Cabernet Sauvignon is the premier red wine grape variety in the world - it is nicknamed "the king of red wine grapes". Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape in the Bordeaux region of France and has spread to every other major growing region from Italy, Canada, south America, south Africa, Australia and New Zealand to name a few. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape produces distinctive wines that are tannic and can have long aging potential. It is usually blended with other red varieties like; Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec to make wines with increased complexity and character.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a small, dark, thick skinned grape that gives average yields, and is a late-ripening variety. It needs slightly warmer growing conditions than many other red varieties in order to achieve physiological ripeness. Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in Bordeaux, south-western France.
Cabernet Sauvignon taste characteristics: dark cherry, cedar, tobacco, black currant, cool climate growth can give green pepper or olive notes on the nose. Lengthy aging in small oak barrels before bottling is common for Cabernet Sauvignon in order to achieve more complexity.
Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation - the grapes have thick skins, this contributes to the grapes notoriously high tannin levels, which soften and smooth with aging. The vines are also hardy and resistant to rot and frost - and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ('typicity') of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions.
When you think of the finest red wines in the world, you are often thinking of wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon.