Despite the perception that the best wines are made from a single variety, blends may be superior in their complimentary combinations.
Cabernet Sauvignon is considered the “king” of varieties around the world particularly if you are a fan of French classic wines. The world’s most prestigious and expensive region is Bordeaux in south west France. It is the home of Cabernet Sauvignon and reds made of blends of this variety with related grapes, including Merlot.
In Australia there are a large number of Cabernet Sauvignon wines and we tend to have a view that the best wines are made from a single variety and that blends indicate a lesser wine. However, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (along with the other varieties) are excellent bedfellows. They complement one another and the blend is often superior to a single variety.
A wine made of Cabernet (Sauvignon is often dropped from the label in such blends) and one or more of the accompanying varieties, such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, is often referred to as a “Bordeaux Blend”. Merlot is thinner skinned than Cabernet Sauvignon and has less colour depth but a softer taste.
Great Cabernet wines are excellent with the right foods – traditional lamb and beef dishes for example. Some well-priced examples to try include (pictured above) Vasse Felix Cabernet Merlot 2011 (RRP$19), Cape Mentelle “Trinders” Cabernet Merlot 2011 (RRP$24) and Flametree Cabernet Merlot 2011 (RRP$24), all from Margaret River in WA which has earned a reputation for producing some of the best Bordeaux blends in Australia.
Wines from Wine Experience, Rosalie, or see www.wineexperience.com.au.