The harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the last wine grapes to be picked, is in full swing in most northern hemisphere vineyards. There are many aficianados of wines made from this grape. If you’re one of them, below are some must-know facts.
1. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted red varietal in the world.
2. The varietal is also grown in nearly every wine producing country in the world. From Napa to Bordeaux, from Chile to China, and from Australia to Italy, Cabernet Sauvignon can thrive in diverse terroirs.
3. There are many reasons, other than consumer demand, that Cabernet Sauv is so widely planted around the globe. Its thick skin is impermeable to insects, its vines are hardy and low yielding by nature, and its late bud break allows it to avoid any early frosts.
4. Cabernet Sauv is an accidental grape. It’s an unintentional crossing in the vineyard of the red Cabernet Franc with a white Sauvignon Blanc (grape vines used to be intermixed in the same vineyard). It is thought to have occurred in the 17th century in the southwest of France near the Bordeaux region.
5. Cabernet Sauv has a propensity to age well due to its tannin. The varietal is usually aged in oak barrels which further augment the tannic structure and allow for long aging. The flip side is the tannin make a Cabernet difficult to drink when young.
6. When the grapes are under-ripe, Cabernet Sauv can taste of green bell peppers. Over-ripe grapes move the wine to raisin and prune-like flavors, as well as a high alcohol content.
7. Caberet Sauv can easily overwhelm light foods. Cabernet Sauv desperately needs fat and protein to neutralize its tannin. A well-marbled steak, lamb with a cream sauce, or even pizza makes for an ideal pairing.