Categories: Packed with a Punch
Big. Red. Wine. Thick skinned with deep color, cabernet sauvignon grapes are known for producing powerful wines with tremendous balance between black fruit flavors, high tannins and high enough acidity to bring it all together in exquisite balance. Herbal notes, while sounding odd or even off-putting for a wine, bring some of the more interesting and highly desired flavors to this varietal. Seriously, would anyone ever believe having green bell pepper (capsicum) flavor in a wine would make it highly desirable? Bottled and poured too early, these flavor profiles can overwhelm and young cabernet sauvignons can taste overly bitter as the tannis overwhelm the fruit and acid. Maturing in oak or post-bottling can mellow the bitterness turning it to highly desired, and well balanced wine. Extended aging in oak barrels brings additional flavor complexity of smoke, charred wood, and cedar to the wine along with smoother flavors of vanilla and baking spices.
When grown in moderate climates, cabernet sauvignon grapes can struggle to ripen. In overly warm climates, the grapes ripen very quickly and can easily ripen beyond the desired level of balance where the acidity level drops and the fruit shifts from fresh and ripe to overripe, even stewed in flavor. This combination results in dull, flat wines. Underripe grapes and overripe grapes can be rescued through blending of other red grape varieties to bring more balance and freshness to the fruit flavors, tone down the bitter tannins or enhance acidity to counter overly ripe grapes.
When all things are perfectly in balance – tannin, fruit and acid – cabernets can age for years if not decades. They are some of the most coveted wines in the US, the more prized even referred to as “cult wines”. Thankfully for the every-day consumer, there are numerous great tasting and great value cabernet sauvignons ready to drink today! In Module 4 we’ll satisfy your craving for a great cab when we dissect the perfect food pairings for this versatile wine!
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular wine across the globe both in consumption and in area of vineyards planted. Its popularity is celebrated annually on Cabernet Sauvignon Day, the Thursday before Labor Day each year in the U.S. Our calendars are marked and we are ready to celebrate!