One of the most well-liked red wine grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon (also known as “cab”) is grown in wine areas all over the world. You may learn more about the flavor, scent, and structures of an outstanding glass of cab by reading the article about Cabernet Sauvignon tasting notes that follows.
It will also contain additional fascinating details about the Cabernet Sauvignon’s history, food combinations, and so on.
1. What Is Cabernet Sauvignon?
The most well-known wine among American wine lovers is Cabernet Sauvignon, which was accidentally bred in the 17th century in southwest France from a red Cabernet Franc and a Sauvignon Blanc grapevine.
Despite having its roots in France, Cabernet is today made in almost all of the world’s main wine-producing regions such as Chile, California, Washington State, and the western part of Australia.
Cabernet Sauvignon has a level of alcohol that is over 13.5%. Most Cabernet Sauvignons, particularly those from regions like California, Australia, and Chile, have an alcohol percentage closer to 14.5% and occasionally even more than 15%.
With high fruit flavor concentrations and excellent aging potential, Cabernet Sauvignon is a robust and full-bodied red wine. An excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, or “Cab sav,” can mature for many years, partly because of its thick outer layer and robust tannins.
Cabernet Sauvignons are readily accessible and range significantly in price. This often contrasts sharply with lighter red wines like Pinot Noir in terms of style.
The name was Cabernet Sauvignon translates to “wild Cabernet”. Blackcurrant and other fruity aromas, as well as woodsy tastes like cedar, oak, and herbs, are all present in Cabernet Sauvignon’s deep, rich flavor.
It is also renowned for its hard tannins. Due to its strong tannin content and discernible acidity, the wine has tremendous potential for age as well.
2. What does Cabernet taste like?
Cabernet Sauvignon tasting notes:
Typical scents and tastes of Cabernet Sauvignon include: Blackcurrant, Blackberry, Crème de cassis, Black cherries, Boysenberry, Blueberry, Chocolate, Tobacco, Truffle, Cedar, Mint, Eucalyptus
The “green bell pepper” taste that makes Cabernet Sauvignon so well-known derives from a substance called pyrazine. But there are other recognizable aromas in Cabernet as well. The strong aroma of cabernet mutes the aromas of fruit and the too-sweet undertones.
The location of the grapes’ cultivation and the precise winemaking procedure will have an impact on the flavors, like Old World wine and New World wine.
However, Cabernet Sauvignon generally offers rich, luscious black fruit tastes like blackcurrant, blackberries, and cherry. Strong savory flavors like eucalyptus, cocoa, mint, tobacco, and cedar become more pronounced in Cabernet Sauvignon as wine ages.
Old World Cabernet Sauvignon from places like Bordeaux, France, typically has characteristics of tobacco, violets, graphite, and black fruit along with a strong herbal scent. For instance, the aroma of Cab Sauv Bordeaux wine will include a hint of earthiness together with black cherries and licorice. Additional observations on the Bordeaux wine tasting include Black Currant, Plum sauce, and Anise,…
Richer fruit taste may be found in New World Cabernet Sauvignon. You can feel the flavors of black cherry fruit, licorice, as well as black pepper with a trace of vanilla in the aftertaste.
Compared to Old World Cabernet Sauvignon wines, these wines have higher levels of alcohol (13.5–15.5% ABV), less tannin, and acidity. The following examples can point out some differences in taste based on the winemaking locations:
- California, US: The Napa Valley and Sonoma regions are where most California Cabernet Sauvignon wines originated. They frequently tasted like pencil lead, tobacco, mint, blackberry, and black currant.
- Australia: The wine has a mouthfeel of silky tannins, a nice acidity, and tastes of black cherry, bay leaf, and scents of white pepper, along with chocolate thanks to the mild environment of South Australia.
- Chile: These wines are mostly produced in Chile’s Central Valley wine area and include characteristics of blackberries, baking spice, black cherries, and green peppercorn.
You can see more:
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3. How Is Cabernet Sauvignon Made?
Cabernet Sauvignon wines are made using the standard red winemaking method, plus a few crucial steps along the way.
The winemaker will choose whether to remove the stems once the mature grapes are picked and taken to the basement for fermentation. The potential of destemming the grapes is high since Cabernet Sauvignon has excellent natural tannins.
The fermenting procedure selected will be determined by the wine style desired. While punching down produces wines with more delicate flavors, pump-overs typically produce richer, more powerful wines.
Malolactic fermentation follows alcoholic fermentation. The transformation of sharp, unpleasant malic acids into lactic acids provides the wines with a smooth texture.
Finally, the wine is matured. This can happen in a variety of containers, including barrels, amphorae, concrete, and stainless steel. Depending on the traits and features the winemaking team is aiming for, different containers may also be used.
