Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties, a breed between red Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates. The wine became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines, where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The wine is a red grape varietal known for its tough skin and the vine's resistance to elements. Being very resistant and easier to grow than local plants, the grape was quickly adopted by French winemakers. It eventually found its champion in the well-known region of Bordeaux. The local winemakers appreciated the grape's level of tannins, which let the wine evolve for many years after in the bottle. They also found out how well it responds when spending time in oak. The barrel would bring out new beautiful flavours that haven't been tasted before.
The final result was a full-bodied wine with a moderate acidity level that was amazing for having with food. After the initial success, the grape varietal has been blended with other varietals to create delicious blends. The most well known, is perhaps the Bordeaux blend, which is Cabernet Sauvignon mixed with Merlot among others.
From France, the grape's spread across Europe, and to the new world, California's Santa Cruz Mountains, New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, Australia's Margaret River, Chile's Maipo Valley and more! Cabernet Sauvignon has been the great colonizer and the most widely planted grape, spreading across the globe with the press for Bordeaux.
Once planted in California, the reputation for Cabernet Sauvignon has taken off even further, with wine from Napa Valley beating the top Bordeaux Chateaux in 1976 Judgment of Paris in a blind taste test. Since then, California has launched its Cabernet Sauvignon into the entire world.
Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its vibrant dark colour, full-body and an alcohol level that's usually over 13.5%, with some wines from California, Chile and Australia being around 14.5%, and even going over 15%. The wine is dry and has a healthy level of tannin, and that's why your mouth dries out when you drink it. A lot of people notice the notes of green pepper in Cabernet Sauvignon, alongside tobacco, cassis, cherries, and hints of mint and vanilla. The last one comes from the wine aging in oak barrels.
While there isn't a hard and fast rule for drinking Cabernet Sauvignon, it's a sort of wine that does better with food than without it. Drinking this wine by itself can be overwhelming due to the acidity and flavour.
Fun fact ... it wasn't proven that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc until the late '90s by wine researchers at UC Davis.