Cabernet Sauvignon – South Africa – New Zealand

Cabernet Sauvignon - South Africa - New Zealand

South Africa

After the end of apartheid, the South African wine industry has strived to regain its global position, leading many regions to focus on promoting their Cabernet Sauvignon wines. As a result, Cabernet Sauvignon has become the most widely planted red grape variety in South Africa.

Wine producers create varietal and blended wines with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Some follow the Bordeaux tradition of blending, while others mix it with Syrah, like the Australians. The first South African Cabernet Sauvignon wines were made with grapes grown in cooler regions, resulting in herbaceous flavors and notes of green pepper.
Groot Constantia Vineyards Cape Town
In the mid-1990s, grapes were harvested only when fully ripe, and new clones were introduced that produced grapes with higher levels of maturity and sweetness. Due to the location of vineyards and the age of the vines, some regional styles have emerged.
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For example, the Stellenbosch region is known for producing full-bodied wines, while Constantia wines are recognized for their mint and herb flavors.

New Zealand

Cabernet Sauvignon production in New Zealand has faced difficulties due to the country’s climate. Most of the industry has concentrated on the North Island, with the Hawkes Bay region being the first to make a significant attempt at producing Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the cool climate of the region, combined with high yields and fertile alluvial soils, results in wines that still have strong green and vegetal flavors.

In addition, more emphasis is placed on managing the canopy of the vines. This involves removing excess foliage, reducing the vigor of rootstocks, and pruning the vines to achieve lower yields and superior results by allowing more sunlight to reach the grapes. Occasionally, merlot is blended with the grapes to balance the impact of the local climate on the terroir.
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New Zealand’s wine production has expanded beyond Cabernet Sauvignon in certain areas such as the Gimblett Road and Havelock North regions in Hawkes Bay, which have gained popularity due to their warm, gravelly soils. Similarly, the island of Waiheke, located near Auckland, has also become a renowned wine region. However, the quality of the grapes used for wine production in New Zealand is quite different from that of Pinot Noir.

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