January 04, 2022
Wine is the best way to show your love this holiday season! Wine gifts expand a range and you will really find something for everyone who loves wine. From simple to extravagant, Beverage Factory has a wide range of wine gifts to delight every wine lover on your gift list! Or maybe you're shopping for "a gift from Santa", we won't tell. We wanted to share our customer favorites with you to make your holiday shopping a little bit easier. These widely loved products will get you praised as the best gift giver for years to come. The most popular wine variety in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon originated in France but is now produced virtually everywhere. You will encounter a wide range of flavors among the variety of blends available. Cabernets have universally appealing flavors and notes that anyone can enjoy. This article will go over everything you need to know to enjoy these wines even more.
- What is Cabernet Sauvignon?
- How to Store Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Characteristics of the Grape
- What Does Cabernet Sauvignon Taste Like?
- Top Cabernet Sauvignon Regions
- Top Cabernet Sauvignon Blends
- The Difference Between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
- The Difference Between Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon Pairings
- Wine Collection Essentials
What is Cabernet Sauvignon?
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, acidic wine made from the international red wine grape variety also known under the same name. This wine has strong tannins that become mellow with age. Typically high in alcohol, usually in the 13-14% range, Cabernet Sauvignon not only delivers a high dose of alcohol but also, a high dose of flavor.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape was developed by cross-breeding cabernet franc (a red grape) and sauvignon blanc (a white grape). Giving the wines a complex and distinct flavor. Cabernet Sauvignon wines come in single-varietals, which are made of 100% cabernet sauvignon grapes or varietal blends. Cabernet grapes present strongly in blends and are frequently blended with other strong, complementary grapes.
How to Store Cabernet Sauvignon
The complexity of a rich and flavorful Cabernet Sauvignon can be lost if the wine isn't stored properly. Wines are a delicate beverage and fluctuating temperatures and environmental conditions can greatly affect flavor maintenance and development. To ensure your wines maintain their complexity and aromas, the wines need to be stored in specific conditions that a wine refrigerator can only create. When it comes to serving Cabernet Sauvignon, you'd want a slightly cooler than room temperature, between 60 to 65°F. A standard refrigerator will bring the temperature of the wine down too low and will cause the unappealing tannins and acidic notes to be enhanced. To achieve this precise serving temperature, a wine refrigerator with the right precise temperature control technology can ensure the proper serving temperature. Additionally, a wine refrigerator's ability to maintain precise temperature is important for preservation. Fluctuating temperatures can lead to premature spoilage and degradation of complex notes in a wine. A wine refrigerator controls for temperature and humidity, ensuring your wines will stay fresh until you decide to open the bottle. We find the quiet and low vibration operation of the Allavino Wine Refrigerators to be the pinnacle of wine storage. Plus, they developed an exclusive technology that protects wines from fluctuating temperatures called Tru-Vino. You can learn more about Tru-Vino here.
The Characteristics of the Grape
Known for these three distinct features, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is the core of the famous wine and what creates its unique flavors. The grapes are small and sturdy, which means they are resilient and can live in many different climates, weather conditions, diseases, and insect infestations. This is why you can find Cabernets from so many regions around the world and it is so readily available for people to enjoy.
These grapes are ideal for barrel aging because these grapes have a unique ability to blend with oak, during both fermentation and barrel aging. Oak barrels mellow out the tannins and impart new flavors to the wine, the easy blending of the grapes with the oak makes this wine so easy to drink.
These grapes have thick, black skins, which are packed with tannins Additionally, these grapes take less time to ripen on the vine and are easy to pick, which is ideal for winemakers. These grapes aren't finicky compared to other varieties, which explains the popularity of this wine among almost every winemaker.
What Does Cabernet Sauvignon Taste Like?
Wines are very subjective but each wine does have very distinct characteristics and common flavor profiles. Cabernets are known for their high acidity, high tannin content, and a medium to full body. The acidity allows this wine to make a great pairing with a variety of foods, like virtually all red meats and savory dishes. This is an ideal wine for gifting because everyone can enjoy it. If you want to learn more about how to gift wine, read our article here.
Cabernet Sauvignon wines are known for their distinct green bell pepper-like flavor but you may also come across these common flavors:
- Crème de cassis
- Black cherries
Top Cabernet Sauvignon Regions
The famous wine variety originated in Bordeaux, France but the grape is grown internationally today and you can find the wine just about anywhere. Since it is a late-ripening grape variety, this grape prefers hot climates. The top regions for this wine include:
- Napa Valley, California - California Cabernets contend with those made in Bordeaux, France. After the "Judgment of Paris", where two French wine judges conducted a blind taste testing and determined the California Cabernet was the winner over the French Cabernet, California was established as one of the best Cabernet regions in the world. Today, many wineries in California produce 100% pure cabernet sauvignon, in contrast to regions like Bordeaux, which produce mostly blends.
- Sonoma Valley, California - a neighboring region to Napa, this region in California is typically known for Chardonnays but the Cabernets are a close second in excellence. The region produces great Cabernets thanks to its location near the ocean and the Russian River.
- Washington State - The Cabernet grape is the most widely planted red grape variety in the state of Washington. Washington cabernet sauvignon is known for being fruity and easy-drinking, with fewer tannins than other regions.
- France - The Bordeaux wine region still accounts for more than 60% of cabernet sauvignon grapes grown in France. However, you will see these grapes grown throughout other regions in France such as the Médoc region, Le Midi, and the Loire Valley.
- Italy - Introduced in the early 1800s, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are more famous now in the country. Its inclusion in wines from Tuscany is controversial among some people.
