Without the aid of 300 pages of content, uncountable cases of wine, spitting, swirling, or spilling a little on the new rug, it is impossible to know “everything” about any grape. What we can say, is planted in almost every wine producing country, Cabernet Sauvignon (or just Cab as it is often called) is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. Cab is a hardy grape. It can withstand cold winters, it buds late (handy in those cooler climates) and has a very thick skin that keeps in the moisture when the wind picks up. It is the thick skin that really gives Cabernet Sauvignon its character.
Skin is what gives wine colour and tannins. Tannins are not only the preservative that allows Cab to age so well, but are also responsible for that puckering dry mouth feeling called astringency. When tannins in Cabernet Sauvignon come in contact with the proteins in a steak for example, each are broken down and the result is a feeling of flavourful softness (almost creaminess) in your mouth. This is precisely why people suggest pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with red meat.
It is up to the winemakers how long to leave the wine juice (or must as it’s called at this stage) to sit with the skins (* the process of soaking the pulpy juice in the skins is called maceration). The longer Cab is allowed to sit the darker the colour will be and the more tannins will be in a wine. If a winemaker wants to make a full bodied age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon, he will allow the grapes to soak longer than if he/she wanted a light bodied drink-while-young fruity wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon makes excellent single varietal wines from places such as California, but is mostly known to be blended with other wines. The addition of shiraz Australia in merlot France or a number of different combinations world wide, adds more flavour to the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon on the other hand adds body and complexity to it’s mate. If you are feeling adventurous and live an a community with a particularly gifted wine store you may be able to try Bulgarian Cab which is valued quite well at the price. If not try Mondavi in California, Le Petit Sommelier is a good food friendly blend from Australia that comes in an environmentally conscious tetra pak, and of course the mother land of Cab is good AC Bordeaux wine from Medoc.
Cab like any other wine is slightly different depending on where it is born. Here’s a general guideline.
Cool Climate Cab (Bordeaux) should have aromas of black currant, and tobacco
Warm Climate Cab (California) ripe jammy fruit, mint, eucalyptus.
So that is Cab in a nut shell. Grab a glass, a couple of friends, enjoy.


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