Cabernet Sauvignon – the “king” of the world’s red wine grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon originated in the Bordeaux region of France, but also produces fantastic wines around the globe, including north and South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a late-ripening variety, with small, deeply coloured, think skinned berries that yield dark, intensely flavoured, tannic, long lived wines that often require years of ageing to soften and become drinkable.
These deep dark wines can offer a range of complex aromas and concentrated flavours from blackberries, creme de cassis, black cherries, boysenberry, blueberry and chocolate when young, to fragrances of tobacco, truffle, cedar wood, earth, lead pencil shavings and leather when mature.
When the grapes are not fully ripe, distinct notes of green pepper or olives can be found.
Cabernet also profits from blending with other complimentary grape varieties such as the softer, fruitier merlot and the highly perfumed Cabernet franc (both of these are customarily blended in Bordeaux)
These wines contain lots of tannin (poly phenol naturally found in the skin, seeds and stems of the grape.) which make Cabernet Sauvignon wines the slowest to mature. It needs ageing in oak and bottle. French oak departs a vanilla character in the whine while American oak will usually give a more coconut/cedar quality.
Cabernet Sauvignon wines have the ability to age for decades when grown in good soils and allowed ample time to ripen. These often hard and monochromatic wines when young, with extended ageing can develop fine, complex aromas and flavours, making excellent long lived wines.
The quality of these wines can be such that the first growth estates of chateau Mouton Rothschild and château Latour are noted for regularly producing wines which are usually 75% Cabernet Sauvignon. Can’t get better than that!
Enjoy some delicious Cabernet Sauvignon wines that range in style and quality, and here’s a quick food match guide for each main cab. sav. Growing region:
Bordeaux: Classic blackcurrant – match with beef, lamb, duck, goose and aromatic cheeses.
Pays D’oc & Provence: France’s Ripest example, usually herby and well structured – match with garlicky, herb strewn red meat dishes and game.
USA: Powerfully fruity, oaky and tannic. Blackcurrant with a touch of eucalyptus – match with full flavoured dishes. Meaty casseroles and marinaded grills.
Australia: ripe and succulent Cabernets with coonawarra noted for its mint tinged quality – match with liver, beef and lamb.
Chile & Argentina: Deep complex flavours beneath cassis fruit with some spicy and chocolate character – match with full flavoured beef dishes.
South Africa: Robust, tarry, tannic flavours – match with rustic stews and BBQ meats.
Eastern Europe: Bulgarian, Moldovan and Romanian versions of Cabernet Sauvignon can be excellent value, vivid fruit and cedar tobaccoey style – match with anything from sausage to lasagne.