Cabernet Sauvignon

Jan 28, 2024Mads Nyvang

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most cultivated grape in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon has Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc as parents, according to the grape's pedigree. This family bond explains why the aroma profiles of these three grapes are so similar despite their different end products.

Cabernet Sauvignon is characterized by a thick grape skin that produces a lot of color and tannins. The fruit ripens late, which requires a climate with lots of sunshine and heat. It is rare for Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen fully anywhere in the world - not even in Bordeaux or the Medóc.

Cabernet Sauvignon - The grape from around the world

The majority of the world's wine writers agree that the most popular and best wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon come from Bordeaux, Napa Valley in California and Bolgheri in Tuscany. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape variety in the whole world, and it is therefore easy to find in almost all countries with a warm climate.

It is also possible to find good Cabernet Sauvignon wines outside these three areas. In the Barossa Valley (South Australia), Colchagua Valley (Chile), Western Cape (South Africa) and in Washington State, you can also find Cabernet Sauvignon wines, which in terms of quality can approach the great Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the famous Bordeaux wine region.


Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Bordeaux's major grape varieties. It does particularly well in the cooler climate found in the western part of Bordeaux, close to the Atlantic coast. Some of the most expensive and sought-after wines from Bordeaux are produced here.

The best vineyards are located on high hills with a steady flow of the sea breeze, which ensures the grapes a perfect ripening environment. In this part of Bordeaux, there are some of the world's most famous vineyards, such ase.g. Château Margaux, Château Latour, Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Haut-Brion.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blended

In Bordeaux they typically do not make wines from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, as the grape ripens late and the climate is not warm enough to do so. The grape is typically included in a blend of Merlot, which together are the two most important grapes in Bordeaux. Merlot is the most planted grape variety in Bordeaux.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the perfect partnership, as Merlot often contributes a large and full body. The climate in the different vintages determines how the relationship between the two grapes should be. In the cool vintages, a larger amount of Merlot will be included than in the warm vintages.

Grand Cru Classé

The Bordeaux 1855 classification has played an important role in Cabernet Sauvignon's worldwide fame. The legendary classification was designed to rank the best wine châteaux in Bordeaux, and it has only been changed a few times, includinga when Mouton-Rothschild was moved from 2. to 1. Cru in 1973. Only wines from Médoc are classified in the five Cru Classé levels, with the exception of Haut-Brion from Graves.

Super Tuscans (Bolgheri)

While Bordeaux is the spiritual home of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, it was in Tuscany that the grape found its second home. The Cabernet Sauvignon wines from this area are often called Super Tuscans as they do not follow the traditional DOC and DOCG rules for Tuscan wine production

The first super Tuscan, Sassicaia, was created by Mario Incisa della Rocchetta in 1968. He was inspired by the great Bordeaux wines and decided to plant Cabernet Sauvignon at his Tuscan estate Tenuta San Guido. The result was a big and full-bodied red wine that was very different from the more moderate light wines such as Chianti, which were the norm in Tuscany at the time.


Sassicaia's success led to a number of other producers following suit, and today Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most planted grape varieties in Tuscany. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are typically mixed with Sangiovese and Merlot, as Cabernet Sauvignon itself can be a bit too tight and be characterized by too much tannin and tannic acid.

In Tuscany, wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon can give the wine a beautiful and intense color with many of the classic aromas that Cabernet Sauvignon wine often possesses. The notes are often clearly characterized by red berries such as blackcurrants, raspberries and blackberries, but can often also give sensations of cedar wood, tobacco and spices from the warm climates.

Napa Valley

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is one of the most widespread grapes in the world, and it is especially important in the wine regions of the New World. Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Napa Valley are some of the most sought after wines in the world due to the region's favorable climate and soils

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines are typically large, full-bodied and very fruity with plenty of ripe tannins that give them great aging potential. The best vineyards are located on well-drained hillsides with good exposure to sunlight.

In contrast to Bordeaux and Bolgheri, many wines from Napa Valley are made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Real Napa Cab is generously barrel-aged with copious amounts of spices – the epitome of power wine!

While both Bordeaux and Super Tuscans are known to be made from blends with Cabernet Sauvignon, many wines from Napa Valley consist exclusively of Cabernet Sauvignon. Real Napa Cab is barrel-aged, which gives the wine plenty of spice and vanilla.

Cabernet Sauvignon wine

Cabernet can have a wide range of flavors and aromas, depending on the climate, soil and viticulture of the region where it is grown. Cabernet Sauvignon wines from cool regions often have a higher acidity and more moderate and light wines with elegant fruit with notes of blackcurrant, cassis and green pepper. The Cabernet Sauvignon wines from warmer climates often have a high alcohol percentage and are typically more mature.

Cabernet Sauvignon red wine

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most popular red wine grapes. It is typically blended with other grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are typically full-bodied, where the tannins mean that the wine has good aging potential. Cabernet Sauvignon is a versatile grape that can be used to produce a wide variety of wine styles, from light and fruity to big and bold. When cask aging is mixed into a Cabernet Sauvignon red wine, the wines require plenty of air so that you can perceive the many notes of blackberry, tobacco, cedar and blackcurrant.

Cabernet Sauvignon for food

Cabernet Sauvignon wines are typically full-bodied and tannic, making them ideal for food.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect partner for red meat dishes such ase.g. steak, lamb or venison. Cabernet Sauvignon is also a good match for rich, powerful stews.

When it comes to cheese, Cabernet Sauvignon is a good partner for hard and sharp cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan and pecorino. Cabernet Sauvignon can also be enjoyed with chocolate desserts or even alone as an after-dinner drink.