Bold and complex, a Cabernet Sauvignon is an ideal wine to enjoy with rich, hearty foods. With more strength and structure than a Merlot or a Pinot Noir, but enough subtlety for even more experienced wine drinkers to enjoy, this is a highly desired wine varietal. It is made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which thrive in warm climates and rich soil. While often thought of as a full-bodied wine, it is not hard to find an excellent medium-bodied Cabernet as well.
Cabs are traditionally well-balanced, with light acidity and plenty of tannins for that extra intensity that some red wine drinkers love. They possess some of the most dynamic flavor profiles, with notes of warm spice, dark fruit, and wood. Raspberry, cherry, bell pepper, anise, clove, vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate, cedar, oak, and leather are some of the notes found in these coveted wines.
With a deep red color and powerful flavor, this is not the wine to drink alone, but rather with a roasted venison or well-seasoned steak. Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with any type of beef dish as the tannins are softened with protein, bringing forth the rich fruit notes and warmth from the wine. Avoid spicy sauces, but embrace red wine, butter, and tomato based sauces. Strong, dark cheeses can stand up to Cabernets. This is not necessarily a good wine to pair with most types of fish, but a seared tuna with a beurre rouge sauce and black pepper is magnificent with Cabernet Sauvignon. While perfect with rich meats, Cabernet also works remarkably well with chocolate dishes, particularly dark chocolate.
Where are Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown? This varietal is produced all over the world, although it is extremely popular in California and South America where the climate is warm, and in France where the grapes are blended with other varietals to make Bordeaux wine. Napa Valley in California produces excellent Cabernets. It is not unusual to find incredible Cabernets from anywhere from Argentina to South Africa.