Don’t wait ’til the weekend to start celebrating- today is National Cabernet Day. Chicas y chicos, get a jump start on your Labor Day festivities and pour yourself a glass of juicy, fruity, bold Cabernet Sauvignon. Go ahead, do it!
Since you’re probably getting ready to leave town or hit the beach this weekend, this post is short and sweet. Here are seven fun facts about Cabernet Sauvignon:
Passport, Please: Cabernet Sauvignon originated in France’s Bordeaux region, but today it’s one of the most widely planted red wine grapes in the world. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, it’s considered an international variety, meaning it grows well in a variety of conditions outside its natural habitat and still produces great wine.
Aromatherapy: Some of the typical aromas associated with Cabernet Sauvignon are black cherry, blueberries, dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, black currant, vanilla (from Cabs aged in new oak), cigar box (from well-aged Cabs), cinnamon, and bell pepper (typical of cooler climate Cabs).
Best in Show: Napa Valley and the Left Bank of France’s Bordeaux wine region produce some of the better-known examples of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Old World/New World: Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes grown in warmer regions such as Napa Valley will have higher alcohol and more fruit flavors. Cooler climate Cabs, such as those from France, will be less fruit-forward, a bit lower in alcohol, and boast elegant, subtle aromas of bell pepper, earth and lead pencil.
Pucker Up: Cabernet Sauvignon is high in tannins, those flavor compounds that make your teeth feel dry after you take a sip. Some people refer to highly tannic wines as having “pucker power.” Tannins can add complexity and texture to a wine, and they protect the wine from oxidizing. If you age Cabernet Sauvignon (or any other highly tannic wine), the tannins will soften over time.
Mi Gente: I have to give a shout-out to Latin American countries that produce some delicioso Cabs: Mexico’s Guadalupe Valley produces some big, bold, fruit-tastico Cabernet Sauvignons, and Cabernet Sauvignon happens to be the most widely planted red grape in Chile, although Chile is better known for its Carmenere.
Food, Glorious Food: Because of its high tannins and ripe fruit flavors, you can pair Cabernet Sauvignon with roasted lamb, carne asada, rich, creamy cheeses (hello, Camembert!), and yes, hamburgers and French fries, so now you know what to bring to that end-of-summer Labor Day barbecue.