Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is one of the most commonly grown grapes in the world, the red version of Chardonnay. It adds splendor and flavor to red wines the longer they are allowed to age. The thick skin of this grape gives the wine made from it has a high tannin, but many wineries temper this by blending in wines with low tannin.

The name "sauvignon" means wild and it is thought that these grapes grew wild in the Bordeaux region of France, but recent testing shows that the grape likely resulted from the crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in the 17th century.

The grapes can be grown in a variety of climates and are one of the last ones to ripen. The climate of the growing season determines how early they can be harvested so the harvest season varies from country to country. Oak is used during the wine making process to give it is distinctive taste.

The Sauvignon can be blended with other varieties of grapes, such as Syrah and Merlot. Many wineries ferment and age the grapes separately before blending several varieties into one wine. The flavor of Cabernet Sauvignon can also depend on the length of time the must (juice of the fruit) is in contact with the skin before fermentation.

In the Bordeaux region, this period, called the maceration period, is three weeks. This then requires a longer period of aging for the wine. Winemakers who want to produce a wine that is ready for consumption in a relatively short period of time cut down on this maceration period significantly, often limiting it to only a few days.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the wines most noted for its affinity to being aged in oak casks. This helps to soften the tartness of the taste and give it the taste and aroma of vanilla and spices that help to temper the tobacco aroma. Different varieties of oak also have a different effect on the taste of the wine.

Barrels made from American oak will give the wine a stronger taste than those made from French oak. There are also different varieties of American oak that will play different roles in the resulting taste of the wine that are aged in the barrels made from them.

Another factor that affects the overall taste of Cabernet Sauvignon is the ripeness of the grapes when they are harvested. If they are not quite ripe, the resulting wine will have a strong bell pepper taste. If the grapes are too ripe, the aroma may be that of black currants. Some wineries use a variety of techniques that include harvesting the grapes at different stages of ripeness and then blending them all together in one wine.

Since Cabernet Sauvignon is a very bold wine, you do have to be careful about the choice of food you serve with it. The taste does tend to overpower light and delicate dishes. It works well when served with steak dishes or dishes that involve a heavy sauce made of cream because the taste of these foods helps to soften the tannins in the wine.

If you serve this wine with pasta or rice dishes, you may find that the wine is too strong and you cannot get the taste of the food. Wines from the Bordeaux region work well when paired with dishes containing mushrooms. This wine is the perfect one to pair with bitter chocolate, but it does not work well with the smooth taste of milk chocolate.

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About The Author, Sarah Martin
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer specializing in international cuisine and fine wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. For a wide selection of varietals, please visit http://www.wineaccess.com/.