What is Cabernet Sauvignon Wine?
Cabernet Sauvignon, or informally Cab Sav, is one of the most popular grapes in the world. The grapes used in Cabernet Sauvignon make up the lion’s share of some of the world’s most prestigious wines. It is perhaps most famous for being the main varietal used in the Cabernet wines from Bordeaux in France. Grown in every major wine producing country in the world, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is influenced by soil and climate. Regional characteristics can be very present in the wine.
Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon can be found in the region of Bordeaux, France. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with other grape varietals. In Bordeaux, the varietals used to produce the region’s famous wines include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Australian winemakers blend these grapes to make various Cabernet red wines. These Cabernet wines are high quality and very popular and include blends such as Cabernet Merlot and Cabernet Shiraz.
Common Cabernet Sauvignon Wine characteristics
Although each region leaves a distinctive mark on the Cabernet Sauvignon wines they produce, there is a core of consistent notes present in the wines from all regions. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most distinguishable grape varieties.
The typical characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon wine are aromatics and fruit. These make the wine readily identifiable to any level of wine enthusiast. There are also robust, dark fruit characteristics of blackcurrant, cassis and mulberry. Herbal, minty or briary notes in younger wines can be found and a prevalence of cigar box, earth or chocolate in both aroma and palate.
Pairing food with Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon is a versatile wine and pairs well with different foods. The flavour profile and robustness of Cabernet Sauvignon allows it to stand up well against rich and complex dishes like ragout. Red meat is a natural match for Cabernet Sauvignon. Braised beef, venison or a tagliata all go well, but pairing approaches perfection with the simplicity of a steak. Main meats aside Cabernet Sauvignon pairs very well with chocolate and the richness of Coonawarra Cab won’t be amiss next to a slice of Black Forest cake.
To find a perfect match for a mature cheddar and red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is the obvious choice. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with many hard types of cheese with lots of character. Gruyère, Manchego or a crumbly red Cheshire will match very well with the punchy big reds.
Notable Cabernet Sauvignon Wine regions
The ancient terra rossa soils in the Coonawarra have a great bearing on the grapes and the area has been renowned for producing striking Cabernet wines since the 1970's. While the region is perhaps best known for blockbuster Shiraz, the climate and soil suits Cabernet Sauvignon grapes just as well. Cabernet wine from Coonawarra, such as those from Yalumba, Parker Estate, Leconfield, Bowen, Wynns and The Ridge are typically more robust, savoury and traditional. Whereas the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the Margaret River, such as those from Moss Wood, Cullen, Cape Mentelle, Voyager, Vasse Felix and The Gallows are more elegant, fruit forward and powerful.
Napa Valley, USA and Chile, Argentina both have international reputations for producing excellent Cabernet wines. The world’s most popular Cabernet Sauvignon wines are the blends from Bordeaux, France. Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine from this region can use up to 90% of the varietal such as those of Mouton Rothschild.
The future of Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon goes head-to-head with Pinot Noir as the world’s most popular grape varietal. In France, this rivalry is centuries old with the grape varietals being predominant in the famous reds from Bordeaux and Burgundy. Coonawarra and Margaret River produce some of the best Cab Savs Australia has to offer. Cabernet wines are distinctive yet accessible in terms palate and cost. A bottle of Cabernet wine is just as at home in the cellars of finest restaurants as it is on a picnic table at a barbecue and will continue to be for some time.