Who knew there were so many days in the year that give us guilt-free permission to drink wine! Today we celebrate Cabernet Sauvignon, which has wine geeks worldwide doing a happy dance. To celebrate, here are some fun facts to impress your friends with when you pop open that bottle.
It’s a Love Child
Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc? How scandalous! It’s like a union of the fair maiden and powerful knight in armor. Back in the day (as in the 17th century in southwestern France), the two varieties were often planted together in the same vineyard. In 1997, DNA profiling was conducted, confirming this long-ago union and determining that it most likely happened spontaneously.
Cab is grown in nearly every major wine producing country and is the world’s most widely planted premium red wine grape. Historically, the most coveted and beloved bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon came from the Bordeaux appellation of France. However, in 1973, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars beat out its French counterpart at the Judgement of Paris in 1976 (cue Bottleshock movie), which was a defining moment for California Cabernet.
It’s the Spice of Life
Cabernet has higher levels of a compound called pyrazine, which results in aromas of black pepper, green peppercorn, black currant and sometimes even bell pepper. Pyrazines change over time and can eventually integrate with the other flavor profiles of the wine, which is one reason aged Cabs can take on complexity.
Now that we are nearing harvest, it’s the perfect time to go leaf peeping! If you see a vine sprouting medium sized leaves with five overlapping lobes, then you’ve likely encountered Cabernet!
Despite it’s relatively small size, the Cabernet grape has a thick skin, which means it’s packed with tannins. Tannins are able to cut through fats and proteins that collect on your tongue from food. Since steak has a higher level of protein and fat, it requires a wine with a higher tannin structure. Cabernet, enter stage right.