Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s favourite red wine grape, and not without good reason! Thought to descend from a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in the 17th century, this grape varietal produces age-worthy wines with concentrated flavours, and is now celebrated via its own special day, International Cabernet Sauvignon Day, on 30th August every year. Originally hailing from Bordeaux in France, where it is almost always used as part of a blend in the prestigious wines of the region, it is now grown copiously all over the world. California probably leads the way when it comes to single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon wines, with Chile and Australia reliably producing large quantities of easy-drinking ‘Cab-Sav’, and some very interesting bottles coming out of lesser-known wine producing countries such as Bulgaria, Lebanon and Israel. China is also investing heavily in planting Cabernet Sauvignon, and, to a lesser extent, Merlot – one to watch in the coming years…
What does Cabernet Sauvignon taste like? As you may expect from a wine produced in such a variety of geographical and climatic conditions, Cabernet Sauvignon wines can vary widely in terms of their characteristics and quality, making a single taste description almost impossible. However, the grape itself is characterised by a particularly thick skin which is very rich in tannins. Handled well, this can result in wines with great depth of structure and concentration of flavour which can handle lengthy ageing as the tannins mature and evolve. Younger Cabernet Sauvignon wines, or those whose grapes have been harvested on the early side, can present ‘green’ aromas, such as olive or green pepper, thanks to a group of aromatic compounds known as pyrazines in the fruit. More mature exemplars present a ‘darker’ profile, rich in black fruit and chocolate early on, and with time settling to woody notes with hints of tobacco and leather for example. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are dry, present medium acidity, and can range in alcohol content from a modest 13.5% to a powerful 15.5%! Whatever the case, Cabernet Sauvignon wines are certainly no shrinking violets: these are bold, flavour-forward wines which reward unhurried sampling.
What are the classic Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings? Due to its reasonably high tannin content, Cabernet Sauvignon wines are the ideal match for foods that are high in protein and fat content, as the tannins bind to these substances on your tongue and make for a smoother overall gastronomic experience! A top-notch steak or some premium sausages would be a perfect partner for your Cabernet Sauvignon, as would a mushroom stroganoff or a plate of aged cheeses for example. Savoury, charred flavours bring out the peppery notes of the wine to perfection, and umami flavours ensure its fruitiness is perceptible over its more tannic aspects.
Here at Tannico, we bring you a carefully curated collection of some of the very best exemplars of this immensely popular red wine, from some of the largest and most established producers worldwide but also a sprinkling of very exciting newcomers. From a classic French Haut-Médoc wine, such as that produced by Château de Lamarque for example, to a single varietal Israeli offering in the form of “Gamla”, from the Golan Heights Winery, enjoy an oenological journey of discovery through the world of Cabernet Sauvignon, and prepare to be astounded by the infinite incarnations of this delicious wine.