Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most widely planted red grape varieties in the world. When it comes to premium and specialist wine regions, Bordeaux, Margaret River, Napa Valley and the South African Wine region, Stellenbosch have made a name for themselves in the world of wine, especially when it comes to producing world class Cabernet Sauvignon.

While Bordeaux, Margaret River and Napa Valley are often considered the benchmark for Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is already more than comparable with many of the leading producers in these regions and should not be overlooked. Let’s investigate further.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

Regional Styles:

In Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the key grape varieties used in the region’s famous red blends. Bordeaux Cabernets are known for their elegance and complexity, with a focus on balance and structure.  Stellenbosch and Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon shares many of these characteristics but with a more distinct “New World” flavour profile, whilst Napa Cabernets by comparison are often considered “crowd-pleasers”, are full bodied, bold and often higher in alcohol.

Climate & Terroir:

In terms of climate and terroir, Stellenbosch, Margaret River and Bordeaux all share similarities. All three regions have a Mediterranean climate influenced by the nearby oceans with warm to hot summers and cool winters, which is ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon as it allows the grapes to ripen slowly and develop their full flavour potential. However, the soil in Stellenbosch is more diverse, with a mix of clay, sandstone, and granite as opposed to Bordeaux’s gravel, clay and limestone, Margaret Rivers red gravelly loams and Napa Valley’s stony loam and clay-silt soils. This adds to the complexity and depth of flavour in the wines from Stellenbosch.

Food Friendly:

Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that is incredibly versatile and pairs well with a wide range of foods. It is particularly well-suited to dishes with bold flavours, such as grilled meats, roast lamb, roasted vegetables, spicy sauces and strong cheeses. The wine’s bold flavour profile and firm tannins can stand up to even the richest and most flavourful dishes, making it a favourite among food and wine enthusiasts. Why not try our Warwick First Lady Cabernet with your next ”Braai” recipe available here  or the Kanonkop Kadette Cabernet Sauvignon with a Lamb Shank Pie with Red Wine and Rosemary? Mouth watering yet?

Kanonkop Kadette Cabernet Sauvignon

Kanonkop Kadette Cabernet Sauvignon

Value for Money:

In terms of price, this is where Stellenbosch takes the lead. The value-for-money offered by Cabernet Sauvignon from this region is hard to beat! In almost all cases, Stellenbosch Cabernet offers incredible, and sometimes unbelievable value for money by comparison to its Bordeaux, Margaret River and Napa Valley counterparts. This is due in part to the fact that South Africa is still developing the same reputation and demand as these other regions. However, we can expect to see prices increase as wine lovers and collectors become more aware of these “best kept secrets in the wine world” wines and demand takes off.

Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River, Australia

Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River, Australia

Ageing Potential:

All four regions’ Cabernets have great ageing potential. Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is often more closely compared to Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon in this regard. Both regions’ Cabernets can age for several decades, with Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon developing a more complex flavour profile over time. If you can wait, these wines will absolutely reward your patience.

The Winemakers:

One of the key things that make Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon stand out is the attention to detail that goes into the winemaking process. The winemakers in this region are meticulous in their approach to crafting the perfect wine, from the selection of the grapes to the fermentation process, and through to the aging process. A local body, the Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective was formed recently to collaborate and promote Stellenbosch Cabernet collectively. As a result, it is no surprise that Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon receives a plethora of awards and accolades, both locally and on the world stage. If you are a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, you won’t be disappointed!

stellenbosch cabernet collective members

SCC members: Christo Le Riche ( Le Riche ), Abrie Beeslaar ( Kanonkop Wine Estate ) and JD Pretorius ( Warwick Wine Estate )

Did you know? Amongst the many leading Cabernet Sauvignon producers to be found in the Stellenbosch region, some notable recent accolades include:

  1. Kanonkop Wine Estate currently holds the Best Red Wine Producer Trophy 2022 from the International Wine & Spirits Competition (;
  2. Kanonkop ranked #15 most admired wine brand in the world (
  3. Le Riche Estate listed as best New World Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy Winner – Global Fine Wine Challenge 2021 (
  4. 5 producers, Delaire Graff, Kanonkop, Hartenberg, Reyneke & Stark-Conde are listed by Tim Atkin MW as South African equivalent First Growth Producers.
  5. Koelenhof Estate Stellenbosch 1679 Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon – 97 Points and Platinum medal, Decanter World Wine Awards

The growing interest in the wines of South Africa over the past few years, and specifically Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, has been amazing to see. This region’s ability to compete with some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world is a significant achievement for the South African wine industry and has helped to secure the region as a producer of world-class wines worthy of your attention.


  • Decanter Wine Awards
  • Global Fine Wine Challenge
  • Stellenbosch Cabernet Collective
  • Kanonkop Wine Estate
  • Warwick Wine Estate

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