January 13th, 2014
08:15 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

Thank you, University of Adelaide. It turns out that a researcher there, Professor Kym Anderson, has been engaged in a lengthy project analyzing the world’s grape-growing regions and has determined - among many, many other things - that Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted wine grape in the world.
 
Of course, there are variations by region; in Kazakhstan, for instance, Rkatsiteli is the most widely planted variety. In Thailand, somewhat mysteriously, it’s Syrah. But overall, Cabernet wins. Be glad. Twenty years ago the world’s most planted grape variety was a Spanish white grape called Airén, notable primarily for being incredibly bland.
 
And so, seeing as how there’s so much darn Cabernet in the world, a little advice about which ones to buy seems in order. Here are a few top bargains. (And, if you truly want to indulge your inner wine geek, Anderson’s wine-grape study is available for free as a PDF e-book.)

2013 Mulderbosch Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon ($10)
Rosé in winter? Cabernet rosé? From South Africa? Why not? Cabernet makes for a rosé with some oomph, ideal for cold weather, and Mulderbosch’s strawberry-floral bottling is a fantastic deal.
 
2012 Trivento Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($11)
Argentina’s Mendoza region is better known for Malbec, but it also produces impressive Cabernet, as this darkly spicy wine shows.
 
2011 Columbia Crest H3 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet ($15)
If you like your Cabernets bold and luscious, this Washington State wine is an ideal choice.
 
2012 Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
Bob and Jim Varner, who are known for their extremely good (and fairly pricey) Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, also make an affordable line of wines under the Foxglove label. Their Cabernet is a perennial steal.
 
2010 Heartland Cabernet Sauvignon ($16)
Star Australian winemaker Ben Glaetzer makes this black currant–rich Cabernet with fruit from the warm Langhorne Creek, southeast of Adelaide. (Note: The 2012, which should be in the US soon, is also terrific).

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soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Vine Vampire

    Thanks for the info!

    January 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  2. shakir ahmed

    http://www.referralduty.com/index.php?invite=140046
    Must register on this link please i need it...

    January 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  3. Candice Edwards

    I am a wine drinker and I thank you for your information on Vine grapes.

    January 15, 2014 at 6:55 am | Reply
  4. x rolet

    Sorry, the world's most widely planted varietal is Grenache, not Cabernet Sauvignon...and by a big margin. A common misconception, surprisingly endorsed by UofA

    January 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  5. vinolada

    Reblogged this on VINOLADA and commented:
    Thanks for sharing, I didn't know that! :)

    January 14, 2014 at 10:27 am | Reply
  6. Facts

    Very poor article. Rkatsiteli has nothing to do with Kazakhstan. It is a Georgian (country) wine and it means "red horn". That is where wine-making started. It is very popular all over Europe and Asia. Do some research before you just publish anything some idiot has to say.

    January 14, 2014 at 7:35 am | Reply
  7. pmmarion

    Give MD 20/20 any day... lol

    January 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  8. AleeD®

    Remind me please: at what point are you supposed to sniff the cork?

    January 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  9. cali girl

    Napa only....

    January 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • kamakiriad

      Don't believe everything you hear about Napa. Sonoma and the coast in the same region produce BETTER results because they have better soil. Napa has been great because the almost fanatical growers there have overcome challenging soil and let the superior weather has do the rest. That won't continue.

      Napa is wonderful, but it is not the only region in the world. Even in California, Temecula and Lodi are also producing superb Cabs. Washington State and Argentina also have some impressive Cabs. Of course, French Cabs have been grown for centuries and are the standard. Don't limit yourself.

      January 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Reply
      • bz

        I agree with you about Sonoma, Washington, and Argentina, but Temecula? Blechhh... I have never tasted a good wine from Temecula. I have tasted a few decent whites but never a red that was even passable.

        January 13, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Reply
        • Wine Lover

          Really BZ – you have never found a red you like in Temecula? Your tastes must be pretty low. I am a red fanatic and have tasted and enjoyed a variety of red from around the world, many at their wineries. I have found many of the Temecula red wines on par and in some cases surpass in all aspects of the 100s of reds I have enjoyed worldwide.

          January 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
  10. palintwit

    Test 1

    January 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • Tea Party Patriot

      * like *

      January 13, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  11. OldSchool

    Cabs are ok, but my favorite is Sangiovese!

    January 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Beavis

      I prefer to drive myself.

      January 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  12. Ms. Grammar

    By far, my favorite wine grape.

    January 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • RC

      I have to agree. I like plenty of others, but I always come back to Cab.

      January 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Reply

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