Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most planted grape, black in colour, and known for its possibility to produce tannin rich red wines with good ageing potential.

The number one characteristic that is used to describe Cabernet Sauvignon is black current, which can be attributed to one of its parents, Sauvignon Blanc.

The second typical characteristic is that it is rich in tannins, which it owes to its other parent, Cabernet Franc.

Typical other aromas linked to Cabernet Sauvignon are plums, cedar wood for young wines.

For a wine with age, you can expect to find cigar box, tobacco, chocolate, stables and coffee.

From a wine making point of view, Cabernet Sauvignon is highly adaptable when it comes to soil, as long as the ground is well drained.

In Europe it is more common to find Cabernet Sauvignon in a blend, with for example Merlot in Bordeaux, or with Sangiovese in Toscana.

In Australia, as well as in Languedoc-Roussillon, blending CS with Syrah is a classic. If you want to find a varietal CS, it is easier to look at what is offered by Californian, Chilean, or South African wine makers.

A Californian Cabernet Sauvignon is likely to express lower tannins and aromas of mint or eucalyptus together with American oak vanilla.

An Australian Cabernet Sauvignon can express similar flavours but with less vanilla oak. Warm climate Cabernet Sauvignon, such as a number of wines from for example Chile, will have a tendency to be jammy. This can be a common characteristic also for wines from warmer parts of Australia and California.

You have to look up though, as higher altitude grapes from other districts might produce wines with quite different characters.

Food pairing
While generally being tannin rich,
Cabernet Sauvignon wines not only pair well with meat and game meat
dishes, it requires red meat to balance the richness of tannins. The wine is best served 16-18°C/61-64°F.

If blended, especially when it is only a small portion of the blend, it will pair well also with pork or lamb dishes.

Where is it grown?
Being a versatile and enduring grape, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown basically all over the world. It is the dominant grape in Haut-Medoc, and is also frequently used in blends from Graves.

Nevertheless, even if it is planted on 288.781 ha/713.593 ac (an increase with thirty percent in ten years), it still holds only two and a half percent of the area devoted to wine grape cultivation in the world.

As can be seen from the list, Cabernet Sauvignon is among the five most planted grapes in many of the most important wine countries in the world.

  • France 54.434 ha/134.509 ac, MPG 5
  • Chile 40.728 ha/100.641 ac, MPG 1
  • USA 34.778 ha/85.938 ac, MPG 2
  • Australia 25.967 ha/64.166 ac, MPG 3
  • Spain 23.237 ha/57.420 ac, MPG 8
  • China 22.612 ha/55.875 ac, MPG 1
  • Argentina 16.372 ha/40.456 ac, MPG 5
  • Italy 13.724 ha/33.913 ac, MPG 5
  • South Africa 12.325 ha/30.456 ac, MPG 2
  • Bulgaria 8.436 ha/20.846 ac, MPG 2
  • Moldavia 7.590 ha/18.755 ac, MPG 6
  • Ukraine 4.869 ha/12.032 ac, MPG 3
  • Romania 3.718 ha/9.187 ac, MPG 9
  • Russia 3.593 ha/8.878 ac, MPG 1
  • Hungary 2.863 ha/7.075 ac, MPG 7
  • Portugal 1.671 ha/4.129 ac, MPG 22
  • Greece 1.550 ha/3.830 ac, MPG 11
  • Algeria 1.510 ha/3.731 ac, MPG 6

Plantings of less than 1.000 ha/2.471 ac can be found in (presented in order of decreasing acreage): Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia, Israel, Austria, Slovakia, Canada, New Zealand, Slovenia, Turkey, Cyprus, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Myanmar, and United Kingdom.

Cabernet Sauvignon originates from Bordeaux, where it has been documented as early as in the early eighteenth century.