4. Popular Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Blends
Blending partners for Cabernet Sauvignon are very varied. The most common of them, except the most obvious Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Carmenère (the components of a traditional Bordeaux combination), as well as Shiraz (in Australia’s preferred combination). A Cabernet – Tempranillo mix is currently typical in South America and Spain.
Even the brash Madiran wines made from Tannat are now often mellowed with Cabernet Sauvignon. In Tuscan IGTs as well as along the shores in Bolgheri, it is frequently seen blended with Sangiovese.
Blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, the signature wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, may seem like a strange combination. For a variety of reasons, this pairing is uncommon.
Contemporary red wines developed from a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are emerging worldwide, especially in central and eastern Europe, thanks to contemporary transportation techniques, which have given winemakers a world of potential.
Together, the two produce an unorthodox brew that combines the strong tannins and blackcurrant varietal characteristics of Cabernet with the earthy cherry tones of Pinot.
5. How to Enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon:
5.1. Serving temperatures
The ideal serving temperature for red wine is just below room temperature—not at the freezing point that standard refrigerators are usually set at.
Although some people prefer to advise serving Cabernet Sauvignon wine at about 57 to 58 °F for the finest flavor, the optimal serving temperature is going to be about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
If enjoying Cabernet Sauvignon at room temperature is what you’re used to, there’s nothing wrong with it. However, if you want the full flavor profiles and experience, it’s ideal to cool it briefly before serving.
5.2. Types of glass
The ideal red wine glass for serving Cabernet Sauvignon is one with a higher bowl. While the wine takes longer to get to your lips because of the bowl’s height and wider surface area, the wine might be exposed to more oxygen because of the bowl’s size.
As your sense of scent has a significant impact on your sense of taste, you may enhance the flavor of the wine by delaying the time it takes for it to reach your palate with each sip. Holding the glass of wine by the stem is the last thing you want to be sure you’re doing while consuming a Cabernet Sauvignon.
5.3. Swirl, Sip, and Savor a Glass of Cab
Use red wine glasses to sip Cabernet Sauvignon. To prevent accidentally overheating the wine using your hand, you should raise your glass by holding the stem.
Small sips are best. Aged and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon is frequently a wine for meditation. A glass should thus be consumed within 15 to 30 minutes. Never take a shot.
Never serve Cabernet Sauvignon with ice. Ice first dilutes the wine’s fragrance and flavor. Additionally, ice is frequently added to poor-quality or inexpensive beverages. Thus, adding ice may be considered a slight against the wine’s quality and your host as a result.
5.4. Food pairing
The tannins are crucial when pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with food. Protein is required to break down tannins. Since Cabernet has a high level of tannins, it pairs well with foods that are heavy in protein and not too lean.
Cabernet Sauvignon’s perfect soul partner is red meat. With the amount of fat in the meat, the wine’s tannins work in perfect harmony. However, Cab pairs well with cheese, heartier vegetarian foods, and fowl and poultry dishes.
Great appetizers that go particularly nicely with Cabernet Sauvignon are fruit salad, curds of cheese, mushroom tarts, and pretzels.
6. Is a Cabernet Sauvignon a dry wine?
Cabernet Sauvignon is regarded as a dry wine for the consumption needs of the general audience. Although the word “dry” means “not sweet,” some drinkers may perceive it to be sweet because the flavor of the fruit is frequently characterized as sweet. The majority of European red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon and others, are dry.
The amount of residual sugar in a wine dictates how dry it is, and the winemaker has considerable control over this. A great deal of Cabernet Sauvignon wines are Extra Dry or Dry, with 2 to 11 grams of residual sugar per liter, however, winemakers can also opt to use the Cabernet Sauvignon vine to produce sweeter wines.
7. Common Mistakes When Enjoying Cabernet Sauvignon
Mistake No. 1: Drink the wine at the incorrect temperature.
Perhaps you’ve heard that red wine shouldn’t be served cold and that white wine should. While not entirely incorrect, this is greatly oversimplified. Wine novices frequently make the error of drinking red wine too warmly and white wine considerably too coldly.
Why does this matter? Wine’s smells and tastes will be muted if it is served too cold. On the other hand, red wine, such as Sauvignon Cabernet, will taste bad when it’s too warm. Fruit tastes and other aromatic elements will be diminished at room temperature.
Mistake No. 2: Overfill a glass with Wine
It might be simple to get enthusiastic and overfill your glass whether throwing a party or having a drink at home. Avoid making this simple error. Although we don’t forbid you from having a second glass, smaller pours will enable you to savor each glass and each sip to the fullest. Wine glasses are made with a little additional room at the top.
