Cabernet Sauvignon is powerfully structured wine and perhaps no red grape is as revered as Cabernet Sauvignon. It makes some of the most coveted wines in the world, and its wines can fetch thousands of dollars per bottle. Cabernet can be elegant. It can be rustic. It can be ordinary, or it can be profound. Though France grows a huge number of grape varieties worth drinking, the one variety that everyone must try is Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon Flavour Profile

Cabernet is big, dry, and tannic. It makes wines that can age gracefully for decades, and it provides depth and structure when it’s blended with other grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon typically shows flavors of blackberry, black cherry, licorice, tobacco, cocoa, and green bell pepper. It can also display notes of leather, graphite, and cedar.

Fully ripened Cabernet Sauvignon is an extraordinary balance of fruit, tannin, and acidity, and when consumed young, Cabernet can be slow to open up in the glass. Aging softens Cabernet’s hard edges and transforms youthful exuberance into smooth elegance. Though Cabernet tends to be a big wine, you can find a range of styles – from elegant and restrained, to over-the-top, jammy fruit bombs.

French Wine Regions

Cabernet Sauvignon is king of Bordeaux. The blends in Bordeaux from the left bank, south of the Gironde and Dordogne rivers, are dominated by Cabernet. If you’re looking for Cabernet-heavy Bordeaux, seek out the appellations of Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, and Saint-Estèphe. Most Bordeaux are blended wines, and the other grape varieties you’ll find are Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Bordeaux contains the majority of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings in France.

Other regions that grow Cabernet Sauvignon are Bergerac, Languedoc, and the Loire Valley. Many of these wines don’t achieve the concentration of flavour and elegance of Bordeaux, but a number of lovely, everyday Cabernets are produced. 

Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is a big, sturdy wine, and it pairs best with flavourful foods. A grilled steak, roast beef, and hearty autumn stews are all ideal choices. Cabernet’s flavours work well with black olives and also with tomato-based sauces. Cabernet can also work with aged cheeses, and some people enjoy pairing dark chocolate with a fine Cabernet Sauvignon.

Video Guide to Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine


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