Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab Sauv)

Definition - What does Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab Sauv) mean?

Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape varietal that was created 17th Century south western France by combining Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It creates red wines with high levels of tannin and structure; this makes them ideal for aging. It is often used in blends, especially Bordeaux Blends, to add longevity and structure. Its thick skin and hardiness make it easy to cultivate. Cabernet Sauvignon is also one of the noble grape varieties.

By the 20th Century, it was one of the most recognized varietals in the world, grown in almost every wine producing country in the world. It was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990s. Regardless of where it is produced, the most common characteristic associated to the wine is the taste of blackcurrant.

WineFrog explains Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab Sauv)

One of the noble grapes of the wine world, Cabernet Sauvignon is a safe choice for vineyards. It has aided in the accessibility and appeal of obscure wine regions and producers. It is so easy to produce that criticism has arise regarding its role as a "colonizer" grape - one that is planted in wine regions as the expense of the unique native varietals. Yet, despite its popularity, there are still regions that do not plant Cabernet Sauvignon - Portugal has chosen to focus on their native grapes instead of planting Cabernet Sauvignon.

The grapes grow in small, loose clusters. The berries are very small with thick skin, which contribute to the higher tannin levels. The strong tannic nature is often softened during the fermentation or with barrel aging. Wood flavours - vanilla and spice - complement the natural characteristics of the varietal.

These typical taste characteristics include:

  • Blackcurrants
  • Chocolate
  • Cedar
  • Mint
  • Dark Cherry
  • Tobacco
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cigar boxes
  • Pencil shaving
When Cabernet Sauvignon is less ripe when it is harvested, common in cool climates, it gives off more notes of green peppers and vegetables like olives. When it is harvested overripe, common in hotter climates, it has jammy flavours of stewed blackcurrants. Old World Cabernet Sauvignons have earthier characteristics whereas New World Cabernet Sauvignons have bold fruit flavours.

The stronger flavors of a Cabernet Sauvignon are often paired with robust meat including porterhouse steak, pepper-crusted steak, lamb stew or barbecued meats. It is also often paired with dry cheese and chocolate.

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