Composed Cabernet Sauvignon for your “skaap tjop”?

Cabernet Sauvignon is arguably the world’s most famous red variety. For the majority of the 20th Century, it was the world’s most widely planted premium red varietal, before it was overtaken by merlot in the 1990’s.

Originating in the South West of France in the 17th century, it is the result of the crossing of Cabernet Franc (cabernet) and Sauvignon Blanc (sauvignon).

The berries are typically small, with thick dark skins which are resistant to rot.  The vines are hardy and low yielding.  Bud burst is late, providing a natural defence against frost. The bunches often exhibit a “hen and chicken” phenomenon where a number of the berries are smaller than the average berry size of the bunch.


With some justification, it’s widespread popularity has contributed to criticism of the grape as a “colonizer” that takes over wine regions at the expense of native grape varieties.

Cabernet typically ripens late and is often the one of the last grapes harvested within a region.  The tannin structure is robust, resulting in the wine often being blended with softer varieties.  In Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with any or all of the following: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot.  Blending reduces total tannin, resulting in a softer mouth feel.  In the new world, it is sometimes combined with Shiraz, resulting in a full-bodied wine with additional berry fruit and spicy pepper flavours.  In Chianti, it is an important part of the “Super Tuscan” style where it is blended with sangiovese.

Apart from France,  Cabernet Sauvignon is well known in Chile, the United States, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Eastern Europe and Argentina. This grape has the ability to adapt to a range of climates.  The cabernet’s of the Napa Valley of California, Margret River and Coonawarra of Australia and Stellenbosch in South Africa are some of their respective countries most highly prized wines.

Although Cabernet Sauvignon has the ability to age for decades if produced in the correct style, the majority of today’s wines are made for early consumption.

The Alvi’s Drift Signature Cabernet Sauvignon is just such a wine.  Fermentation on the skins for 7 days has allowed extraction of the grape’s colour and tannins.  The wine is treated with French oak during the maturation process, resulting in a full bodied but approachable wine exhibiting ripe blackberry fruit characters with hints of vanilla, chocolate and even Christmas cake. The Alvi’s Drift Signature Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect companion for  roasted or barbecued meat and pasta dishes.


A word from one wine enthusiast has described Alvi’s Drift Cabernet Sauvignon as “Full bodied but soft with lots of berries! Great with our Skaap tjops!” As well as “Good value. Loved the hints of vanilla which balanced the wine excellently”. These sentiments were reinforced at the Vitis Vinifera Awards in  2016 where the wine was awarded Gold Medal status.

Stock up for the coming “braai season” and order wine online  for free delivery in GP and the Cape Town region.

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