Wine 101: Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular red wine grapes in the world. One of the most fascinating aspects about the grape is that it is not bound by terroir as much as other grape varietals are. Therefore, it is found in almost all wine growing regions. It is known for its late ripening characteristics.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc and was born in Bordeaux. The original crossing of the two grapes is estimated to have taken place in the 17th century. For the longest time, the grape was known as Petite Vidure.
Nose: Dark berry fruits like blackcurrants, blackberry, herbs and grass, pencil, bell pepper, licorice, vanilla, mint or eucalyptus.
Taste: Cabernet Sauvignon wines are savory in nature. They have good and structured tannins with medium acidity levels. Depending on where the grapes are grown wines will display herbaceous, spicy or fruit notes on the palate.
Meats like steaks, lamb, duck, etc, goes very well with Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich and heavy sauces also compliment the wine. In Indian cuisine, it will go well with aromatic kebabs and dishes which are not pungent and greasy, Galowti Kebab, Dal Makhni, Tandoori Chicken are some dishes which will work well with the wine.
Bordeaux, France; Napa Valley, USA; Coonawara, Australia; Maipo Valley, Chile and even Nasik and Bangalore in India.
- Cabernet Sauvignon genetic structure was found only in 1997 even though the grape has been around since 1700s.
- Ladybugs can affect the taste of Cabernet Sauvignon wines, its called the ladubug taint. This happens when the vineyard is infested with the insect and they are added to the fermenting wines by mistake.
- Herbaceous or green bell pepper notes in the wine is because of compound known as pyrazine.
- Even though it is a grape from Bordeaux, very few producers make straight Cabernet Sauvignon wines, most of them are blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc also known as the Bordeaux blend.
Cabernet Sauvignons you should try:
Miguel Torres Hemisferio
Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, this wine has fruits and spices as its primary notes which are given depth and structure by earthy notes of leather and licorice.
York Cabernet Sauvignon
From India, this wine is perfect example of the herbaceous qualities of a Cabernet Sauvignon, think grass and capsicum. This is balanced by the red fruit notes.
Charosa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Another Indian Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine offers complex notes of ripe fruits and olives, eucalyptus and chocolate.
Chateau De Parenchere Cuvee Raphael
This is not a straight Cabernet Sauvignon but it has characteristics which are highlights of the grape variety like the elegant and structured tannin. Merlot in the blend adds to the fruit notes of the wine.
Featured Image – Pessac Leognan, Chateau Olivier, Bordeaux, France (Courtesy: Counseil Interproffesionnel Du Vin De Bordeaux/ Francois Ducasse)