“I can certainly see that you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret.”

Basil Fawlty

Go on, be honest, when was the last time you picked a bottle of Australian cabernet off the shelf? Cab Merlot or Cab Shiraz perhaps, but Cabernet on its own seems to have fallen out of favour with the public these days, which is such a shame as it really is the undisputed king of Australian wines.

It’s also one of Australia's oldest grape styles with plantings dating back to the early reign of Queen Victoria, which is kind of strange when we still refer to it as the New World in the wine trade. Cabernet’s spiritual home is of course, Bordeaux, but to the best of my knowledge, it has never produced a single varietal wine there, despite providing the backbone for some of the finest wines in the world. Personally, for me, it’s a dead heat between Australia and California these days for the world's best cabernets, but if you add price into the equation then the land down under takes the crown by a long mile.

Margaret River in the west produces a classy, cold fruit style, very similar in many ways to the top end clarets, while the Coonawarra is like a posh red light district for the grape with nothing left to the imagination and plenty of sexy cassis flavours within easy tempting reach. If you want something in between, then Victoria and McClaren Vale are the regions to aim for, with silky fruits and soft tannins. I guess I'm a tart when it comes to cabernet though as I've no memory of tasting one I really didn't like, but perhaps my habit of avoiding three for a tenner offers helps in that respect.

So, what should you look for in a decent cabernet? Definitely blackcurrants, quite often chocolate and herbs, particularly mint, and of course in the really classy ones the holy grail of cabernet (for me at any rate) a cigar box aroma on the finish. Here's a couple to tempt the fussiest palates!

Sexy Beast Cabernet, Australia

Quite simply a stunning wine. Earthy without being dry, with rich generous tannins, lashings of cassis and hints of mocha and mint. Life is too short not to!

Majestic £21.99 or £18.99 in a mixed six

Longview Devil’s Elbow, Cabernet, Australia

If there was such a thing as a benchmark Aussie cabernet then this would be it. Rich powerful cassis fruits, hints of mint and a toasty vanilla finish. A stunner on its own but electrifying with roast lamb or a sirloin steak.

Oddbins £18.50