Cabernet Sauvignon: The King of Grapes

The origins of Cabernet Sauvignon were the subject of much speculation and debate for many years, until DNA analysis was carried out in 1996 at Davis University in the USA. The analysis revealed that cabernet sauvignon was a spontaneous cross of cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc that occurred in the Gironde, in South-west France sometime in the mid eighteenth century. This makes cabernet sauvignon quite a modern addition to grape varieties and also emphasises its importance as it quickly has become the fourth mostly planted grape in France and one of the most recognisable.

For many years cabernet sauvignon was the golden child of the Australian wine industry. Wines from the Coonawarra and Margaret River were held as the pinnacle of wine production in Australia. It is many a wine aficionado that started their journey in wine with a bottle (or two) of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is generally thought that George Blaxland planted the first cabernet sauvignon grapes in Australia sometime between 1816 and 1818. Blaxland called the grape ‘claret’ and produced port; enough to introduce some doubt to the claim that this was the first planting. In 1820 John and Elizabeth Macarthur enlarged their vineyards at Camden Park, planting a number of different varieties which records indicate included cabernet sauvignon, making it the first recorded planting.

Today there are  almost 25 000 hectares planted in Australia, making cabernet sauvignon the third most planted grape variety in Australia behind shiraz and chardonnay. The Yarra Valley is home to a number of distinguished cabernet sauvignon vineyards with the bulk of the original wineries planting cabernet sauvignon. These mature vineyards tend to be planted at lower altitudes and benefit from warm summer days and cool nights that ensures flavour development of the fruit.

Squitchy Lane is able to draw upon a well-established cabernet vineyard, that was planted in 1982. The northerly aspect to the vineyard and the clay loam soils combine to produce a wine with depth of flavour that still maintains elegance and structure. The Squitchy Lane 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking superbly with time in the bottle has allowing the wine to soften and to develop a hint of bottle age. The nose is full and complex with aromas of cherries, black currant, spice and a touch of violets and olive herbaceousness.  The palate is elegant and supple with beautiful fruit, delicate cedar oak notes and fine tannin structure.