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THE winter sun is slowly moving north from the tropic of Capricorn, and the coming weeks should see a lengthening of the days.

Yet it is likely to remain cold for some while, giving a yearning for some big red wine. The emperor of red wine grapes is the cabernet sauvignon, the backbone of the wines of many of the greatest wines of Bordeaux.

The vineyards where the sun is presently influencing the vintage are those of the southern hemisphere. Without exception cabernet sauvignon has been one of the most important grapes in the development of these 'new'' wine areas. But the style can be far removed from the traditional Bordeaux that showed strong tannins that took ages to soften.

The modern style of cabsauv, as it is known to its fans, shows far more fruit and softer tannins.

Cabernet sauvignon thrives throughout the vineyards of Chile. There is plenty on the market to sample the style, which will vary from the fruit driven to deeper and more complex with true claret character.

A good cabernet has a savoury edge with dense tannins, a deep colour, complex fruit aromas and a long finish that lingers on the palate.

Drink this with grilled winter lamb, or a rare steak and continue with full flavoured cheese such as Roquefort, Parmesan, or gouda. In Wales try Perl Las, Hafod Cheddar and Teifi Gouda.

Wine producer Torres in Chile farms the land of the Luis de Alico vineyards organically and employs biodynamic techniques. This means it follows the natural phases of the moon and developments of the seasons. The result is a harmonious array of wines that have real natural and typical varietal character.

Its wine for the Capricorn month is Las Mulas, a wine it considers perfect for winter drinking.

Other eminent producers who make serious style cabernet include Anekena, Yali, Errazurriz, Los Vascos, Rayuela, Cucao, Cousino Macul and Concha y Toro. It''s worth looking at the reserve wines that might cost a few pounds more, but will deliver amazing value for comforting the dark winter nights.

BEST BUYS Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon: Las Mulas, Torres PS8.99 Marques de Casa Concha, Puenta Alto, Concha y Toro PS10.65 Cousino Macul Antigas Reservas PS8.95 Cucao, Rapel Valley PS7.55
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jan 26, 2013
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