For years Cabernet Sauvignon is the most recognizable strain in Vitis Vinifera (the proper grapevine), from which all grape strains used for wine production, come from. Every common wine strain and variety stem directly from Vitis Vinifera, however for many years on consumer awareness Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most recognizable and valued grape strain for red wine production. These days Cabernet crops can be found everywhere vines are grown – from the Canadian vineyards of the Okanagan Valley to the Lebanese Bequaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon has gained worldwide popularity due to its role in the wines of Bordeaux region, where it is mixed with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. France can be considered as the cradle from which Cabernet Sauvignon spreaded across the Europe and then into the New World eg. California, New Zealand, Chile.
Until the 1990s Cabernet Sauvignon was the most commonly grown dark grape variety, but then it was displaced by Merlot. Contrary to its popularity Cabernet Sauvignon is relatively young strain that is probably a natural hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc and which arisen around 17 th century. Its popularity is mainly caused by ease of cropping due to thick skin ensuring high resistance and the fact of late budding which protects against spring frosts, despite the low efficiency of shrubs. For years Cabernet Sauvignon has clung to the infamous patch of “colonizer” due to the fact that everywhere it goes it displaces native varieties of vines, more difficult to grow.
Classic wine from this strain has a strong, full structure with high tannin content and noticeable acidity, which gives Cabernet a strong aging potential (the best age group from the Bordeaux region remain stable for over a 100 years). Cabernet Sauvignon has clear notes of cherry, blackcurrant, which can be accompanied by cedar, herbs, chocolate and characteristic note of green pepper, which becomes less distinct as the wine gets older. One of the most characteristic features of Cabernet Sauvignon is its composition with oak fragrances during fermentation or aging in barrels. Beside lowering natural high level of tannins, wood flavours (vanilla, spices) complement the typical flavours of blackcurrant, tobacco, sometimes with a slight taste of coffee. Style of wine strongly depends on the ripeness of the grapes during grape harvest. Unripe grapes have high level of pyrazines and notes of green peppers and grassy. When wine is made from overripe grapes it has a taste of marmalade and blackcurrant jam. Sometimes winemakers decide to harvest grapes of different ripeness to enrich the complexity of the drink by including various aromas.