Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Cabernet Sauvignon

cab_dec2018.jpgFull disclosure: In my wine journey, I did not take immediately to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Like most of us, I “started sweet” and gradually worked my way through dry whites, lighter reds, and then finally bolder reds — such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

But once I experienced all that Cabernet has to offer, from its enticing aromas to its palate-satiating “weight” to its engaging mix of flavors to its long and flavor-packed finish, I was hooked.

After that, I did what I always do when I become interested in something: I became obsessed with learning about it. Following are just a few of the things that I discovered. They are far from “everything” one could want to know about Cabernet Sauvignon, as the headline suggests… but they certainly are interesting…

  • Many wine grapes are “marriages” of two other varieties, and in the case of Cabernet Sauvignon, its parents are Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc — yes, a white variety.
  • Merlot is a “half-brother” of Cabernet Sauvignon — a brother of another mother, one might say. That’s why it shares many of the aromas and flavors of Cabernet, and why the two often are confused in blind tastings.
  • More acreage worldwide is committed to Cabernet Sauvignon than to any other variety — well over 700,000 acres. Strongholds include the Bordeaux appellation of France and California’s Napa Valley.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon contributes to many of the most coveted cuvees on Earth. These include:

* The red blends of Bordeaux (known as Claret in Great Britain) — blended with various combinations of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

* Super Tuscans — blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and/or Syrah.

* CMS wines — blended with Merlot and Syrah, a concept embraced by vintners in numerous wine regions.

* Australian — blended with Syrah, which in the land Down Under is known as Shiraz.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon is built to age. For those who have the patience, an eight- to 10-year-old Cabernet can provide drinking pleasure like no other. The variety can be aged even longer and takes on various traits with each passing year.
  • Today, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Finally, something that may be a bit of a surprise: Cabernet Sauvignon has become one of the most important varieties in China. Simply because of its massive population, China has become the world’s largest consumer of red wine. The country has been trying to grow Cabernet Sauvignon for several years now with mixed results thus far.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon. Once you start drinking it on a regular basis, you’ll want to learn even more.

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