Today, Cabernet Sauvignon is everywhere — but it wasn’t always that way. Way back in the seventeenth century, Cabernet Sauvignon was created through the accidental cross of a red Cabernet Franc grape and a white Sauvignon Blanc plant.
Not only did this cross end up yielding one of the most interesting wines, but it also produced a durable plant that could stand up to greater environmental distress. Eventually, the grape made its happy way all the way to Bordeaux, where it remains one of the region’s most celebrated varieties.
Because of its great tannic structure, Cab Sauv is one of the most interesting wines to age as it will evolve in the bottle for years. This means that there can be great variety in two Cabernet Sauvignons produced in the same vineyard, with each wine quickly changing as it grows older.
If you enjoy traditional Bordeaux Blends, you may have already tasted Cabernet Sauvignon without ever having realized it. These blends often feature the grape alongside Merlot, but because of their diverse nature, it’s difficult to draw a straight line from one blend’s flavor profile to a single Cabernet Sauvignon varietal.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll find competitive Cabernet Sauvignon grown in California. However, before a California Cab Sauv made history in 1976 at the Judgement of Paris, many American consumers were drinking sweet red wine, and equated Cab Sauv with the other pervasive sweet red wines in the category.
After the groundbreaking decision in 1976, California Cabernet Sauvignon officially took off and popularized what was actually a very dry, full-bodied wine. Today, the grape is celebrated for providing a wine that is luxurious and age-worthy — not sweet.
Tasting Cabernet Sauvignons from California, Chile, and Bordeaux side by side will elicit interesting results; but only if you use the right glassware. In order to ensure you’re registering every aroma, texture, and tasting note in your glass you’ll need to secure the right tools at home.
The Best Wine glass for Cabernet Sauvignon
At VinePair, we always reach for these Spiegelau Willsberger Bordeaux Glasses because they make tasting super easy. For Cab Sauv, you need a round wine glass with a large base and tall stem. These glasses are great because they’re made with lead-free crystal, made in Germany, and comfortably hold a large glass of wine.
The rounded base allows you to swirl your glass so your wine can really open up, with all the aromas funneled up to the top for easy smelling and tasting. Of course, they’re also dishwasher safe so cleanup will be a breeze, and you can dedicate more time to really examining your new favorite wine.