Cabernet Sauvignon: Characteristics | Wine | Grape variety | Pairings

NOTABLE REGIONS: Francia (Bordeaux, Médoc), Italia (Toscana e Friuli) California (Napa Valley and Sonoma County), Cile, Australia, Argentina, Spagna, Sudafrica


Cabernet Sauvignon is a bewitching and multifaceted grape variety, whose powerful tannic structure can give life to extremely complex and long-lived wines. It is the most cultivated variety of wine grapes in the world, often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc in the so-called Bordeaux blends. Let’s discover all the characteristics, aromas and combinations of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Let’s get to know it better by discovering together the origins of the vine, its ampelographic and agronomic characteristics, the organoleptic characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon wine, the perfect gastronomic combinations with Cabernet Sauvignon wine, the production areas, the curiosities related to this variety, the bottles Iconic and the best quality-price Cabernet Sauvignons.


Often confused with Cabernet Franc and Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon has origins that have been uncertain for a long time.
It was the famous geneticist Carole Meredith, at the end of the 90s, who typified its DNA, confirming its identity: as the name suggests, Cabernet Sauvignon is a hybrid that comes from spontaneous crossing, probably occurred in the 17th century in the Bordeaux area , between Cabernet Franc (red grape variety) and Sauvignon Blanc (white grape variety), summarizing the best characteristics of both in a single variety.
The name ‘Sauvignon’ derives from the French word sauvage (wild) which indicates a vine that grows free and flourishing.
The Cabernet Sauvignon vine was imported in Italy, in the province of Alessandria, at the beginning of the 1800s but it was after the war that this vine experienced a great expansion, being gradually planted throughout Italy to replace the local vines destroyed by phylloxera and battles.
Today Cabernet Sauvignon is grown not only in Europe but also in America, Africa, New Zealand and Australia, becoming the most widespread red grape variety in the world and, together with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the international grape par excellence.



Where is the Cabernet Sauvignon grape grown in Italy?

Cabernet Sauvignon is particularly present in Tuscany, where the phenomenon of Super Tuscans was born in the 70s: in addition to being vinified a purity, the famous DOC Bolgheri is produced in the northern Maremma region, in the assembly called Bordeaux blend, using French varieties Such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah.
We find excellent wines produced by Cabernet Sauvignon in Veneto in the Euganean Hills, in Friuli in the Collio and in Alto Adige in the Bolzano basin, but also in Sicily, Sardinia, Lazio, Campania and Emilia-Romagna.


Where is Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the world?

Reference point for quality and refinement of Cabernet Sauvignon wine is the Bordeaux region, in particular the Médoc area (Haut-Médoc), on the left bank of the Garonne river, where the best wines with Cabernet Sauvignon in the world are produced.

Cabernet Sauvignon is widespread and famous also in Spain, South Africa, California (Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley), Chile (Maipo Valley), Australia (Barossa Valley), Argentina (Mendoza) and New Zealand (Hawkes’s Bay); In China, it is one of the most popular and appreciated grape varieties.


Il Cabernet ha un colore rosso rubino intenso con riflessi porpora e diventa granato con l’invecchiamento

COLOR OF THE CABERNET SAUVIGNON WINE: vinified in purity, Cabernet Sauvignon gives rise to a wine of a very intense ruby ​​red color, often impenetrable, with purplish, almost blue nuances.

AROMAS OF THE CABERNET SAUVIGNON WINE: Cabernet Sauvignon is a decidedly exuberant grape with aromas of strong identity. It has a complex nose with characteristics reminiscent first of all of aromas of red and dark pulp fruits such as blueberries, black cherry, plum, blackberry and black currant, but also traces of undergrowth such as moss and rocks (graphite).

These aromas in some cases integrate wonderfully with notes of pepper and crumpled tomato leaf, inherited from Sauvignon Blanc, the so-called pyrazines, which emerge especially when Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in cool climates. The aging in wood of Cabernet Sauvignon allows an evolution of the aromas towards bewitching tertiary, balsamic and spicy notes, such as eucalyptus, mint, tobacco, roasted coffee and bitter cocoa.

