Shiraz vs Cabernet Sauvignon

Shiraz vs Cabernet Sauvignon

There is no doubt about it that Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are amongst the most famous grape varieties in the world. They are both thick skinned red grapes, showing intense hues and producing bold and flavoursome wines. In a blind tasting, an amateur might not be able to tell the two apart. Below is an essential guide to help you learn about the major differences between these two vibrant red varieties.


Shiraz (or Syrah) has an extensive and well-documented history of the Rhone region of France and is believed to be an offspring of two different grapes – Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche.

The origins of Cab Sauv (fondly called the ‘Prince of Grapes’) were discovered incredibly late, in 1996. It was found out that this robust grape was an offspring of two famous varieties – Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Australian Wine Regions

The most popular destination for the growth of Shiraz grapes is the lush and revered Barossa Valley. Margaret River, Hunter Valley, McLaren Vale and Heathcote are also favourable Shiraz growing regions.

For planting Cabernet Sauvignon, the cold climate region of Coonawarra takes the crown. It is also widely grown in Yarra Valley, Langhorne Creek, and Clare Valley.


The high and intense Shiraz wines usually give off spicy, peppery, meaty and smoky aromas.

Cab Sauv wines, on the other hand, mostly exude fragrances of cassis, blackberry, mint, and leather.


Shiraz wines are known for a rich and juicy mid palate.

Cabernet Sauvignon varietals are dominant on the front as well as the finish but have a relatively round mid palate.

Aussie winemakers found the solution to this by crafting the beloved Shiraz Cabernet blend, wherein the vibrancy of Shiraz fills the middle palate hole of Cabernet.

Grape Structure

Shiraz has large sized berries, with light green leaves.

In contrast, Cabernet Sauvignon has smaller sized berries with dark green foliage.

So, put your recently gained knowledge to the test, and organize a blind tasting of some fabulous Aussie Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz Cabernet wines.


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The Wines E-store, We blog about Wines.

This season, the Just Wines blog will showcase a series of historic posts from the Australia's Wine Industry.