Unpolished Grape Series: Cabernet Sauvignon


Cabernet Sauvignon is a black grape from Southwestern France and is the love child of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc- hence its name. Today, it is one of the most popular grapes grown across the world, both as a varietal and blending partner. It is known for its deep black fruit, herbaceous notes, grippy tannins and powerful alcohol. Cabernet grapes grown in warmer climates can even produce “cooked fruit” characteristics.

Cabs, as they are affectionately called, can be made for early drinking, or aged for many years. Premium expressions are smooth and velvety, with spicy sweet notes of vanilla, coconut and cloves from oak barrel-aging.

Around the World

As an “international variety,” it is widely produced as a single varietal across the world, and a leading grape in Napa Valley and Sonoma in the U.S. Some of the best expressions come from the California American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) of Oakville, Rutherford, Central Valley, Alexander Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains. In Chile, it is the most widely planted grape. Cabs are also found in South Africa, Australia, Spain and New Zealand.

As an extremely versatile grape, it is found in popular blends across the world including Bordeaux in France, Red Blends in the U.S. and Super Tuscans in Italy. A couple of its favorite blending partners are Merlot and Sangiovese.

Food Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with heavy and savory foods like steak, lamb, mushrooms, burgers, stews, roast beef, beef short ribs, red-sauce pastas, and strong cheeses. Every once and a while, it pairs well with certain chocolates.


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4 thoughts on “Unpolished Grape Series: Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. An interesting thought: we’ve learned that red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon are considered to be “heart healthy”. Yet, according to your food pairings, they go well with red meat which we’ve learned may not be the best diet. On the other hand, white wine pairings appear to be more nutritionally healthy but I’ve not heard that they are “heart healthy”. The middle ground? Drink both white and red!!! 😀

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