TASTE OF CABERNET SAUVIGNON WINE: on the palate it is warm, broad and full-bodied; It has an excellent structure and the tannins masterfully envelop the mouth, thanks to the high amount of polyphenolic substances present in the peel.
The tannins, combined with a fair acidity and a good alcoholic presence, make Cabernet Sauvignon an extremely long-lived wine: it lends itself very well to aging in wood, which makes it softer and rounder by softening the tannins, and the Aging can vary from 3-4 years, up to even 20.
Since the skin is so full of polyphenolic substances, depending on the time of maceration we will obtain wines that are more or less light, more or less concentrated.


In Italy the primacy of the most famous wine produced with Cabernet Sauvignon goes without doubt to the famous Sassicaia, obtained from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and to a lesser extent from Cabernet Franc, put on the market for the first time with today’s label in 1968 by Tenuta San Guido , and has now become one of the most famous Italian wines internationally.

Many famous in Italy are also the San Leonardo of Tenuta San Leonardo (assembled with Carmenére, and Merlot), the Darmagi of Gaja, the Coniale of Castellare di Castellina, the ‘Lupicaia’ of Castello del Terriccio, the Lafóa of Colterenzio, the Toren Riserva.

By Tiefenbrunner or the Private Collection and De Marchi Collection of Isole and Olena and many others.
The most expensive bottle in the world, on the other hand, is Californian (Napa Valley): it is the Cabernet Sauvignon Screaming Eagle, sold at a charity auction for $ 500,000, thus winning the record for the most expensive wine in the world.

Discover our selection with tasting of the 20 best Italian Cabernet Sauvignons value for money.


Cabernet Sauvignon wine lends itself to many combinations but meat is certainly one of the princes: game, spicy and aromatic, such as wild boar, roe deer, pheasant, which enhances the notes of juniper; Fatty and rich dishes such as roasts, braised meats, sauces and dips; But also more summery dishes, such as grilled pork.
Interesting food and wine combinations Cabernet Sauvignon can be those with truffles or with first courses such as Milanese risotto. It should be served at 16-20 degrees, in large medium-large goblets to allow proper oxygenation to fully enjoy its aromas.


The healing properties of wine have been known since ancient times: the Arabs and Romans were the first to have discovered and practiced wine therapy, a set of must and wine-based treatments that exploit its antioxidant properties.
Cabernet Sauvignon, whose skin is rich in polyphenols, lends itself particularly well to this use and is used in particular in cosmetics, for the creation of smoothing, moisturizing and anti-wrinkle treatments.
But that is not all.
An English cardiologist, William McCrea, a fervent supporter of the beneficial powers of resveratrol (a phenol present in the peel of various fruits, to which antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood-thinning properties are attributed) has been prescribing a glass of 125 to his patients for ten years. Ml of wine per day. Obviously this is Cabernet Sauvignon wine, the Chilean Montes Reserva.
Is red wine good blood?


FEATURES OF THE LEAF: the upper page is hairless, slightly bullous, opaque and dark green in color; The lower one is arachnoid, light green in color. It has light green veins with a reddish base, and its teeth are very pronounced, irregular and convex. The petiole is of medium length, green in color.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BUNCH: the clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon are quite small, on average compact, cylindrical-pyramidal in shape and often winged. The peduncle is large and semi-woody.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BUCKET: the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is small and spherical; Its skin is thick, blue-black in color, rich in bloom, coloring substances and tannins: chewing it reveals the characteristic herbaceous flavor. The pulp is fleshy, slightly astringent and the juice is almost colorless. The pedicel is short, thin and reddish, and its separation from the grape is easy.


Cabernet Sauvignon is a very strong vine that adapts well to the different climates of the planet, expressing itself differently depending on the temperatures while maintaining its recognizable characteristics: in cooler climates it matures with greater difficulty and herbaceous notes will predominate (the classic ‘Pepper or tomato leaf’), while in warmer climates blackberry, blueberry and spices will triumph.

Being a medium-late ripening vine it needs a lot of sun to reach complete ripeness; It loves gravelly and well-drained soils, which allow its roots to penetrate deeply. It is moderately vigorous and with a discreet and constant production.
It is generally raised in counter espalier, with spurred cordon pruning, but it adapts well to almost all forms of pruning.