Published Articles May 4, 2016

Cabernet Sauvignon Varietal Characteristics

Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it. ~ Anonymous ~

The remarkable Cabernet Sauvignon varietal characteristics are complex yet simply enjoyable! In order to appreciate wine, it’s essential to understand the characteristics different grapes offer and how those characteristics will be expressed in wines. A varietal wine always displays certain qualities, which are inherent in the grape’s personality.
Cabernet Sauvignon (cab-er-NAY SO-vig-yon) the undisputed king of red wines, is a remarkably steady and consistent performer throughout the world. In specific appellations it is capable of
rendering wines of richness and longevity. Built around simpler wines, it provides ensurance that different grape varieties mature at different intervals to give a wine color, bouquet, tannin, and structure.
Elsewhere in the world —and it is found almost everywhere in the world— Cabernet Sauvignon is as likely to be bottled on its own as in a blend. It mixes with Sangiovese in Tuscany, Shiraz/Syrah in Australia and Provence, and Merlot and Cabernet Franc in South Africa, Carmenere is Chile choice, but it also flies solo in some of Italy’s super-Tuscans. In the United States, it’s unlikely any region will surpass Napa Valley’s high-quality Cabernets and Cabernet blends. Through most of the grape’s history in California (which dates to the 1800s), the best Cabernets have been 100 percent
uncommon depth, concentration and Bordeaux, an France, has used the century, always Cabernet Franc, Merlot soupcon of Petite The Bordeaux model is only the desire to craft
Cabernet. Since the late 1970s, many vintners have turned to the Bordeaux model and blended smaller portions of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot into their Cabernets. The case for blending is still under review, but clearly there are successes. On the other hand, many U.S. producers are shifting back to higher percentages of Cabernet, having found that blending doesn’t add complexity and that Cabernet on its own has a stronger character.
At its best, unblended Cabernet produces wines of great intensity and depth of flavor. Its classic flavors are currant, plum, black cherry and spice. It can also be marked by herb, olive, mint, tobacco, cedar, anise, and ripe jammy notes. In warmer areas, it can be supple and elegant; in cooler areas, it can be marked by
pronounced vegetal, flavors (a late ripening cool climates, which is has never succumbed to also be very tannic if winemakers style. The ruby-purple in color, body, great intensity, firm tannins. Cabernet usually spends 15 to 30 French or American properly executed vanilla flavor adding wine. Microclimates within appellations and the winemakers particular style are other major factors in the weight and intensity (style) of the Cabernets. The producer’s name (reputation) on the bottle, and often its price, are generally the best indicators of the level of the wines quality. Robert Parker, creator of the 100 point rating system is regarded as a “Thee” most reliable wine critic in the world. Although his descriptions do border on the flamboyant and fanciful, none the less, his nod of approval or dis, is the standard bearer for the wine trade who count on his criticism to make or break reputations.
Appellation: Defines the area where a wine’s grapes were grown, such as Pauilliac in Bordeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin in Burgundy, Napa Valley or the Colchagua Valley in Chile. Regulations vary
bell pepper, oregano and tar grape, it can’t be relied on in why Germany, for example, the lure of growing it). It can that is a feature of the best Cabernets start out dark with vibrant acidity, a full concentrated flavors and has an affinity for oak and months in new or used barrels, a process that, when imparts wood tannins and body and complexity to the
widely from country to country. In order to use an appellation on a California wine label, for example, 85 percent of the grapes used to make the wine must be grown in the specified district. Structure: The interaction of elements such as acid, tannin, glycerin, alcohol and body as it relates to a wine’s texture and mouth-feel. Usually preceded by a modifier, as in “firm structure” or “lacking in structure.”
Supple: Describes texture, mostly with reds, as it relates to tannin, body and oak. A positive characteristic.

Bon Boire (good drinking)

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About the author

Mark Peterson: Mark resides in Taiwan with his wife Mary, and daughter Maya.