Oh, Cabernet, Cabernet. The source of the most age-worthy, sophisticated and structured wines on the planet. It’s easy to see why Cabernet is the king of red grapes.
The world of wine is complex. With so many grape varieties, wine styles and producing countries, there’s always a lot to learn, and what better place to start than with the larger-than-life Cab? Let’s take a closer look at this prestigious French grape. Where does it come from, how does it taste like, and how to pair it with dinner. Stick your nose deep into that wine glass and let’s get started!
What’s Cabernet Sauvignon All About?
Cabernet Sauvignon is a French grape grown in the acclaimed region of Bordeaux. It’s the birth-child of the herbal Cabernet Franc and the tangy Sauvignon Blanc, but its fame has surpassed that of its parents.
Cabernet is a structured red grape. It has lots of tannins, the tiny particles that cause a drying sensation on the palate. These tannins are also responsible for the long lives Cabernet wines enjoy. Often blended with its trustworthy stable-mates Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most important grape on what is often called the Bordeaux blend.
The gnarly Cabernet vines are quite resistant, meaning they thrive almost everywhere. This has made passionate producers worldwide plant the sturdy grape everywhere from the US to Chile and from South Africa to Australia.
What Does Cabernet Sauvignon Taste Like?
Cabernet Sauvignon has distinct aromas reminiscent of black currants and undergrowth: scents often redolent of tobacco leaves, mint, or forest floor. Since Cabernet Sauvignon wines always spend from a couple of months to a few years in oak barrels, the wine also gains Oak spices — cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and vanilla.
On the palate, Cabernet shows its noble charm. Grippy tannins and a thick, coating palate are the grape’s signature, which resolves in the longest aftertaste in the realm of fine wine. As the wine evolves, the tannic structure mellows, and the bouquet unfolds marvelously, revealing exciting scents of leather, cedar and much more.
How to Pair Cabernet Sauvignon With Food?
One of the most successful food and wine pairing strategies is matching the wine and the recipe by weight. Cabernet being one of the most structured and bold wines around, it’s only natural to pair it with big, bold dishes of great flavor intensity. Tannins are also fabulous to counter fat in the food.
Charcoal-grilled steaks, smoked brisket, duck confit and hearty sausages are lovely with Cabernet. Grilled veggies are excellent complements as well. Basically, everything kissed by smoke and fire will be on par with the noble grape.
Keep in mind New World Cabarets, like those found in America and Australia, will be richer and bolder than the most discrete and structured European examples.
Stocking Your Wine Cellar With Some Cab?
There’s no doubt Cabernet Sauvignon is here to stay. From everyday wines to contemplative collector’s pieces, the wine grape can do it all. It comes as no surprise that it’s not only the most planted wine grape in the world, but also the most sought after.
Whether it’s a mono-varietal Cab or a gorgeous Cabernet-based blend, whether it comes from the Old or the New World, Cabernet hardly disappoints, so get a few bottles of Cabernet and stock your wine cellar. Seeing these beauties evolve through time is one of the wine lover’s greatest pleasures.
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