Wine Varieties

Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular grapes in the world. The grapes used in Cabernet Sauvignon make up the lion’s share of the some of the w…

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular grapes in the world. The grapes used in Cabernet Sauvignon make up the lion’s share of the some of the world’s most prestigious wines. Cabernet Sauvignon 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 France, in the region of Bordeaux. 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.

How to pronounce Cabernet Sauvignon

Sometimes winemakers and wine sellers will shorten Cabernet Sauvignon to Cabernet or simply Cab Sav.

Cabernet Sauvignon is considered by many to be the king of all grapes but it is not so formal when it comes to pronunciation. Cabernet is pronounced Cab-Er-Neigh and Sauvignon is pronounced So-Vin-Yon.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Characteristics of Cabernet wine

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 Cabernet Sauvignon with food

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 or 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.

Cabernet Sauvignon Dessert

Pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with cheese

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. Other Cabernet wines, blends such those from Bordeaux or Connawarra, need a cheese that will stand up to the big flavours in the wine. Gruyère, Manchego or a crumbly red Cheshire will match very well with the punchy big reds.

Notable regions for Cabernet wine

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow well in most regions be they warm or cool. The ancient terra rossa soils in the Coonawarra have a great bearing on the grapes and the area is renowned for producing striking Cabernet wines. Nappa Valley and Chile both have international reputations for producing excellent Cabernet wines.

The world’s most popular Cabernet Sauvignon wines are the blends from Bordeaux. 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.

Since the 1970s, Coonawarra has been producing the New World equivalent of traditional Cabernets. 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.

Notes on Cabernet wines

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.