It’s International Cabernet Day the Thursday prior to Labor Day each year (8/31 this year), and thus, we offer fun Cab facts for you!
- Cabernet Sauvignon is the child of Cabernet Franc crossed with Sauvignon Blanc. And it was most likely not intentional. It occured in the 17th century in the Bordeaux region of Southern France. It most likely occurred naturally due to the parent grapes being planted in close vicinity to each other, and took on a life of its own.
- One of the noticeable flavors that gives Cab away in blind tastings is the green bell pepper note. This is caused by pyrazines, an aromatic organic compound also found in, wait for it… Green bell peppers! This compound also makes the green peppercorn, sage, and black pepper notes in the wine. This comes from the parent grape, Cabernet Franc, which also carries the pyrazines, and can throw a curveball at Sommeliers in blind tastings for higher level certifications. Winemakers have isolated the increase in this compound is directly related to the leafy growth of the vine, and vineyard managers now use techniques to manage the growth of the vines to directly affect the pyrazine levels in the wine.
- Globally, the majority of red wine blends are based on or have within them, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. CMS, Super Tuscans, Bordeaux blends, Meritage blends. Basically the only red blend sans Cabernet Sauvignon would be the Southern Rhône blends (of course, there are always exceptions).
- Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape globally.
- While it may be hard to believe, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the youngest grape varieties on the planet, which seems counterintuitive as it is one of the best grapes for ageing wines in a collection. Some of the best made examples from excellent vintages can age well for 20+ years.
- Aside from Antarctica, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on every continent.
- Due to laws in a number of countries (ours included), many times a bottle that states it is “Cabernet Sauvignon” is actually blended at smarcentages with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, or even Syrah or Sangiovese.
- Cabernet Sauvignon (from Napa) was the huge upsetter that tipped off the events of the Judgement of Paris (but Chardonnay played its part as well…).
- Cabernet Sauvignon is well suited to dry farming practices. There are even plantings in desert areas of the globe, like the Gobi Desert and Eastern Washington (yes, that is a desert, only 6″ of rainfall annually).
So, yeah, go get some Cab today!