The Wine Profile Series: Cabernet Sauvignon
The most famous red wine in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon, is a Bordeaux-grown organic hybrid of Cabernet France and Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon is beloved for high concentration and ability to age.
- Black Cherry
- Black Currant
- Stewed fruit
- Medium to full bodied
- High tannins
- Medium acidity
- 11% – 15% ABV
- Age worthy
How to serve:
60-68 ° F /15-20 ° C
Bordeaux glass, slightly larger and taller than a standard glass
This depends on the wine. Younger wines benefit from a longer decanting, and can be decanted and hour or two before serving. Older wines are often more fragile, and are better with a smaller decanting time of 10-30 minutes.
Cabernet Sauvignon’s intense flavor and high tannin content make it perfect for roasted or grilled meat, and other rich, high-fat dishes.
Cabernet Sauvignon Notes:
Because Cabernet Sauvignon is grown all over the world, the aromas and taste can vary depending on where the grapes are grown. In general, colder climate Cabernets show more black current, cedar, and even green bell pepper notes, while warmer climates show fruitier aromas like black cherry and blackberry jam. The quantity of young wood utilised might also affect the fragrances. The flavors and aromas oak give to the wine include vanilla, tobacco, and baking spice.
Here are some of the best Cabernet-producing areas and how they taste:
- Fig paste, blackberry, black cherry, green peppercorn, and baking spices some of the greatest Cabernet Sauvignons for the money are from Chile.
- While many wines from Chile’s enormous Central Valley have been exported, the greatest Cabernet is produced in the Aconcagua, Maipo, Cachapoal, and Colchagua Valleys.
North Coast, California
- How they taste: black cherry, blackberry, dark fruit jam, tobacco, mint
- Many great Cabernet Sauvignon is made in the North Coast AVA (American Viticulture Area), including the areas of Napa Valley, Sonoma, and a few less significant regions. The best wine reviewers in France participated in a blind tasting of French and California wines in 1976, which was organised by an English wine dealer. The California wines won, and it was later dubbed ‘The Judgement of Paris,’ proving that great wine can be made outside of France, and paving the way for Cabernet to become one of the top varietals in the region.
- Black plum, dark fruit jam, white pepper, currant hard candies, chocolate, and bay leaf make up their flavour.
- The Coonawarra region in South Australia is defined by hot weather and clay soil (called ‘terra rossa’) with a red color from the high iron-oxide content. Along with Langhorne Creek, this region is famous for its extraordinary (and unique) expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines have substantial depth, firm tannins, and distinguishing flavours of bay leaf or white pepper. Under the screw cover, premium Australian Cabernet bottles are frequently found. So, don’t discriminate based on the top of the bottle!
- How they taste: blackberry, black cherry, fig paste, baking spices, green peppercorn
- Chile offers some of the best value Cabernet Sauvignons. While many wines from Chile’s enormous Central Valley have been exported, the greatest Cabernet is produced in the Aconcagua, Maipo, Cachapoal, and Colchagua Valleys.
- The location of the Maipo Valley between the cooling of the Pacific and the hot, incoming Andes Mountains makes one of the most perfect Mediterranean climates. You can find the highest quality Maipo wines from Alto Maipo’s sub-region.
Fun facts about Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Sauvignon is naturally hardy, resistant to many diseases, and the berries have thick, protective skins. This makes Cabernet Sauvignon relatively easy to grow, contributing to its popularity around the world.
- Two UC Davis researchers named Carole Meredith and John Bowers shocked the world in 1997. They discovered that Cabernet Sauvignon was the product of a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. The leaves of Sauvignon Blanc indeed look similar to the vines of Cabernet Sauvignon. Before this research was released, no one thought it was possible a red grape could come from a white grape parent.
- In Bordeaux it is common to blend Cabernet Sauvignon with many other red grapes including Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
- Bordeaux’s Cabernet Sauvignon can contain the presence of a fragrant compound that is also found in green bell peppers (called methoxypyrazine), giving the wine a similar bell pepper aroma.
Dates for the diary:
August 30th is Cabernet Sauvignon Day
Want to read more? Try these books!
- Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. Jancis Robinson 2012
- Wine. Years. People. Events. Massandra Wine Collection 2010
- The World Atlas of Wine: 8th Edition. Johnson, H & Robinson, J. 2019