This grape was introduced to Austria in the 1980s – during the time when international varieties were taking over. Cabernet Sauvignon has been an approved Austrian Qualitätswein variety since 1986. Traditionally, the international Cabernet regions are still Bordeaux and California, but there are also others, such as Maremma in Italy.
Cabernet Sauvignon is popular as a monovarietal wine or blended in a cuvée. While it is not very demanding in terms of soil, location of the vineyard is paramount. Early-season, warm sites are necessary to avoid unripe, grassy wines. As a high-yielding variety, the volume of fruit needs restricting to produce good quality.
Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)
Characteristics of the wine
As a young wine, Cabernet Sauvignon has a dense, fruity bouquet, is somewhat rough on the palate and has noticeable tannins. As it ages, a good Cabernet Sauvignon gains delicate toasted aromas, as well as aromas of blackcurrant, liquorice and bell peppers. The wines need a longer time to develop, to allow the tannins to ripen. They only reach their peak after being left for a sufficient period of time. Maturing in small wooden casks is virtually a must as it complements the variety perfectly.
Source varietal specifications: Höhere Bundeslehranstalt und Bundesamt für Wein- und Obstbau (Federal College and Federal Office for Viticulture, Oenology and Fruit Growing) in Klosterneuburg, “Austria’s Qualitätswein grape varieties and their clones“ („Österreichische Qualitätsweinrebsorten und deren Klone“), 2nd, reviewed edition, September 2015
Source area under vine: Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism according to IACS (as at 31 May 2022)