The King of all the red wine is undoubtedly the fancy Cabernet Sauvignon whose supremacy has been almost unchallenged for several decades (Merlot is the only to have come close to toppling it). Endeared to our hearts and gaining more lovers daily, there really is no threat to cabernet wine reign on the Iron Throne of red wines. Cabernet is undoubtedly the most popular red wine in the whole world, easily grown in most of all the wine producing countries. However, there is still more to this red wine grape. Here is a total guide to everything that is cabernet sauvignon red wine; from its history to advent in America to pairing with foods – we have it all covered for you.
Owing to the fact that Cabernet sauvignon is easily grown in several wine producing countries, several myths, mysteries and conjectures surrounded the origin of the wine itself. Many believed it to be from the ancient Biturica grape used by the ancient Romans to make grape wine. Others believed it to be from the French hard wood with connections to Carmenere.
It was just recently that the true origins of cabernet sauvignon wine was confirmed with the aid of DNA typing at the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology in the year 1996. They found out that cabernet was indeed an offspring of Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc – a product of possible crossing in the 17th century.
This makes more sense. You can easily tell the similar aroma that Cabernet Sauvignon shared with both grapes; the famous blackcurrant and pencil box aroma of Carbenet and the unmistakable grassiness of Sauvignon.
Cabernet Sauvignon itself is a red wine grape variety that is famous for its thick skin which is as well durable and high resistance of its vines to any condition. Maybe Cabernet Sauvignon’s thick skin and ability to resist any element is why it is so loved by American drinkers or maybe it is just the classy and exquisite taste.
But Americans weren’t the first to fall in love with this unique blend, no. That particular distinction goes to the good people of Bordeaux who discovered that the wine could last for many years in a bottle. Not just that, the Bordeaux winemakers found out that cabernet sauvignon in oak is a great combination. It not only responded well but also developed new flavors in the oak. The curiosity and ingenuity of the Bordeaux is what led to the creation of the most popular Cabernet Sauvignon blend; the Bordeaux blend which is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
It was from Bordeaux that word of such special red wine spread across the rest of Europe and the entire world. The Bordeaux blend became well sought after and this made Cabernet Sauvignon become a highly desired commodity too. Many wine enthusiastic countries quickly began growing their own Cabernet Sauvignon ensuring that it reigned as the world most wide planted grape until the 1990s – when it was overtook by Merlot (it has since taken back its number one place after the 2000s). Cabernet Sauvignon began its entry into American wine folklore from the Napa Valley of California. It was there it got its first break, becoming something of a viral wine sensation when it beat out the top and more famous Bordeaux Chateaus in 1976 at a blind taste test in Paris. This launched the California blend of the red wine into world conversation and quickly became a household name.
It is important that Cabernet is taken with food. The wine itself has an alcohol content of almost 15% (about 14.5 %) and contains a level of tannin considered healthy. The wine is dry and also slightly acidic leaving your mouth to dry up after sipping it. It is for all these reasons that people are encouraged to take Cabernet Sauvignon with food.
However, Cabernet wine can easily suppress and overwhelm light dishes making it imperative that a right match of food is taken with it. Cabernet wine with higher level of alcohol level do not sit well with spicy and delicate foods. This is as a result of the hotness levels of the capsaicin being increased by the alcohol. Also, young cabernet wines contain stronger grape ingredients than older ones whose tannin content tend to mellow with the passing of time.
Another good combination with cabernet sauvignon is with fats and proteins which would reduce the perception of tannins. The tannins become neutralized when paired with food with high fat content – this will allow the fruits of the wine to become more pronounced. On the other hand, starches have opposite effect when compared to fats.
As regards the bitterness of tannins contained in cabernet sauvignon, this can be neutralized by pairing the red wine with bitter foods or by using cooking methods that involves grilling. This is more important for young cabernet wines, older cabernet can be easily paired with less bitter foods.
Cabernet Sauvignon has oak influences which is to be taken into consideration when paired with food. The wine can be paired with cooking methods such as smoking, grilling and roasting.
The region in which cabernet is also produced also influences the food-pairing choices of the wine. Old World wines such as Bordeaux Chateaus are better with mushrooms while the New World wines such as Napa Valley blend are better with vegetables.
In summary, Cabernet Sauvignon is a classy wine gotten from a mix of Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc – a sort of best of both worlds. Fine and fresh, it defies time, age, and elements such as insects and rots while its grape has the ability to withstand adverse conditions. The grape is easily cultivated, it buds late which is why it can easily avoid frost and a certain elegance and consistency in flavor over the years. The wine is easily pronounced – one of the reasons why you should go for it when ordering at any steakhouse or restaurant. Criticized by some as a colonizer which takes over any wine region at the expense of the native grape, this also simultaneously contributes to its worldwide and widespread popularity. Fine, fresh, classy, exquisite and timeless – the Cabernet Sauvignon.