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Find Your New Favourite...Cabernet Sauvignon Alternatives

New wines to try if you love Cabernet Sauvignon

Our philosophy here at Reserve Wines is pretty simple - drinking wine should always be fun. Everyone should feel empowered to try something new, whether or not you're a wine buff. That's why we've created our Find Your New Favourite series. 

Find Your New Favourite is here to help you expand your drinking horizons beyond your usual wine choices. Whether it's uncovering a winning pairing with a special family recipe or simply learning something new, we love nothing more than taking our customers on a voyage of wine discovery. Corny as it may sound, that's what wine drinking should be all about.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one the world's most popular red wines. It's a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, famous for producing the fine wines of Bordeaux. Late to ripen due to its small berries and thick skin, it suits warm climates and long ripening seasons. A saving grace - as under ripen this fruit and you'll end up with quite astringent, green flavours. 

At its best, it's highly concentrated fruit, tannins and acidity make for truly spectacular age-worthy wines which can evolve over decades. This potential has led to vineyard plantings all over the world with some pretty epic results - notably in California, Chile, South Africa and Australia.

If you're a die-hard Cabernet Sauvignon fan, we totally get it. But we're all about encouraging our drinkers to branch out. There are lots of wine varieties out there with similar qualities to Cab Sauv that are really worth exploring. A good place to start would be the grapes types that are often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon around the world. We're talking Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

Below are my top 6 recommendations for Cabernet Sauvignon alternatives from our collection here at Reserve. Well worth cracking open next time you're having a night in:

Calappiano, Sangiovese Toscana. 2019

Tuscany's premier grape variety, Sangiovese is a great alternative for a really drinkable, crowdpleasing red. The Calappiano estate dates right the way back to the 1500s and is a natural heritage site filled with vineyards, olive groves and woodlands. Their flagship Sangiovese is full of crunchy, bramble fruit and blueberry pie. A great wine to pair with game dishes. Tuscan wild boar stew would work a treat. 

Indomita Nostros Reserva Carmenere 2020

Carmenere is renowned as one of Chile's top grape varieties and the team at Indomita skilfully craft theirs in the Maipo Valley, where they also grow excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. The two varieties share the same intense blackberry and cassis fruit and here there's black pepper spice and hints of truffle. It's nicely rounded with silky tannins and is a great red to pair with a risotto or rich pasta dishes.

Bardos, Romantica Crianza. 2018

This Tempranillo from the hot Spanish region of Ribera del Duero is a great alternative if you enjoy the smoky, leathery styles of Cab Sauv. Luscious dark, jammy fruits combine with big leathery, tobacco flavours and smooth tannins. These coat your mouth and cry out to be paired with fatty pork dishes. A hearty sausage casserole would be a great choice on a cool autumnal afternoon by the fire. 

Waterkloof, Circle Of Life Red 2017

A blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot and Merlot from the Western Cape of South Africa, this is a wine that really shows the potential of Cape blends. A mixture of traditional Rhone and Bordeaux varieties, here they work together to combine the spiciness of the Syrah, the crunchy fresh fruits of the Petit Verdot and the pure juiciness of the Merlot. The result is a perfectly balanced red with elegant tannins and bright acidity on the finish. A great wine to try if you usually like your Cabernet to have a good hit of spice. It would pair well with braised red meats such as lamb shoulder. 

Cabaret Frank No2, The Aviary, Cabernet Franc 2018

Ok we've cheated a little here. This Californian Cabernet Franc actually has a tiny portion of Cabernet Sauvignon blended in - but it's a belter for anyone who loves those really ripe blackberry flavours in a Cab Sauv. Made from vines aged over 45 years, the intensity of fruit jumps out of the glass - ripe berries, juicy plums and dark cherries shine through. It's super smooth thanks to a spot of ageing in oak barrels but retains all of it' freshness with a classic leafy finish. This works really well with aubergine and courgette. Combining the two in a veggie parmigiana would work a treat.

Les Volets Malbec 2020

Fantastic Malbec from the foothills of the Pyrenees around the Languedoc and Limoux. Cooled by the altitude and with the warming influence of the Mediterranean this long ripening season leads to a Malbec with lots of vibrant blueberries and creme de cassis with hints of mocha and more red berries on the palate. An ideal partner to a simply grilled Sirloin steak. 

We've added all 6 wines to a case with free delivery included nationwide if you're feeling adventurous or are looking to fill up the wine rack with some new wines!


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