Cabernet Sauvignon's can range in taste from mellow and mild, to rich and hearty. They tend to be a deep red color, with the primary taste usually being black currant. Other overtones can include mint and blackberry. Traditionally aged in oak, the wine can also take on an oaky, vanilla flavor. Higher quality Cabernet Sauvignon's age extremely well.
Genetic testing has shown that Cabernet Sauvignon sprang into life in the 1600s when nearby plants of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc happened to fertilize each other, creating a type of hybrid. Local farmers soon realized how well this new vine was doing and began taking cuttings from it. Cuttings are how all grape varieties in the world are propagated and developed. Grapes cannot be planted from seed and therefore have a child identical to the parent.
Cabernet Sauvignon, is a very young grape variety having only been around since the 17th century. Recent DNA testing has found that Cabernet Sauvignon came into being after a chance crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, which is thought to have occurred somewhere in South West France.
Winemakers soon found that this new grape thrived in almost all areas, and conditions so they replanted it. Word about the new hardy grape type soon spread and at one point, in the 1800s this grape could be found in almost every region in Bordeaux.
Records show, that from Europe the grape travelled to Australia, arriving there sometime around 1820. As it did in Europe, the grape thrived and as of 2001 there was more than 28,000 hectares growing there.
Over time, the grape spread from country to country. Today Cabernet sauvignon can be found in most wine growing countries in the world.
Although it is hard to find exact figures, plantings worldwide of Cabernet Sauvignon are estimated to be around 170,000 hectares (435,000 acres), which is about 2% of the world’s vines, making it the second most widely cultivated quality red grape variety, having been overtaken by Merlot in the 1990s. France leads the way in production of this grape type with Bordeaux alone accounting for almost 20% of the world’s Cabernet vines. The grape is also extensively grown in the US, South America, Australia, and the United Kingdom just to name a few.
Even though Cabernet Sauvignon can grow in a very wide variety of conditions, being a late ripening grape it seems best suited to warm areas that receive lots of sunshine. It will grow in almost all soil types but seems to do best in gravel based soils.
Being grown in many different countries and conditions, Cabernet Sauvignon can diplay a variety of different aromas and flavors. In general they are medium to full bodied with a high alcohol and tannin content and display rich fruit characteristics. Typical Flavors can include blueberry, plum, blackberry, cherry, vanilla, tobacco, and warm spices. When aged Cabernet Sauvignons tend to mellow loosing some of their bitter tannin flavors.
These wines pair well with full flavored hearty food such as char grilled meats, stews, lamb, and goose. It also goes well with dark chocolate.