You’d definitely have a favorite Cabernet Sauvignon in mind when it comes to red wine! No matter how little you know about wine, chances are you’ve heard of Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular red wine grape varieties around the globe – whether you’re dining out with friends or relaxing at home. It’s dry, versatile, and reliable.
Throughout this article, you will know some cool facts about Cabernet Sauvignon Wine, including where it comes from, what it tastes like, and how it’s made.
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So, Let’s uncover everything about this popular grape.
What is Cabernet Sauvignon?
A hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon is commonly known as “Cab” for short. Also known as Petit-Bouchet, Petit-Cabernet, and Sauvignon Rouge, the black-skinned Cabernet Sauvignon grape is renowned for its thick skin, resilience against the elements, and ability to proliferate in a variety of climates.
Almost every wine-producing country grows it under different climate conditions. Some of the most notable wine regions include France (Bordeaux), California (Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles), Washington state (Columbia Valley), Italy (Tuscany), Australia (Coonawarra), Chile (Maipo Valley), Argentina, South Africa, and New Zealand.
Testing Notes of Cabernet Sauvignon
The taste of the wine will vary depending on where the grape is grown and what was done with it. But in general, Cabernet Sauvignon has dark fruit flavors of blackcurrant (cassis), black cherry, blackberry with notes of green bell pepper, spice, tobacco, wood, and vanilla (from aging in oak barrels). No matter which wine region it grows in, Cabernet Sauvignon is dry and tends to be full-bodied with medium-to-high tannins and palpable acidity.
How is Cabernet Sauvignon Made?
Cabernet Sauvignon begins at the vineyard, where the grapes are harvested and pressed before being fermented. However, when it comes to Cab, the winemaker also decides whether it’s going to be a single varietal or blended wine. If it’s the latter, the wine producer will also determine whether the blending will be done before, during, or after fermenting.
If the wine is interrupted before fermentation finishes, there will be more residual sugar, resulting in a sweeter wine. If the winemaker allows fermentation to run its course, it will be a drier wine with lower sugar content.
Blended Cabernets are made by fermenting and aging the grape varieties separately and then combining them prior to bottling. Likewise, many wine producers will let the fermentation or aging process occur in oak barrels, which imparts those signature woody flavors that give Cabernet Sauvignon its distinct notes of vanilla, wood, and spice.
No matter if it’s a blended or single-varietal Cabernet, this complex red usually clocks in at least 13.5% alcohol content, which is higher than the average glass of wine at 12%.
Popular Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Blends
Many varietal wines are blended with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Here are some of the most popular combinations:
- Cabernet Franc
- Petit Verdot
- Syrah (Shiraz)
How to Enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon
While it’s not a keen on strict rules about how to enjoy wine, there are some practical tips and techniques you can use to help make the most of your wine-drinking experience. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when opening your next bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, including the ideal temperature for serving and tasty food pairings.
When serving Cabernet Sauvignon, follow the basic guidelines for the best wine temperature. Common knowledge once dictated that room temperature is ideal for serving red wine, but the truth is that it’s too warm. To avoid a soupy, bitter, and overly alcoholic glass of Cab, serve it just a bit cooler than room temp at about 60-65 degrees.
As with other full-bodied red wines, chill Cabernet Sauvignon wine in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour before opening. You can then decant it or let it sit in the bottle to breathe for 10 minutes before serving.
The robust flavor and rich tannin content in Cabernet Sauvignon make it a perfect partner for nearly all grilled meats, peppery sauces, and richly flavored dishes. Some ideal wine pairings include New York strip steak, filet mignon, short ribs, Korean-style beef, rack of lamb, hamburgers, salami, and pepper-crusted ahi tuna. For meatless pairings, you can’t go wrong with grilled vegetables, including portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and peppers.
When it comes to cheese pairings, look for a firm-textured, complex cheese that stands up to Cab’s long finish and rich flavor. Aged cheddar, Gouda, and Gruyere are all good choices. For dessert, pick up on Cabernet Sauvignon’s dark fruit flavors and spicy notes with blackberry, cherry, or blueberry pie, or any dark chocolate treat.
Cabernet Sauvignon Health Benefits
In 2006, a study conducted at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai showed that resveratrol, a compound in red wine, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Cabernet Sauvignon wine (in moderate quantities) can reduce the compounds that attack the brain cells that cause Alzheimer’s.
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