Cabernet Sauvignon- The Classic Red

Cabernet Sauvignon is often considered a classic red wine. It is a wine wardrobe essential. Cabernet remains the most popular red wine on the market because it offers distinctive drinking in a wide range of prices and styles.

  • Dry: Cabernet Sauvignon is considered dry wine. It often tastes more dry than shiraz or pinot noir, for example, but not as dry as sangiovese-based wines from Italy.
  • Bright: Cabernet sauvignon grapes are naturally higher in acidity than merlot grapes so the resulting wine often has a more vibrant character (think of green plums verus ripe, juicy ones), especially when the grapes are grown in cooler areas such as Bordeaux.
  • Medium or full-bodied: styles of cabernet sauvignon range from elegant to powerful depending upon where the grapes are grown (warmer regions equal riper grapes, higher alcohol (13-14 percent) and fuller body, cooler regions equal less sugar in the grapes and slightly lower alcohol levels (12-13 percent). In the glass, that translates to the difference between satin and velvet, or brushed cotton and winter wool.
  • Medium to strong tannins: These are thick-skinned grapes, which mean the wines are inherently more tannic than most all other reds. If you don’t like the sometimes drying, astringent feel from tannins (see page 000 for details on tannins), cabernet sauvignon may not be to your top pick in reds. Try merlot or pinot noir.

VALUE TIP: One of the best-value Cabs on the market today comes from Gallo of Sonoma whose Sonoma County bottling (often under $10) is produced with a healthy dose of Alexander Valley grapes.

Have you tried this?

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce: Rub the outside of the leg of lamb with a mixture of honey, Dijon mustard, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and chopped fresh mint and rosemary. Grill or roast until cooked. For the Mint Sauce, mix chopped fresh mint with a little olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Stir it into couscous or rice and serve with the thinly sliced lamb.

What are your favorite recipes/food ideas to go with your favorite Cab Sauv?

Share with us your favorite Cab Sauvs and why you like them.

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