Cabernet Sauvignon: Learn Your Wine

By Betchy Crocker

Hooray for wine and Friday. Let’s talk about Cabernet Sauvignon.


Cabernet Sauvignon is made from a tiny grape with a thick skin and is probs one of the most famous wine varieties – proving once again that being small and betchy makes you super popular. It’s grown in pretty much every major wine producing country but probably got its start in Bordeaux. The best Cab Sauvs come from that region, but those from Napa Valley in California are a close second. It’s a relatively new variety of grape/wine, created around the 17th century as a result of crossing Cabernet Franc grapes with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Types and tastes:

As with most wines, the prominent tastes kind of depend on where the grapes are grown. For instance, in a cooler climate, the wine may have more blackcurrant notes along with green bell pepper notes – sort of your telltale sign of a Cab Sauv even though it’s really fucking weird.

For all of these, you’re going to get darker fruits like blackcurrant, blackberry, plums, and raisins – no pear or strawberry shit here. Also, you’ll get a bit of oak, spice, and pepper for the more intense varieties. If you’ve chosen a complex Cab, you’ll also be tasting herbs (you’ll get eucalyptus from Cabs grown in Australia) and even kind of a chocolatey flavor. If you really wanna start splitting hairs:

  • For the easiest drinking (chugging) variety, go with a fresh fruit Cab Sauv which will present the whole fruity thing right upfront in a bright and not too crazy way without a lot of back taste.
  • Secondly, there’s the intense fruit variety, which is more medium-bodied (so not really “light” on the whole fruity thing).
  • A step up, you have the highly concentrated fruit variety. This has a lot of tannins, is full-bodied and a bit heavier but still presents fruit flavor. You’ll start getting the oak and spice in this kind.
  • Lastly, there’s the elegant variety which has a complex combo of fruit and tannin and can be somewhere between medium and full bodied. This will combine the complex, fruit, and earthy flavors – the best of allllllll the things. Obviously.

Drink with:

Because of tannins in Cab Sauv, the wine is kind of made for heavier dishes – especially meat. Most Cabs will go great alongside a steak, burger, prime rib, sausage, or lamb dish. Also, if you’re having a fancy wine party, you’ll want to pair this one with something strong – like a Gruyere, Stilton, or Cheddar cheese. If you want to go by specific type:

  • The fresh fruit variety will go best with lighter cheeses – so maybe a milder cheddar as opposed to a farmhouse Cheddar.
  • The middle of the road intense fruit varieties will pair well with lamb or venison, since the meat tends to have a bit more of a pronounced flavor.
  • If you have a Cab with a high concentration of fruit and super-front-of-your-palate tannins, you can serve alongside regular red meat like steak.
  • Lastly, the elegant variety will go wonderfully with beef or wild game like pheasant, quail, or venison.

Again, to make sure you know what you’re getting, talk to the hot guys working at the wine cellar or wine lounge. If you want one that won't break the bank but isn't like, shitty, try Mondavi or Beringer.




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