- Australia - The dry and hot climate of Australia are ideal for the growth of these grapes. Additionally, the red clay soil allows the grapes to grow smoothly.
- South America - While you can find the grape in various regions of the continent, Chile is most famously known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. Within Chile, the Aconagua, Maipo Valley, Colchagua, and Curicó regions are the most well-known for this type of wine.
- Other Regions - Other countries with cabernet sauvignon production include South Africa, Spain, and New Zealand. While not as famous as some of the other regions listed, you will still find delicious varieties of Cabernet from these regions.
Top Cabernet Sauvignon Blends
Cabernet blends are often quite popular and you may know many of these by their variety name but never knew they were a blend. When Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are combined with these other varieties, a new wine profile is developed.
The most famous of the red blends in Bordeaux, which is produced in France. This blend is a combination of Cabernet and Merlot grapes. It contains notes and flavors of cassis, blackberry, dark cherry, vanilla, black cherry, coffee bean, spice, and licorice. Many of these notes are prevalent in Cabernet Sauvignon wines, as well as, their shared tannic nature.
This Argentinian wine is full-bodied and acidic with notes of black cherry, hints of raspberry, and plums. It has a smooth and almost-chocolatey mouthfeel. You may also notice notes of coffee, molasses, leather, black pepper, gravel, tobacco, and cocoa. This wine comes from blending Cabernet and Malbec grapes to create its distinct flavor.
Originated from the Bordeaux region of France, this wine translates to "small green", which refers to the grapes. Blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot is high in tannins and has a full body. Characteristic notes of this wine are blackberry, blueberry, violet, licorice, pepper, sage, coffee, vanilla, and cocoa.
This wine yields wines with strong green pepper notes, reminiscent of cabernet sauvignon, which originated in Bordeaux wines but you can also find these grapes in Chile. The name comes from crimson. This wine has a spicy and herbal profile with notes of cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, blackberry, fresh green bell pepper, roasted red pepper, green peppercorn, smoke, dark chocolate, coffee, and cocoa powder.
Originated in France and known as Syrah, when the grapes were introduced to Australia, the name started to change to Shiraz. This wine has a full body, it is heavy and powerful but still has a smooth finish. This is a very drinkable wine and is fairly universally appealing. It has an iconic deep purple color and it has very rich flavors. It is commonly characterized as meaty with black pepper, dark fruit, violets, and notes of blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, licorice, chocolate, herbs, and olives.
This grape is the third most planted grape in the world and it is particularly popular in Spain. Unfortified wines made from tempranillo tend to be almost always dry. Tempranillo is known for its luscious texture, complex aromas, and flavors that range from savory to fruity to woody. Since this wine spans such a wide range of notes you may find notes of tobacco leaves, earth, barnyard, leather, plum, strawberry, cherry, coconut, vanilla, caramel, and dill pickles. While the notes may sound unusual, they deliver a very unique and complex flavor to the wine.
The grape is indigenous to Italy but the grape flourishes in a variety of environments so, you may find grape in many other regions. This wine variety tends to be full-bodied, dry, and highly acidic. The wine is known for its fruity and savory flavors. Common flavors among this wine variety are plum, cherry, herbs, violets, licorice, leather, clay, brick, tobacco, and smoke.
This French red wine grape is planted in all major wine-producing regions of the world. This medium-bodied wine has moderate tannins and is defined by a balance between red fruits, herbs, and peppery earthiness. The medium to high acidity makes it easy to drink and easy to pair with a variety of foods. Common notes in this variety of Cabernet are cherry, strawberry, raspberry, tomato, dried herbs, fresh bell pepper, roasted red pepper, fresh mint, and pencil shavings.
The Difference Between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
Due to the famous Bordeaux blend, cabs and merlots are closely intertwined despite the fact that they are different varieties of wine. They both blend beautifully with other wines and are often blended with other wines, which further confuses the two varieties.
Merlots are fruity, while Cabernets have more of a bite and intensity from the green bell pepper note. When blended into other wine varieties, Merlot sweetens dry wines, while cabernet dries sweet wines. Both cabernet sauvignon and merlot age well in oak; however, Merlot grapes must be picked immediately to prevent overripening. Cabernet grapes are much more forgiving.
The Difference Between Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir
These may be both red wines but the grapes and their resulting wines are very different. Pinot Noir wines are much lighter in color and body than cabernet sauvignon. Pinot Noirs also have fewer tannins and, therefore, a shorter life span in the bottle. They do not age as well or develop significant flavors over time. Cabernet is a heavy wine, both in flavor and body, which makes it suitable to stand up to bold flavors in food.
While Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are tough and resilient throughout a range of climates and environments but Pinot Noir grapes are delicate and temperamental. They can only be grown in particular climates and specific times. These delicate grapes limit the availability of wine around the world.
Cabernet Sauvignon Pairings
As a general rule, young cabs pair better with a more substantial meal, and older, more developed Cabernets pair nicely with softer textures, foods with weak flavors or textures can leave you with an unpleasant dry mouthfeel. Cabernet Sauvignons are known to be highly acidic and profoundly tannic, providing rich complementing flavors but also an uplifting brightness when paired with foods.
Our recommended pairings are red meats, beef wellington, gnocchi in a cream sauce, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, brie, and dark chocolate. The acidity of the wine balances the rich and fatty flavors delivering a boost of brightness and complexity to the rich flavors.
Wine Collection Essentials
From bold Cabernets to light Pinot Noirs, Beverage Factory offers all the essentials for preserving, serving and enjoying your wines. Our team of experts has been providing professional and residential beverage solutions for over two decades. Contact our team at 800-710-9939 for wine storage recommendations and advice.