Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon
Grape (Vitis)
Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Hedge Vineyards.jpg
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes
Color of berry skinBlack
Also calledBouchet, Bouche, Petit-Bouchet, Petit-Cabernet, Petit-Vidure, Vidure, Sauvignon Rouge
Notable regionsBordeaux, Tuscany, Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Australia, Margaret River, South Africa, Friuli, British Columbia, Canada
Notable winesClassified Bordeaux estates, Californian cult wines
Ideal soilGravel
HazardsUnderripeness, powdery mildew, eutypella scoparia, excoriose
VIVC number1929
Wine characteristics
GeneralDense, dark, tannic
Cool climateVegetal, bell pepper, asparagus
Medium climateMint, black pepper, eucalyptus
Hot climateJam

Cabernet Sauvignon (French: [kabɛʁnɛ soviɲɔ̃]) is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Australia and British Columbia, Canada to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France and Spain, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California's Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Napa Valley, New Zealand's Hawke's Bay, South Africa's Stellenbosch region, Australia's Margaret River, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra regions, and Chile's Maipo Valley and Colchagua. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990s.[1] However, by 2015, Cabernet Sauvignon had once again become the most widely planted wine grape, with a total of 341,000 hectares (3,410 km2) under vine worldwide.[2]

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 southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation—the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects—and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ("typicity") of the variety. Familiarity has helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions. Its widespread popularity has also contributed to criticism of the grape as a "colonizer" that takes over wine regions at the expense of indigenous grape varieties.[3]

The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the black currant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olive notes while in very hot climates the currant flavors can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side. In parts of Australia, particularly the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes.[4]

  1. ^ Robinson, J., ed. (2006). The Oxford Companion to Wine (Third ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 119–121. ISBN 0-19-860990-6.
  2. ^ "Distribution of the world's grapevine varieties" (PDF). oiv.int. International Organisation of Vine and Wine. 28 February 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-03-01. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  3. ^ Clarke, Oz (2001). Encyclopedia of Grapes. Harcourt Books. pp. 47–56. ISBN 0-15-100714-4.
  4. ^ Wine & Spirits Education Trust "Wine and Spirits: Understanding Wine Quality" pgs 6-9, Second Revised Edition (2012), London, ISBN 9781905819157

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