By 3 top wine bloggers
International Cabernet Day is 3 September this year and we didn’t want to miss the chance to shout about the wine that helped put the Margaret River region on the premium wine map. Two things are for sure – firstly, there is a wealth of Cabernet being produced in the region today, and secondly, it’s all delicious.
So pour a glass and celebrate the velvety red stuff with us. With so many wine producers to choose from it can be difficult to decide which ones to try next, so we’ve made it easy for you and asked three top wine bloggers to let us in on their absolute favourites.
Casey Ewers – Travelling Corkscrew
There’s no doubt about it, Margaret River is the home to a myriad of exceptional and word class wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon. One that will always hold a special place in my wine glass is the Evans & Tate Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon. From the balanced savouriness of the 2002 to the depth and length of the 2010 to the richness in the 2011 and the hints of cedar coming through in the 2013 while still in barrel – it just keeps me going back for more. Team this with the fabulous architecture of the cellar door, the awesome staff and down-to-earth attitude of the talented Senior Winemaker, Matt Byrne and you have an absolutely winning combo in my books.
Fun fact: if you’re not sure of the difference between Cabernet and Cabernet Sauvignon, they’re actually the same grape variety. Cabernet Sauvignon is generally called Cabernet for short. Travelling Corkscrew has more about that here.
Suzanne Fisher – Fabulous Ladies Wine Society
2007 was a great vintage for Margaret River after a wet, cold 2006 which saw a significant reduction for premium red varieties from the region. Whilst stewarding at the 2013 Margaret River Wine Show, I was urged by the Head Steward to sample a relatively unknown brand (to me), Heydon Estate. They had received a trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon with their 2004 WG Grace at a past Margaret River Wine Show and in 2013, their 2007 WG Grace won the Best Exhibition wine class. Coincidentally I was sat with owners and winemakers Mary & George Heydon when the winning announcement was made and was thrilled to share my support of their wine personally. The velvety tannin structure, plush dark fruits, long length and a great balance of acid to fruit sugars. Sadly, with many boutique producers, only a small batch was made and the 2007 is not widely available for sale, however I can highly recommend their current vintage – the 2009!
Ben Thomas – Vine Collective
To be honest, Cabernet isn’t my go to variety. Cabs usually require a bit of time laying down and I just don’t have the will power a lot of the time. Trying to narrow down one favourite Margaret River is a hard task. It’s the variety that essentially put Margaret River on the map and there are so many producers (new and old) making amazing Cabs out there. You could go for a Cabernet from any of the following old guard Wilyabrup producers, Vasse Felix, Woodlands, Fermoy, Juniper Estate, Cullen et al., and not be disappointed. Their flagship Cabernets retail between $50-$130, but they also have cheaper ranges around $20-$30 that still really hit the mark. Woodlands and Fermoy’s Cabernet Merlot blends particularly resonated with me. So in choosing a favourite I need to bring in some added back story. After all, Wine is all about the story of the people behind it and where it fits in with your own personal wine journey. My favourite Cab is the 2012 Happs Three Hills ‘Charles Andreas’ Cabernet Blend. Growing up in Dunsborough I spent many years driving past Happs on Commonage Rd and, for reasons I can’t explain, never really gave them much thought. It was only when I started working on Vine Collective that I decided to go in and see what they had to offer, rather than cruise past on the way out to the aforementioned higher profile Wilyabrup producers. Safe to say I’m glad I did, as they’ve been one of the great surprise packets along the VC journey thus far. Firstly, Erl, Ros and the rest of the team are just such lovely people. They’ve got a beautifully rustic and homely cellar door and I always get the feeling that I’m visiting some long lost relative whenever I go there. But most importantly, the wines are great. Especially their Three Hills range, of which the Charles Andreas is the flagship variety. The Charles is a traditional Bordeaux blend incorporating Malbec (17%), Petit Verdot (8%) and Merlot (17%) along with the dominate Cabernet Sauvignon (58%). I like to think the difference between good wines and great wines is the balance and fullness of flavour… and this wine definitely turns the flavour volume right up. Flavours of red and black fruit are lathered on thick and the tannins and acid are well balanced for a long smooth finish. Learn more about Happs Three Hills ‘Charles Andreas’ on Vine Collective
Drink setting and food pairing
It’s all about the holy trinity. Good people, good food and good wine = good times! That formula can be applied to many settings but for something like the Charles Andreas I’d recommend a hearty winter dinner with a few of you top shelf friends or family. Nothing says hearty winter dinner like an Osso Buco dish. One of the best Osso Buco’s I’ve come across recently is Joel Valvasori’s from Lalla Rookh in the Perth CBD. Lucky for us he’s be kind enough to share the recipe on Gourmet Traveller. It’s a white wine based dish rather than the common tomato base and will a perfect accompany to a powerful wine like the Charles Andreas.