What’s the biggest, baddest, most well-known kid in school when it comes to red wine grape varieties? Most wine professionals out there would agree that Cabernet Sauvignon wins the popularity contest by a landslide. If you’ve consumed red wine at some point in your life, you’ve more likely than not tasted this robust red varietal. But what exactly is Cab Sauv’s deal? We’re breaking down America’s favorite red wine grape with the answers to these eight questions.

What is Cabernet Sauvignon?

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most renowned red wine grape varieties. But you may not know that the grape is actually a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. In other words, your two other favorite grape varieties had a baby that turned into the most popular kid on the block. The original mix took place in the 1600s in the southwestern part of France.

What does Cabernet Sauvignon look like?

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have thick, black skins. The variety buds late and produces naturally low yields.

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Where does Cabernet Sauvignon grow?

Cabernet Sauvignon grows in nearly every wine producing region of the world, from as far north as Washington State, to as far south as the Yarra Valley in Southern Australia.

What are the best regions for Cabernet Sauvignon?

When it comes to Old World, Bordeaux is certainly the most renowned region for Cabernet Sauvignon, specifically the Left Bank. Tuscany has also become another huge Old World player for the grape variety, since the creation of the Super Tuscan. As for New World, California, especially Napa, has played a huge role in the grape’s popularity, as well as various regions in Chile, southern Australia, and Washington State.

Is a Bordeaux Blend the same thing as Cabernet Sauvignon?

Cabernet Sauvignon is an important player in Bordeaux, especially on the Left Bank. Most wines coming out of Bordeaux are blends. Left Bank blends are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot and Cab Franc playing secondary roles. On the Right Bank, Merlot is king (generally speaking), with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc playing second fiddle.

What does Cabernet Sauvignon taste like?

In its most traditional flavor profile, Cabernet Sauvignon produces full-bodied wines with strong tannins and prevalent acidity, both of which factor into the wine’s incredible ability to age. Cabernet Sauvignons from cooler regions will produce wines with slight mint and green pepper notes that become more noticeable over time. Cabernet Sauvignon from more temperate climates will produce wines with dark black cherry and currant notes, and significantly warmer regions will produce powerful wines with flavors of jammy black fruit.

How much does Cabernet Sauvignon cost?

Cabernet Sauvignon can range anywhere from the single digits all the way up to the thousands; the cult classic Screaming Eagle and first-growth Left Bank Bordeaux blends have been known to fetch thousands of dollars per bottle!