52 Drinks 52 Weeks – Cabernet Sauvignon


The birthday of monarch of red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon is approaching on the 30th of August. Here are few snippets for all the vino enthusiasts out there

The Personality

It grows with relative easy in any place moderately warm, it has a thick skin, resistance to disease, modest yields, easy ripening, and lovely luscious wines made this an early crowd pleaser with mouthwatering high acidity, tannins, and alcohol, all held together with notes of blue and black fruits, mint, game meants, tobacco, leather, and much more as it ages. The term Sauvignon comes from sauvage, meaning ‘wild’, perhaps hinting at its origins. But it was only in 1997 that the world was shocked into realisation that Cabernet Sauvignon was an accidental cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Origins

What we do know is that it truly became famous once Bordeaux took a liking to it, where it was initially called Petite Vidure, perhaps from the hardness of its wood (vigne dure) And it worked for their soils and type of wine. The weather suited it, the barrel ageing added wonderful facets to this rough diamond, and its potential for long term ageing made it aptly placed to become a royal among grapes.  From here it spread out to the rest of the world, creating new nomenclatures like Meritage in California, Cape Blends in South Africa, and Super Tuscans in neighbouring Italy.

Steven Spurrier’s International tasting which usurped Bordeaux and established the legitimacy of Californian red wines at the Judgement of Paris in 1976, only furthered the reach and reputation of this grape. Movie has been made depicting this event, Bottleshock.

The Champion Indian Wines

In India, there have been a few contenders for world class Cabs, KRSMA comes to mind, so does Sula’s Dindori reserve, and Reveilo’s Reserves range Cab. York’s Arros and Grover’s La Reserve and Vijay Amritraj have a blended template. The Vallonne Vineyards’s Anokhee and also for their 10th Anniversary reserve red which was an exclusive 2400-bottle production of an outstanding varietal aged Cab. 

Must Trys’ International

If you want to have a good intro to this grape, you need to find a reliable producer from a reputed region. Apart from Bordeaux and Napa, try Cabernets from Tuscany in Italy, Coonawarra and Margaret River in Australia, Gimblett Gravel in New Zealand, Chile’s Colchagua and Maipo Valleys and South Africa’s Stellenbosch and Paarl regions.  well aged Paulliac and definitely the guts of a Coonawarra, and when the pocket is light, a Barossa red
It’s also given its strong pillars of acidity, alcohol, tannins, body, and flavours, Cabernets can age well and develop seriously complex examples. Be it the controversial 1787 Chateau Lafite, or James Bond’s pick Chateau Angelus, the Judgement of Paris winner Stag’s Leap, or California’s famed Screaming Eagle and Opus Ones. The Aussie Penfolds’s Block 42 claims to have the world oldest still producing Cabs vines which are a fabulous sight by all means, or Chile’s Errazuriz and Montes, or South Africa’s Thelema.

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