Varietal Series: Cabernet Sauvignon

Nov 16, 2023by Andrew Lowry

What is Cabernet Sauvignon and where does it come from?

Cabernet Sauvignon is a renowned grape variety that has captivated wine enthusiasts around the world. It originated in the 17th century in the Bordeaux region of France, where it was created as a result of a natural crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. This unique combination gave birth to a grape that would become one of the most widely planted and celebrated varieties in the world.

What are the most popular Cabernet Sauvignons in the world?

When it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon, several iconic wines have gained global recognition. Some of the most popular Cabernet Sauvignons include:

  • Château Lafite Rothschild (Bordeaux, France)
  • Opus One (Napa Valley, California)
  • Penfolds Grange (Barossa Valley, Australia)
  • Château Margaux (Bordeaux, France)
  • Inglenook (Napa Valley, California)

Where are the most famous regions for Cabernet Sauvignon?

While Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in many regions around the world, there are a few places that have become particularly famous for producing exceptional examples of this grape variety. These regions include:

  • Napa Valley, California
  • Bordeaux, France
  • Coonawarra, Australia
  • Maipo Valley, Chile
  • Tuscany, Italy

What is the flavor profile of Cabernet Sauvignon?

Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its bold and full-bodied character. It typically exhibits blackcurrant, blackberry, and plum flavors, along with hints of cedar, tobacco, and vanilla. The wine often has firm tannins and a long, lingering finish. It pairs well with rich, hearty dishes like grilled steak or roasted lamb.

Looking to try something different? Alternative grape varieties to explore

If you're looking to expand your wine horizons beyond Cabernet Sauvignon, several alternative grape varieties are worth exploring. Some options include:

  • Merlot: Known for its softer tannins and approachable style
  • Syrah/Shiraz: Offers a bold and spicy flavor profile
  • Malbec: Known for its dark fruit flavors and velvety texture
  • Cabernet Franc: Often used in Bordeaux blends, it offers a lighter and more herbaceous profile
  • Zinfandel: Known for its jammy fruit flavors and higher alcohol content

Top 10 wineries famous for their Cabernet Sauvignons

When it comes to producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignons, these wineries have established themselves as leaders in the industry:

  1. Château Montelena (Napa Valley, California)
  2. Château Mouton Rothschild (Bordeaux, France)
  3. Robert Mondavi Winery (Napa Valley, California)
  4. Penfolds (Barossa Valley, Australia)
  5. Château Haut-Brion (Bordeaux, France)
  6. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (Napa Valley, California)
  7. Château Latour (Bordeaux, France)
  8. Shafer Vineyards (Napa Valley, California)
  9. Château Palmer (Bordeaux, France)
  10. Joseph Phelps Vineyards (Napa Valley, California)

Grapes commonly confused with Cabernet Sauvignon

There are a few grape varieties that are commonly mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon due to their similarities in appearance and flavor. These include:

  • Cabernet Franc: As one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, it shares some similarities in flavor and structure.
  • Carmenere: Originally mistaken for Merlot, Carmenere has a similar flavor profile to Cabernet Sauvignon but with a distinctive herbal note.
  • Merlot: While Merlot is a distinct variety, it is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, leading to confusion.

Why is Cabernet Sauvignon so popular amongst Americans?

Cabernet Sauvignon's popularity among Americans can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, its bold and robust flavor profile appeals to those who enjoy full-bodied wines. Additionally, the grape thrives in regions like Napa Valley, California, where it has gained a strong reputation for producing high-quality wines. Lastly, the versatility of Cabernet Sauvignon allows it to pair well with a wide range of foods, making it a popular choice for many dining occasions.

Whether you're a seasoned wine enthusiast or just beginning to explore the world of wine, Cabernet Sauvignon offers a fascinating journey through its rich history, diverse flavors, and renowned wineries. Cheers to discovering the wonders of this exceptional grape variety!