Country Bordeaux - France, classic grape. Also found in Tuscany - Italy, Australia, New Zealand, USA - Washington, California, Chile, Argentina, South Africa
Style Young and fruity or Dark and serious. Deep colour.
Flavours to expect - Dark fruits ( blackcurrant, cherry ) and Kirsch along with mint and if oaked - spice, tobacco, toast, coffee, chocolate and nuttiness. Mature wines have cedar / cigar box / pencil shaving aromas. If underripe when picked can have grassy / green bean / green pepper flavours.
Characteristics Black fruit flavours, high acidity, high tannins and good colour and depp colour. Full bodied especially in hotter climates. Often blends are produced that balance the high acidity and tannins and fill out the middle palate.
Problems Over-ripness leading to jammy flavours and can be austere and hollow middle palate. The hollow middle palate can be solved by blending with other varieties, as it has a good attack at the beginning and an excellent finish, the austerity can be helped by using carbonic maceration ( some new world wine producers do use this method) and malolactic fermentation is another route taken by some.
Points of Note Blends well with many other grapes, merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc. Popular and well recognised grape variety. Has high quality potential and can age extremely well and it has an affinity to french oak. Ageing potential varies across the globe ( Medoc, Bordeaux 10-25 years, Napa California 8-15, Coonawarra Australia 4-12years ) Cabernet Sauvignon is a small berried grape which has a high pip to pulp ratio and has thick skins, this has an impact on the Tannins and the latter on the colour. It is late ripening and sometimes getting it to ripen is an issue. It is fairly resistant to rot, buds late and is resistant to cold winters, all of which make it attractive in many areas in the world. But it does not tolerate very dry conditions, so where irrigation is not allowed - this can be a problem.
Meritage indicates Bordeaux-style blend in California.
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