.
Serafino Black Label McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, $26-$28
Generous McLaren Vale cabernet that opens with inviting dark fruit, briar, tar and toasty notes. The palate is plush yet fine, with good depth, easy texture and great balance. A friendly wine of real class. Screw cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over 10 years.
Stockists include: Kemenys, Bondi (NSW); Wine House, Southbank (Vic).
Tim Adams Clare Valley Cabernet Malbec 2015, $23-$25
Glass-staining, dark and power-packed, this traditional regional cabernet blend smells of blackcurrant, plum pud, bitter chocolate, smoke and mint. Full-bodied, charry and rich with a long, grippy finish. Sensational value. Screw cap; 14.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink over 12 years.
Stockists include: Enmore Fine Wines, Enmore (NSW); Melbourne Wine Store, St Kilda Road (Vic).