The sequel to the Margaret River Chardonnay trail, this Cabernet Sauvignon equivalent is the perfect way to deepen your wine discovery journey in the Margaret River region. If Chardonnay is the queen of the grapes in Margaret River, then Cabernet Sauvignon is her king. It is this grape variety that has single-handedly put Margaret River on the international wine map and enabled the industry to develop to where it is today.
Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab Sav) is a grape that produces a rich wine that cellars magnificently. Part of the beauty of Margaret River is its heavenly Mediterranean climate: the long summers filled with warm days are complimented by a cool sea breeze which keeps grapes in tip-top condition until harvesting. What this means for you is plenty of subtle, refined Cabernet Sauvignon with a velvety tannin structure and juicy blackberry characteristics.
It’s time to get tasting! No matter how long you have in the region – be it a day, a weekend or a week, this Cabernet Trail is the skeleton from which your wine education in the region can build. Smash it out in order for a mammoth day of Cab Sav, or pick and choose pieces of it to cover at your leisure if you have more time. In the words of the wise: “Life is a Cabernet old chum, so come to the Cabernet”.
First stop is to visit one of the oldest families in the region – the Credaros, who migrated from Italy to Margaret River in 1922. Green thumbs will be in for a treat if the wisteria canopy is in bloom at the cellar door. The family planted the first of their vines to produce table wine for family and friends – but these have since increased to over 110 hectares of vineyard and produce some silky smooth Cab Sav to start the days tasting with.
Stop number two is Woodlands Wines. At Woodlands’ cosy cellar door and family run winery you’ll feel right at home. Sip through an array of single vineyard Cabernet blends from the Wilyabrup Valley then take a deep dive with a vertical of Woodlands’ famous Cabernet Sauvignon. The cellar door is set in the winery itself allowing you to view both the winery at work and a panoramic view of their pioneering vineyard. If you’re looking for food to match Woodlands offers a range of grazing boards filled with local and international delicacies.
Here you’ll find a spacious cellar door with a café for those that might not have stocked up enough at the brekky table. With a number of different Cabernets to sample, work your way to the big guns with the 2013 Streicker Ironstone Block Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon. This little beauty has won numerous accolades and is a luscious, dark-fruit-driven example of the region and the winemaking style.
This one’s a winery visit for true lovers of the vine. Be sure to book in advance, as this one is by appointment only and well worth planning for. Take the time to revel in all that the estate has to offer on a guided tour through the winery; tasting wine from the barrel and exploring back vintages in the museum. The cherry on top is their exquisite Cab Sav, included in wine reviewer Matthew Jukes’s 100 Best Australian Wines 2018/19 with advice to “buy all you can”. We won’t be arguing with those instructions!
After a quick diversion into the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (their truffles make the perfect indulgent treat alongside a post-dinner glass of red), it’s back on the Cabernet course down Tom Cullity Drive, destination: Howard Park. Named after the region’s founding winemaker Dr Tom Cullity, the drive takes you past some of the most iconic wineries in the region and the very first vines planted at Vasse Felix in 1967. Before hitting the end of the drive however, turn left and you will find the tree-lined entrance to Howard Park, home to the region’s foremost architectural cellar door and much-lauded winemaker Janice McDonald. With vineyards scattered throughout South Western Australia, here is your chance to taste the differences in terroir across their wide-ranging list of wines.
With a chocolate-box-pretty cellar sitting on the banks of Wilyabrup Creek, a visit to Juniper Estate in springtime will have you greeted by sprawling roses throughout their cottage garden. Be sure to spend a tranquil moment on the lawn before tasting their wine! The Juniper Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon took home 96 points in Halliday’s 2019 Wine Companion.
The magic of matching wine with food can be explored to your heart’s content at Cullen. Taste the award-winning biodynamic wines at the cellar door before settling in for a fresh and flavoursome meal made with produce direct from the estate’s gardens. Pair a glass of their renowned Diana Madeline with lunch and savour the flavour profiles that reveal themselves during your dining experience – all while looking out over the expansive vineyards and bushland, of course. Cullen’s philosophy behind winemaking is like no other in the region, so take the chance for a stroll through their spiral garden and brush up on the principles of biodynamic viticulture.
Cape Grace Wines
One of Margaret River’s great little family-run wineries, don’t be fooled by Cape Grace Wine’s humble tin farm shed – they produce some stellar Cabernet Sauvignon. Robert and Karri-Davies will take you through a guided tasting, spilling secrets on how they produce their wine and their favourite ways to best enjoy it at home.
The only thing more astounding than the beauty of Voyager Estate is the flavour in their broad range of wines. Sit down in the wine room and savour a wine flight accompanied by an iPad filled with in-depth tasting notes and knowledgeable staff on hand to answer all your Cabernet questions. This year marks the estate’s 40th Anniversary, making it the perfect time to visit and learn all there is to know about their history of winemaking in the region.
Home of the region’s annual Cabernet tasting, as well as some of the world’s best examples of the variety, it would be a shame to miss out on a tasting at Cape Mentelle. Grab a bottle or two from the cellar door and take a five-minute drive to the wineriy’s namesake – the actual Cape Mentelle which looks out over the Indian Ocean. Fill your glass, and get ready to watch the sun set behind the Cape as you toast to a day of Cabernet!
Marri Wood Park
A perfect example of a small but mighty winery in the region, Marri Wood Park produces biodynamic wines that speak of the land. Try their vertical tasting of three Cabernet’s, each made by a different winemaker; the 2011 Cabernet was by Ian Bell from Glenmore Wines, their 2014 release was made by Jo Perry of Dormilona, and the 2020 by Nic Peterkin from L.A.S Vino. Call ahead to book in and you will be welcomed with a free cheese tasting board to accompany the wines.