Like a young Barolo or Bordeaux, California Cabernet can be dense and tannic in youth. The consensus has traditionally been that they need cellar time to become more approachable, but more and more people are drinking these wines when they are still in their infancy.
Modern viticultural and winemaking practices have helped to make this a possibility, with a trend towards lowering yields to increase concentration, and micro-oxygenation techniques softening tannins. The muscular Californain Cabernets of the previous two decades are beginning to give way to more modern, elegant styles.
Our list below focusses on the latter – more accessible, elegant styles of Cab that will complement rather than overpower your Christmas dinner. Try pairing them with rare red meat or strong, hard cheeses.