Blog featured A Taste of Royalty: Discovering Cabernet Sauvignon

A Taste of Royalty: Discovering Cabernet Sauvignon

August 30th is just a week away which means that International Cabernet Sauvignon Day has almost arrived.  Now the most planted grape variety in the world, what is it about this powerful wine that drinkers across the globe love so much?  As they say, Cab is King.  Fortunately, we have picked out a few of our favorites for you.

Bordeaux’s Beloved Varietal

Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross of two varieties which thrive in the maritime climate of Bordeaux: Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.  Being native to such a wet climate, vineyard managers in the region needed a thick-skinned grape that would not be prone to mildew.  It is for this reason that Cab was initially planted in the 17th century.  Once the wines went to market, consumers (especially the English) at the time became enraptured with its deep coloring, powerful body, and tannic structure.

As vineyard acreage increased around the city of Bordeaux, Cabernet plantings slowly found a foothold on the international stage as well.  Winemakers in Spain, Italy, and Portugal started to respect the wines produced using Cabernet Sauvignon, and many began adding it in small percentages to their blends.  The grape found some success in the New World in the middle of the 19th century as plantings started in Chile, Australia, and the United States.

Resetting the Board

The root louse Phylloxera presented a unique opportunity, one which Cabernet jumped at.  As the vineyards around the world were destroyed by the bug, the final quarter of the 19th century saw massive replanting efforts.  Many vineyard managers, now financially weakened by the unexpected loss of their vines, had to think about consumers more than ever to keep food on the table.  As the price of Cabernet had been slowly growing in virtually every market, the variety became a viable option for replanting.

 

Understanding the Style

Due to its thick skin and small berry size, wines produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are often incredibly focused and powerful.  The thick skins result in a tannic structure that can take years to soften in bottle, allowing for unique nuances to develop over time.  Oak barrels are a common companion with Cab as the wine is developing before it is bottled, allowing them to soften.  Cabernet Sauvignon wines can have a range of flavor profiles, including green bell pepper, black currants, mint, tea, cedar, plum, raspberry, and currants.

A Few of Our Favorites

2017 Ranasesina - Spain

One mark of an incredibly wine is its ability to pair well with food.  Ranasesina is a foodies dream wine, its lush tannins and vibrant, spicy fruit character rest over a wonderful backbone of acidity.  On the nose there is a distinct touch of blackberry, mint, and spice. The nuances unfold on the palate as tobacco, boysenberry, and cassis create both complexity and harmony in the wine.  Ranasesina does not discriminate, pairing well with classic Italian meatballs, braised short ribs, or a simple charcuterie plate.

Awards:

2018 Denver International Wine Competition Silver Medal

2018 Global Wine Awards Silver Medal

2018 International Women's Wine Competition Silver Medal

 

2017 Don Ercilla “Heroique” - Chile

The last two decades have seen a massive increase in the number of Chilean wineries, and the results could not be more promising.  With over 2,000 miles of coastline, the country has an average width of just 110 miles, Chile is uniquely situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains Range.  The combination of high peaks to the east and moderating ocean to the west has yielded unique meso-climates across the country.

The 2017 Don Ercilla “Heroique” is a remarkable representation of what Chile’s winemakers are capable of producing.  The wine underwent a slow fermentation, allowing for optimal extraction of tannin, color, and flavor from the skins.  A lively, spicy nose gives way to notes of raspberry, black currants, and baking chocolate on the palate.

Awards:

2018 Denver International Wine Competition Silver Medal

2018 Global Wine Awards Silver Medal

2018 International Women's Wine Competition Bronze Medal

 

2017 Scissor Kick - Australia

Australia is an island of extremes.  As cold air is pushed up from the south pole by water currents, it mixes with the warmer air of the Australian Outback.  This conflux of temperatures has resulted in a one-of-a-kind climate for growing the King of Grapes.

Scissor Kick Cellars has crafted a wonderfully ripe, voluptuous Cab, perfect for pairing with rich, heavy meat.  Black raspberry, eucalyptus, and mint keep the wine lively at the front of the palate, while smooth, dark chocolate and tobacco deliver an incredibly silky finish.

Already a Firstleaf member? You can still get this tasting pack HERE.

Cab is king, but you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy the incredible wines produced by the grape.  Get some meat in the oven and corks on the table for one incredible International Cabernet Sauvignon Day, 2018.

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