What makes Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon the best in Australia? It’s all in the clones and terroir.
Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is some of the most heralded Cabernet in the world. But for a region that’s only been producing wine for 50 years, how has it achieved this?
The Houghton clone, whose origin is not fully known (it could be South Africa or somewhere in Europe), produces very small berries and low yields. This clone was used to plant the first modern vineyards in Margaret River in 1967 and is now the most common clone of Cabernet Sauvignon.
These small, concentrated grapes mixed with the perfect terroir of Forest Grove soil and a long dry growing season with cooling influences from the ocean make Cabernet here highly complex.
The result? Deeply colored wines with concentration, power, and structure, yet elegant and not jammy or baked because of the cooling ocean. If you’re looking for Cabernet Sauvignon to go the distance, look no further than Margaret River.
Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes
Expect ripe but fresh blackberry and cassis, and delicate herbal notes of eucalyptus or mint. Subtle oak flavors of cedar and spice, along with fresh tobacco and cigar box.
On the palate, a high-quality Cabernet from Margaret River will have high levels of powerful yet elegant and refined tannins, lots of fresh acidity, and a very long and evolving finish.
Over time the tannins smooth out even more, and the flavors change from blackberry and cassis to more leather, tobacco, and forest floor.
Pairing Food with Cabernet Sauvignon
When young, these wines call out for food because there’s a lot of tannin and acidity. Best paired with salty and highly flavored foods such as grilled or roasted foods.
Cabernet Sauvignon pairs excellently with classics like steak and BBQ’d lamb chops, but grilled mushrooms work great too. Aged examples are perfect with powerful cheeses such as aged cheddar, comté, and olive tapenade.