Within Australia, Margaret River has a big reputation for Cabernet Sauvignon. And yet, they've always struck me (and many Americans) as wildly inconsistent. Some could charm with finesse and savory flavor profiles, but too often I found myself wrinkling my nose as excess herbal, weedy and vegetal notes obscured the fruit.
A three-day swing through the country's westernmost wine region with my colleague MaryAnn Worobiec last week demonstrated how much effort is going into Cabernet Sauvignon, and tasting after tasting showed impressive results. I found more fruit presence, and pleasure, in wines that retained a moderate sense of scale, seldom topping 14 percent alcohol.