Cabernet Sauvignon is certainly one of the most well-known red wine varietals available in the world today. Dating back to the early 17th century, this varietal is the love child of cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc. It is believed that two vineyards containing these varieties must have been planted side by side in Bordeaux and a natural cross between the two varieties occurred. It soon spread to the rest of Europe and eventually, the entire wine producing world!
Cabernet Sauvignon has always been a favorite of men but also for women who prefer more robust wines that have an ability to age well. Cabernet Sauvignon is noted for having more expressive tannins, dark fruit and almost cigar-box-like nose. Other flavours may be licorice, bell peppers and even nuances of mint.
A Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with full bodied red meat dishes such as meat stews and steaks, especially chargrilled. The more pronounced tannins match well with the maillard process or browning of meat under extreme heat such as when cooked on a griddle pan. The tannins also split fat off the tongue. Ultimately, it is the collective fuller body of this wine that allows it match fuller bodied dishes.
In the vineyard, the grape itself has a tougher character and withstands more extreme weather and terroir in warmer areas like South Africa, with 51 000 hectares under vine. It has done especially well where it experiences longer ripening periods due to proximity of the ocean, with cooling sea breezes or inland areas that are windier, allowing for slow complex, development of fruit. These breezes tame the warmer temperatures and allow the sugar levels to remain lower for longer. (Read my article on the relationship of sun, sugar and alcohol to get a better idea)
As a personal favourite, I enjoy it as a straight varietal, but it is used as blending component in Bordeaux and the world over for its structure lending properties. A Bordeaux blend from the wine producing region of the same name in France, just would not be the same without it!
Knowing the difference stylistically of how this varietal is made into wine helps understand its application. In old world wine regions such as France and other European countries, it has less of a fruit profile due to a cooler climate. Tobacco and earthy flavors dominate the dark fruit. This is due to the cooler climate and subsequently is the reason for it being used more as a blend component.
The wine ages well due to its inclusion of the 4 tenets of ageing when it comes to wines as discussed in a previous post. These are, tannin, acidity, sugar (still dry and less than 5 g per litre) and alcohol. A Cabernet Sauvignon certainly has higher proportions of these characteristics that allow it to age well. Age South African examples safely for up 7 years with some wines made to age even longer.
Boucheron Wines Stock a wide variety of Cabernet Sauvignon. Try ….