The history and popularity of Cabernet Sauvignon
In the 17th century in south-western France, accidental breeding between Cabernet Franc grape and white Sauvignon Blanc grape occurred – the most popular grape wine was born, and they named it Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape single variety popular for its durable, thick structure and the vines have the properties of resisting the elements. After the discovery of the grape, the Cabernet Sauvignon variety started to be adopted in various parts of France by winemakers in search for more durable plants that can be grown easily, and the grape was produced abundantly in the region of Bordeaux.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
This type of wine can last for many years because it contains the type of grapes with a good level of tannins and it’s because of this why Bordeaux winemakers love Cabernet Sauvignon. Furthermore, the winemakers discovered that it responds well in oak, as the oak add new flavors on it with the result a full-bodied, tasty wine with a medium level of acidity that is perfect for drinking with food. Winemakers have also tried combining Cabernet Sauvignon with other grapes, like Merlot and produced the best-tasting wine blend in the world – the Bordeaux blend!
The popularity of Bordeaux wine blend and Cabernet Sauvignon grape continues. Because of its popularity more and more people are starting to grow the breed and some people even call Sauvignon as the great colonizer – at present, it is one of the most widely planted grapes around the world, until Merlot was introduced in the market.
The Popularity of Cabernet Sauvignon
The success of Cabernet Sauvignon does not stop in Bordeaux – it’s popularity really takes off when Californians started to plant the breed. Actually, in 1976, the production of Cabernet Sauvignon increases in the Napa Valley beating the top producer Bordeaux Chateaus in the blind taste test in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. From there the California Cabernet Sauvignon was launched, and people at steakhouses around the world started to order the wine.
Unique Characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon
The Cabernet Sauvignon wine is known for having a dark color, full-body and the alcohol content is more than 13.5%. The Cabernet produced in areas like Australia, Chile, and California has 14.5% alcohol content and sometimes can go over 15%!
This type of wine is dry and has a good amount of tannin, which makes your mouth dries out when you sip it and has a typical mouthfeel. Some people drinking Cabernet choose the one with green pepper taste, along with cassis, tobacco and dark fruits like cherries, a bit of vanilla that comes from the oak.
Cabernet Sauvignon Taste
This variety of grape can produce a full-bodied wine with prevalent acidity and strong tannins, which are factors that are responsible for the ability of the wine to age. In cooler regions, the Cabernet Sauvignon drinks may have slight mint and green pepper notes that become more evident over time. In more temperate climates, Cabernet Sauvignon will produce wines with dark blackberry and current taste, while in warmer areas this type of grape will produce powerful wines with jammy black fruit flavors.
Food Pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon
Because of the acidity, alcohol and tannins content of Cabernet Sauvignon wine, it needs to be drunk with food and all Cabernet is a wine that will taste better if drunk with a particular group of foods.
We all know that it is a versatile wine and pairing it with different foods is better. The robustness and flavor profile of Cabernet Sauvignon lets it stand up well against the complex and rich dishes such as ragout. The best match for this wine is red meat. Venison, tagliata or braised beef will also go well with the red wine, but pairing will depend on the simplicity of the steak – aside from these meats, chocolate and Coonawarra Cab also pair well with the wine!
If you are looking for the perfect match for a mature cheddar, the Cabernet Sauvignon is the best choice. The wine will taste well with other hard types of cheese. Manchego, Gruyere or a Red Cheshire will go well with this punchy red wine.
The Best Regions for Cabernet Sauvignon
Bordeaux is the most popular region for Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly the Left Bank. Another big Old World player for the grape industry in Tuscany. For the New World, California particularly Napa, played a significant role in the grape’s popularity. Regions in Chile, Washington State, and Southern Australia also have a significant role in the popularity of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Currently, Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most planted wine variety covering 341,000 hectares worldwide.
Here are the top Cabernet Sauvignon regions:
There are over 55,000 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon in France, which makes France the world’s largest producer of this variety. Most of the plantations are in its native region, Bordeaux. Furthermore, the variety is also quite present in the southwest part of the country, in particular, the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
California is the largest producer of Cabernet Sauvignon in the United States. The state of Washington is second with more than 20,000 hectares of this variety.
The 1976 Judgment of Paris wine tasting event was the turning point for the Californian Cabernet Sauvignons. It was during this competition that they took the world by surprise as they beat out renowned Bordeaux wines.
All the judges were wine experts from France, and all had to taste the wines blindfolded. Not just the Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, but the entire American wine industry received a massive boost.
Cabernet Sauvignon was welcomed with open arms in the United States. But that was not the case in Italy where there was a long-standing tradition of using only native varieties.
A small number of Tuscan winemakers decided to go against that tradition and planted the variety. The result was a mix of blends with the local varieties. Their wines were left out of the DOC classification system, but the market response was overwhelming. Their massive commercial success earned them the nickname the Super Tuscans.
Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia dates back to the 1800s. But it was during the 1970s when Australian Cabernet wines first started to make a mark on the local market. Most vineyards featuring this variety are in the Coonawarra region, Barossa Valley, Mclaren Vale, and Clara Valley, all located in South Australia. Then there are some located in Margaret River in West Australia.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the number one grape variety in Chile. Some vineyards are in the warmer valley regions, while others are in the cooler areas influenced by the Pacific Ocean. The cabernet sauvignon wine produced in Chile largely resembles the ones made in the Bordeaux region.
Malbec might be the wine mostly associated with Argentina, but the Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in great quantities. Most of the vineyards are at high altitudes in the Uco Valley.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted red wine in South Africa. Some of the best vineyards are located in the Stellenbosch region and Constantina near Cape Town.
China was once known as a great market for selling wine. Recently, China started investing in new vineyards. And as expected, most of the new vineyards are planting Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Sauvignon is as popular as Pinot Noir for being the world’s most famous grape varietal. The rivalry between the two continues for many years in France since Bordeaux and Burgundy are popular in producing red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are unique but accessible regarding palate and cost. The popularity of this type of grape wine is expected to continue for many years to come.