Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely grown wine grape variety in the world! That also makes it one of the most popular wines to drink across our globe. Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in countless different countries and regions, each creating their own expression of the flavorful and robust grape variety.
Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in warm climates with ample sunlight and well drained soils. The grape produces a wine with high tannins, high acidity, and rich black fruit flavors. You can find it as a single variety wine or as a blend such as the famous red wines of Bordeaux. In this post we will be discussing Cabs from California, Virginia, Italy, France, Australia and Chile, although there are many other regions that grow this grape!
Napa Valley is one of the most famous regions for producing Cabernet. It’s warm climate and soils are perfect for a long ripening period and ensuring rich concentrated flavors.
Charles Krug winery was the first established winery in Napa Valley, so they have winemaking and producing Cabernet Sauv down to a T! The good thing is you can find their wines almost anywhere, so if I’m out at a wine shop or grocery store and know I need a good Cab for a dinner, this is always a solid option. The Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 has a full bodied mouthfeel with tons of black fruits, toasted oak and cocoa.
The 2017 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Santa Cruz Mountains is a great region for Cabernet because it produces elegant and smooth wines with nicely balanced acidity. This Cabernet is macerated on the skins for 30 days to bring out an incredible deep color. It is then aged in 50% new French and American oak for 18 months. This wine has notes of blackberry, black plum, tobacco, bay leaf, and dried herbs with a mineral quality on the finish. It was delicious now but definitely has the potential to age.
Bordeaux is the other most famous region for producing magnificent Cabernet Sauvignons. You’ll find more Cabernet heavy Bordeaux blends on the left side of the river bank! When comparing old world and new world wines, I love to use the example of Napa Cab versus Bordeaux Cab. They contain the same grape, but taste so incredibly different! If you want to dive deeper into the comparisons, check out my recent blog post to learn more about the difference between Old World vs New World Wines.
This Dauprat Pauillac 2014 has a little bit of dark fruit notes, with a lot of cedar, leather, and earth. It still has nice acidity after 7 years and a smooth mouthfeel and long finish. If you prefer your Bordeaux to be heavier on the cab, these 4 appellations (all located on the left side of the river) are the ones you should look out for when buying a Bordeaux:
South Australia is home to some amazing wine growing regions perfect for growing Cabernet Sauvignon.
Coonawarra, a wine growing region located in South Australia, has a combination of a cooler, dry climate. The soils are limestone + Terra Rossa, and with the climate it creates a perfect environment for producing elegant Cabernet Sauvignon wines. This Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon is very approachable and bright with notes of dark cherries, plums, a touch of spice and graphite. This is a perfect budget friendly Cabernet!
For a Cabernet Sauvignon that is age worthy and outstanding, this Greenock Creek 1995 was the highlight of my birthday this past year (yes, it was a birth year wine!) It’s from the Barossa Valley. This wine after 25 years had tons of fig, raspberry, jam, sweet tobacco and a loooong finish with a soft mouthfeel. Clare Valley is also a prime spot for Cabs in Australia! They have great options of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet – Merlot blends.
Margaret River, located in Western Australia, is also known for its production of quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines. It’s located right on the coast with a heavily maritime-influenced climate. The climate is actually quite similar to Bordeaux, and allows for the creation of complex and elegant wines.
I’ll be honest, growing Cabernet Sauvignon in Virginia isn’t easy. But in the last few years, there has been a focus on soils that are appropriate to Cabernet Sauvignon and it has made a huge difference. Most producers in VA plant Cabernet vines on the warmest, well drained, and steepest slopes.
This Thatch 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Carter’s Mountain vineyard which is cooler with older vines that produce a medium-bodied wine, with more red fruits and some peppery and herbaceous notes from the cool mountain air climate.
If you want an outstanding wine (but definitely a splurge), try RDV wines from Northern VA. They are so smooth and age worthy. They can stand up to any Napa Cab or Bordeaux in my opinion! Just be ready to spend $100+.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted black grape in Chile! There are 4 major wine regions that produce these age worthy reds; Aconcagua, Maipo, Cachapoal, and Colchagua. I love buying Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon because the value is amazing! You will find great quality reds for a good deal.
This Laurent Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Maipo Valley region which is known for having more of a mediterranean climate. This wine has a mix of some red and dark fruits on the nose and palate, with medium body, acidity and tannins. It’s definitely smooth and a pretty easy drinking Cab! It’s a great Cabernet for a night in and a last minute dinner pairing. The cheddar cheese from the nachos paired with this cab was perfection!
For those who don’t know, a Super Tuscan is a red wine from Tuscany that can contain non-indigenous grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Italy has thousands of indigenous varieties but the IGT classification allows Italian producers to get creative and blend other grapes together.
This il Fauno 2017 is a favorite of mine. This red blend is very pronounced on the nose with notes of red cherries, plums, cedar, vanilla, and a little spice. This wine would be delicious with any kind of grilled meat, pizza, or pasta!