Shiraz vs Cabernet Sauvignon: Wine Regions, Aromas, Texture, Food Pairing

Did you always wonder how Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, two of the most popular grape varieties, fare against one another? Known for being used to produce some of the boldest and flavoursome red wines with intense colours, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are similar in many ways, but they have certain differences too. Read on to know how Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon fare on similar aspects:

Shiraz vs Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Regions

Talking particularly about Australian regions, Shiraz, also known as Syrah, is grown in hot climate zones and dominates the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale regions.

Cabernet Sauvignon rules well in the Maritime climate of two of its kingdoms – Margaret River and Coonawarra regions.


Aroma characters in Shiraz wines can range from violets to berries, espresso, chocolate, cloves, and black pepper.

Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon are known for their intense fruit flavour, subtle minty notes, blackcurrant, and grassy aromas.


Australian Shiraz is a full-bodied, jammier fruit with softer tannin. The high to low acidity and tannin levels of Shiraz grapes help in producing wines with promising aging potential.

Australian Cabernet Sauvignon makes dense, dark and tannic wines with noticeable acidity which contributes to aging potential of the wines.

Food Pairing

Think big and spicy flavours when it comes to food pairing with Australian Shiraz wines. Grilled or roast beef, beef stews, spicy sausages, and hard cheeses like Cheddar, pair extremely well with Australian style Shiraz wines.

On the other hand, steak is a great choice for pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Other food pairings that enhance the taste of a Cabernet Sauvignon wine include aged Cheddar cheese, grilled Portabello mushroom, braised beef, and grilled lamb.

Some Fine Examples

Shiraz wines

Tahbilk Rare 1860 Vines Shiraz 2013 Nagambie Lakes

Yalumba Rare & Fine Collection The Octavius Shiraz 2013 Barossa Valley

Cabernet Sauvignon wines

Cullen Vanya Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Margaret River

Redman Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum 2013 Coonawarra


Mourvedre in Australia – Then and Now

Mourvedre in Australia in 20th century

Mourvedre was the preferred grape variety to make fortified wines during the first half of 19th century in Australia. The popular wines blended with Mourvedre were Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The popularity of these blends were overshadowed with the coming up of new blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz during the 1950’s. Another setback for Mourvedre happened with the Vine Pull Scheme of 1987 when many of the plantations were destroyed.

During these difficult times many wine-growers faced losses and were helped by some of the well-known figures of wine industry such as Peter Lehmann, Robert O’Callaghan and Bob McLean. The period also saw the development famous wines such as Nine popes, a blend of Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre.

Mourvedre in Australia

In 2016,  there were a total 750 ha of vineyards in Australia with 7400 tonnes of grapes crushed. The top GI regions according to tonnes produced was Riverland. It holds 39% share of the total Mourvedre as a grape-varietal produced in Australia.

Some of the Australian wineries that produce Mourvedre wines are –

  • Churchview Estate wines
  • D’Arenberg Wines
  • Jacobs Creek Wines
  • Larry Cherubino Wines
  • St Hallett Wines
  • Yalumba Wine Company
  • Yangarra Estate
  • Zonte’s Footsteps


Penfolds Grange- The History Behind

penfolds grange winesIf there is a wine which is probably one the most important collectible of Australian wine lovers, then it is the Penfolds Grange wine. This wine was created by Max Schubert who joined Penfolds when he was a young boy of 15. It was the ultimate desire of this boy to create a wine so unique that it best characterises the essence of Australian shiraz wine. He envisioned that the wine could be cellared for decades and every passing year will make this wine even more desirable among its lover. The result of this burning desire was the creation of Penfolds Grange. First brought out in 1951, the wine made the big stride in the very first year of its creation itself. However, it can be said that it was in the year 1955 that the wine reached its peak of popularity.

Penfolds Grange is a wine made essentially of the Shiraz grapes with a little percentage of cabernet sauvignon grapes also going into it. Max took care to use only the best quality fruit for creating this wine. He sourced this from famous wine regions of Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. The year 1955 was special because it received average rainfall but was also warm due to moderate heat. This made the grapes reach just the right level of ripeness which could create an iconic wine that is Grange.

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