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3 cracking cabernets

When the weather turns cool, it's time to crack a red and sip in front of the open fire. Here are three cabernets we've enjoyed recently.

Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

The little brother to the Estate cabernet which comes with a far more hefty asking price. Don't worry, there's nothing second-class here, it's a delight. The night we tried this it came after a wine that hadn't measured up - and this dazzled in comparison. Lashings of dark currant flavour, full and satisfying, some cedar notes, a leafy-tobacco character to it too, tannins fine and ripe. Everything is in check. Like its big brother, it can cellar, but this guy is right to go now. Bold, mouth-filling flavours and a lot of wine for sub-$30.

Heartland Directors Cut Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

I like Heartland when I'm in the mood for a full-bodied red. They have a happy knack of giving me all the oomph I want yet still being an easy drink - a wine that slides down. Langhorne Creek fruit - no surprise there, somehow the Creek is always immediately approachable. Dark fruit, edging towards the inky side of things, layered, some dark chocolate and spice, oak noticeable but happily supportive ... yep I like it. A cold night, the open fire and the footy on television didn't hurt either. $33

Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

I raved about the Wynns Black Label recently... well here's another Coonawarra cabernet you can put up there - Leconfield. On this evidence the Coonawarra 2014s are outstanding. The back label says the 2014 vintage was a hot one with bold flavours. They've got that right, but it hasn't come at a cost. The wine is balanced, and classy - and at the price, a really good buy. Big flavours of blackcurrant and cassis, very fine tannins, a lick of spice, impressive length, cedary oak. For me, this is Leconfield in absolutely top form. $35