Does it make it less likely that you’ll spill wine onto your rug? Yes, but that’s simply an added benefit. This design decision was made to make it simpler for you to swirl your wine.
Mistake No. 3: Opened Bottles Left Around Too Long
We understand that the loss of a cherished bottle is painful. However, as soon as a bottle of wine is opened, an unseen hourglass is flipped over, and you have to drink what’s inside before the time runs out—otherwise, the wine would taste awful. That’s accurate. The wine that is two weeks old can be consumed without risk, although eventually, it will begin to taste vinegary.
Mistake No. 4: Mistaken Bottle Opening
One of the typical novice wine errors is this. Don’t stress if you can’t open a bottle because the cork is difficult to remove, the corkscrew is missing, or you’ve never learned how. It’s easy. But that doesn’t make it any less significant.
Failure to correctly open a bottle can shorten the shelf life of your wine and could be dangerous if you shatter the container, leaving foil flakes in the container, etc.
8.1. What flavor does standard Cabernet Sauvignon have?
The location of the grapes’ cultivation and the precise winemaking procedure will have an impact on the flavors. But generally speaking, Cabernet Sauvignon features aromas involving peppercorns spices, tobacco, wood, and vanilla (from maturing in oak barrels) along with dark fruit tastes of cassis, black cherries, and blackberry.
8.2. What is the best way to sum up Cabernet Sauvignon?
The well-known white Sauvignon Blanc with the dark red Cabernet Franc grapes gave rise to the Cabernet Sauvignon variety. “Wild” is the meaning of the French term sauvage, which is the root of the English word sauvignon. Both wine producers and customers like the robust Cabernet Sauvignon. Customers adore dry Cabernet Sauvignon because of its strong aromas and tough tannins.
8.3. Is the flavor of Cabernet Sauvignon bitter?
Ironically, a young Cabernet’s harsh flavor is what permits it to develop into a fine wine. The thick outer layer of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes carries a high concentration of bitter tannins.
8.4. How hot or how chilly is Cabernet Sauvignon?
Temperatures between 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and constant humidity are good conditions for keeping red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon.
8.5. Is Merlot sweeter than Cabernet Sauvignon?
Merlot tends to taste a little bit sweeter because it doesn’t have the same strong tannins and earthy notes as Cabernet Sauvignon. They are both dry red wines, nevertheless, and have little residual sugar.
8.6. Does Merlot taste similar to Cabernet Sauvignon?
Both Cabernet and Merlot are dry wines. Both are not sweet, but Merlot has a propensity to taste sweeter because of its fruitier characteristics. Although Cabernet has gained popularity in recent years, Merlot is not something to be overlooked.
8.7. Compared to Pinot Noir, is Cabernet Sauvignon sweeter?
Both Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are dry red wines. They have comparable low residual sugar levels to Merlot wines, yet Cabernet Sauvignon has greater tannin levels, making it drier but not sweeter than Pinot Noir.
8.8. Does Shiraz resemble Cabernet Sauvignon?
Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wines have quite distinct structures, so it really boils down to preference. Shiraz frequently has a smoother, finer texture compared to Cabernet, which frequently has a richer flavor.
8.9. What distinguishes Cabernet Sauvignon?
Cabernet Sauvignon is distinguished by its deep red hue. Because the utilized grapes have thicker skin, cabs have a deeper red hue. One of the tiniest grape varieties utilized to make wine, these grapes have a better skin-to-pulp ratio.
8.10. What foods go well with Cabernet Sauvignon?
Nearly all types of red meat, including filet mignon, prime rib, and New York strip, combine best with Cabernet Sauvignon. Try lamb or ahi tuna with a pepper crust as well. It is recommended to drink the wine with food, and it works well with sauces and reductions.
8.11. Why is Cabernet Sauvignon so good?
The grape itself, cabernet, is literally made to last. Astringent tannins in Cabernet Sauvignon keep pests away from it on the vine, making it a particularly good wine for maturing. The structure and ability of the wine to age properly depend on the tannins found in Cabernet fruit.
Due to its accessibility, affordability, and ability to go well with a range of foods, Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful varietal for beginners. Since the grape is the same everywhere it is cultivated, but the soil, growing circumstances, temperature, and style vary, you may use it to experience the changes in terroir.
I’m hoping that this article on Cabernet Sauvignon tasting notes will provide you with additional insight into the many flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 2014, Leo Colon began working with Big Cottonwood Winery. Over the years he has remained part of this prestigious winery’s team and is also a contributor to other notable wine publications. As an ardent advocate for knowledge, Leo continues his vinous education to this day.