RED WINE / Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a result of a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc and is the world’s second most planted red grape variety after Merlot. In its spiritual home of Bordeaux where it forms the basis of the great wines of the Haut-Medoc including of the communes of Pauillac, Margaux, Pessac-Leognan, St Julien and St Estephe where it is almost always blended with other native Bordeaux red varieties including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Widely planted across Europe and the New World, outstanding examples from outside Bordeaux are found in Tuscany (both central and Bolgheri), California (in the Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Cruz Mountains) and Australia (Margaret River, Coonawarra, and parts of the Yarra Valley) .
Cabernet Sauvignon's unique aromatic profile across a range of regions is perhaps its greatest asset producing great wines which express terroir, varietal purity and vintage conditions. Cabernet’s aromatic profile is often of cassis, blackcurrants, chocolate, tomato leaf and green bell peppers; and when aged in oak graphite and cigar box (New French Oak) and coconut and vanilla aromas (New American Oak). However, Cabernet Sauvignon’s structure and longevity truly set it apart from other varieties. Cabernet Sauvignons concentration of colour, fruit, tannin, acid, alcohol make it ideal for long term cellaring resulting in additional complexity after long periods of bottle age; developing characteristics of leather, smoked meats and earth, whilst the characteristic powerful tannins soften consequentially becoming more approachable. However, Cabernet Sauvignon’s appeal also lies in its ability to produce approachable, medium to full bodied dry reds which resemble the great wines of Bordeaux and other premier growing regions at relatively inexpensive prices.
Some of the greatest producers of Cabernet and Cabernet blends include Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Leoville Las Cases (Bordeaux) Sassicaia and Ornellaia (Tuscany) Philip Togni, Caymus and Diamond Creek (California) and Moss Wood, Cullen, Woodlands (Margaret River) Wynn’s and Balnaves (Coonawarra) and Yarra Yarra, Mount Mary and Yeringberg (Yarra Valley) to name just a few.
The Oxford Companion to Wine, (ed) Jancis Robinson MW
Bordeaux, Robert Parker Jnr