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Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety is the great star of the world's most important wines, and a true example of elegance and complexity. It is a red grape variety originating from a spontaneous cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon that has found its home and its glory in the Bordeaux area. Since the 19th century, it has spread throughout Italy, achieving resounding success in Tuscany in the production of the famous Supertuscan wines. If vinified as a single variety, it produces intense and long-lived reds, rich in tannin and with good freshness. The typical note of green pepper can give way, after long ageing in wood and bottle, to a splendid range of spiced aromas such as tobacco, leather, chocolate, coffee and dried flowers, indicative of great personality and elegance.

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The Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety is the great star of the world's most important wines, and a true example of elegance and complexity. It is a red grape variety originating from a spontaneous cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon that has found its home and its glory in the Bordeaux area. Since the 19th century, it has spread throughout Italy, achieving resounding success in Tuscany in the production of the famous Supertuscan wines. If vinified as a single variety, it produces intense and long-lived reds, rich in tannin and with good freshness. The typical note of green pepper can give way, after long ageing in wood and bottle, to a splendid range of spiced aromas such as tobacco, leather, chocolate, coffee and dried flowers, indicative of great personality and elegance.

The Origins and its Diffusion in Italy

The history of this variety began in Bordeaux, where it was mentioned for the first time in the 18th century in a document written by the local politician Antoine Feuilhade and, a few years later, in a document drawn up by the administrator Nicolas Dupré de Saint-Maur. It is very likely that this grape was born spontaneously in the Gironde region from a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It soon became one of the most popular and famous varieties in Bordeaux, producing powerful and long-lived wines with elegant vegetal and spicy aromas. From France, it was exported all over the world during the 19th and 20th centuries, finding great success in Italy, throughout Eastern Europe, Lebanon and California. In fact, the most important wines of the Napa Valley and Sonoma County are now produced from this variety.

It was supposedly brought to Italy for the first time by Count Manfredo Balbo Bertone of Sambuy, on his return to Piedmont from a trip to France. From here it would then spread to all the other regions of Italy, finding great success especially in Tuscany in the second half of the 20th century. Today, the best Cabernet Sauvignon is produced not only in Tuscany but also in the regions of Sicily, Friuli, Veneto and South Tyrol, where it is appreciated for its freshness, elegance and expressive finesse.

Tuscan Cabernet Sauvignon is generally produced with long macerations and ageing in wood, in order to obtain powerful, complex, warm, smooth and structured expressions, with an international style, capable of developing positively in the bottle for many years. In the rest of Italy, depending on how it is produced, it gives life to wines that are more or less evolved and structured, at times even playing on freshness and a refined drinking pleasure. One of the most famous Sicilian wines is Cabernet Sauvignon Tasca, which is aged for 18 months in barriques.

Whichever way it is presented, this grape always manages to produce wines of the highest quality, with a complex and refined spiced and vegetal aromatic profile. This explains its great success all over the world.


The Identity Profile of a Noble Grape

It is a late-ripening grape variety that can withstand different climatic conditions in a formidable manner. In fact, Cabernet Sauvignon has adapted surprisingly well all over the world, thanks to its strong, resistant and vigorous nature. The berries are small, dark purple in colour when ripe, with a thick skin rich in pigments and tannins. The high acidity and vigorous tannins produce bottles with great ageing potential.

Often vinified with long macerations on the skins in order to obtain a concentrated and very structured must, it is a vine with great personality and intensity. The primary aromas recall wild berries, ripe red fruit but also vegetal hints of pepper, balsamic herbs and olives. Ageing in wood enriches it with hints of sweet spices and resting in the bottle provides softness, elegance and complexity.

The characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon can vary depending on the method of production, the time of maceration and the ageing in wood. In general, the balsamic and vegetal profile, a strong but not imposing structure and an elegant freshness can be identified as the main features.


From the Grapes to the Table: The Best Pairings

Because of its intense, structured and vigorous character, it is very often paired with very tasty red meat dishes. Its smoothness makes it an ideal accompaniment to barbecued and grilled meats, from Florentine to mutton steaks, but also ribs, bacon, sausages and pork chops. Alternatively, it can be paired with strong cheeses and mushroom or truffle dishes. Less developed and less potent expressions can also be paired with savoury risottos, such as saffron and sausage, rolls and meat pies. 

The widespread diffusion of this variety in California, where it is affectionately known as Cab, has been followed by a growing appreciation by the American public. It has become a standard choice for some American dishes such as the hamburger, the traditional steak cooked on the barbecue and covered with BBQ sauce, and grilled peppers. Another modern, quirky but equally appropriate pairing is with spiced, hot and very tasty Chinese dishes such as stuffed aubergines and beef with chilli.

If you want to discover the best pairing suggestions, browse the large selection of wines on offer on Callmewine's online wine shop. Compare prices and characteristics, and discover the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines for sale online at the best prices on the web.