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McWilliam's Hanwood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Blend: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot
The wines made by McWilliam’s are more than just benchmark expressions of Australian winemaking. They are wines that draw on more than 135 years of experience, wines that tell a story of a family’s passion for winemaking.
Since the time Samuel McWilliam planted his first vines, the McWilliam family history has been closely intertwined with the stories of the New South Wales and Australian wine industries. From JJ McWilliam’s ambitious plan to pioneer Griffith as a wine region to more recent viticultural ventures in other parts of New South Wales, the McWilliam family has been a leader in the journey that has seen Australian wines move to the forefront of international respect and popularity. From humble beginnings, the family winery has continued to grow in size and stature. The knowledge, skill and passion that results from such a long family involvement in the Australian wine industry is the reason behind the quality and distinction of each bottle of wine produced by McWilliam’s.
A philosophy of excellence in winemaking has been the backbone of the family vision for over a century, with a particular emphasis on sourcing the finest fruit possible. The continued popularity and acclaim for the wines of McWilliam’s is testament to an unfaltering mission that has been carried from each generation to the next, like a family heirloom.
Today, McWilliam’s sources from vineyards in premium wine regions across New South Wales, including the Riverina, Hilltops, Tumbarumba and Orange. The family has honoured Samuel McWilliam’s faith in the value of the New South Wales land and climate by continuing to lead and further the growth of the local wine industry.
A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute labels, though both can certainly be found here. Australia has a grand winemaking history and some of the oldest vines on the planet, along with a huge range of landscapes and climates; it is impossible to make generalizations about Australian wine. Most regions are concentrated in the south of the country with those inland experiencing warm, dry weather, and those in more coastal areas receiving humid and tropical, or maritime weather patterns. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles.
Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety, typically producing bold, supple reds with sweet, jammy fruit and performing best in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Shiraz, and also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre (often locally referred to as Mataro) are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version, and Semillon is often utilized as its blending partner, or in the Hunter Valley, on its own to make complex, age-worthy whites. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen Muscat is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing, and there are a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.