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Frequently Asked Questions About Cabernet Sauvignon

What's the right Cabernet Sauvignon pronunciation?

Cabernet Sauvignon’s pronunciation can be a bit tricky, we know! Kab-er-nay saw-vin-yawn is the right way to go.

How are Cabernet Sauvignon grapes?

Cabernet berries and bunches are small with dark blue skin, and present a high ratio of pip to pulp. The thick skins produce bold wines full of character and flavor, with excellent color and outstanding grain texture.

Is Cabernet Sauvignon dry or sweet ?

For the most part, Cabernet Sauvignon is considered to be a dry wine (meaning not sweet). Some winemakers choose to leave some residual sugar to round the palate and the mouthfeel. This can be perceived by some consumers even when present in low concentrations.

What's the difference between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot?

Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and robust and has savory blackcurrant and pepper flavors, with higher tannin concentrations, and a longer finish. Merlot is a bit more delicate, develops fruit-driven plum and cherry flavors, and has fewer tannins and a smoother finish.

Information About Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon Taste

The taste of Cabernet Sauvignon taste is rich and flavorful thanks to its high tannin content, which makes it the perfect partner to grilled meats, peppery sauces, and dishes with plenty of flavor. What makes Cabs so special?

Color Intensity

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have thick skins, and develop a great intensity of color and purple hues.

Oak Affinity

Cabernet has a fantastic affinity with both American and French oak. Winemakers often use a wide variety of oak barrels from different locations, toast levels, and ages to shape their Cabs’ profiles.

Big Structure

Warm and sunny climates mean well-ripened fruit, a high concentration of flavors, and a bold structure. Extended macerations and long fermentations are also conventional techniques, providing these wines with a lot of strength and character.

Aging Potential

Cabernet has medium to medium-plus acidity, a medium-high concentration of tannins, and medium-plus alcohol (somewhere between 13.5% and 14.5%, although don't be surprised if you find alcohol content over 15% in some varieties). The combination of these three elements is what gives most Cabs excellent aging potential—in fact, they’re able to age for up to 20+ years and still improve in quality!

Blending Affinity

Cabernet Sauvignon is known to be one of the most exceptional blending components, and many winemakers around the globe use it as a core component for their best wines. If you’re looking for France's best Cabernet Sauvignons, head to the Bordeaux selection and look for the sub-regions of the Médoc.


Approximately 840,000 acres (340,000 hectares) are planted over the globe, and almost every wine-producing country can make Cab.

Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in two well-differentiated styles:

1) Warm-Weather Cabs

Black fruit, black pepper, and cocoa powder styles of Cabernet come from warmer areas. These wines tend to have higher alcohol content and a much higher concentration of far riper tannins.

Cabernet from California

Californian Cabernet is known for its characteristic green flavors like bell pepper, eucalyptus, and mint. Wines from Central Valley are more fruit-forward, with mellower tannins and rich, dark fruit notes of blackberry and blueberry, as well as earth, coffee, and cedar.

Cabernet from Australia

Southern Australia produces Cabernet Sauvignon in Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, and McLaren Valley. In Western Australia, it is produced in Margaret River. Besides varietal wines, the grape is commonly blended with Shiraz, which heightens its juicy black fruit character and enhances its distinctive mint and eucalyptus flavors.

Cabernet from Argentina

At the entry level, Argentina produces a range of simple and easy-to-drink varietal wines meant for everyday drinking. On the higher end, Uco Valley provides more sophisticated and complex Cabs that can beautifully age for many years.

Cabernet from South Africa

South Africa produces both varietal and blended versions of Cabernet Sauvignon. While some wineries produce the traditional Bordeaux-style blend, others like to mix it with Syrah (Shiraz). Its aromatics develop black pepper and bell pepper notes, complemented by ripe black fruit.

Cabernet from Spain

In Spain, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most commonly planted red grapes. Although it’s sometimes blended with Tempranillo, it is also made as a single varietal in the Penedés, Ribera del Duero, and Navarra regions.

2) Colder-Weather Cabs

Red fruit, mint, and green pepper flavors are typical for Cabernets produced in colder climates, such as in:

Cabernet from France

In France, Bordeaux produces the most age-worthy expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon. Most likely, you will find it as a blended component of the Left Bank. This style offers a full-bodied wine with blackcurrant and violet notes, as well as cedar and cigar boxes. In colder vintages, Cabs can develop great flavors of blackcurrant, licorice, and some slightly herbaceous notes.

Cabernet from Chile

In Chile's coldest areas, with oceanic or high-altitude influence, Cabernet expresses bright black fruit aromatics and a more structured and tannic profile. As a blend, it can be found along with Merlot and Carmenere. In the entry-level range, Chile offers excellent value for money, with straightforward and fruity Cabs.

Cabernet from Italy

Cabernet Sauvignon is also grown in Tuscany, producing sweet plum and cherry flavors. In its blended version, Super Tuscans show tobacco and cigar box notes.

Cabernet from Washington

Washington Cabernet Sauvignon is known for achieving the ripeness and sweet aromas of California grapes with the elegance of the Old World style.

Cabernet from Northern California

Napa Valley is recognized in the world of wine for its rich character, ripe black fruit notes, and sweet vanilla and chocolate flavors thanks to its American oak aging. The more extended ripening season produces big wines with high alcohol and lower acidity. At the highest altitudes of Napa Valley, such as Howell Mountain or Mt. Veeder, the colder weather adds complexity and depth to the Cabs grown there.

Did you know?

China is rapidly expanding into winemaking. There is still no clearly defined style of Chinese Cabernet Sauvignon, with nine distinct regions spread all over the country. It is the most important variety in terms of plantings, accounting for about 70 % of China's wines.

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