Win Fine Wine Every MonthWin £100 worth of fine wine every month!

Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive promotions, discounts, wine recommendations and stock updates.

And you will be entered into our monthly draw to win £100 worth of fine wine. Find out more.


 
 
Close
 
Trade Customer?

Privacy Respect Guarantee: The Cardinals Cellar respects your privacy and will never send you spam or share your details with third parties. For more details please see our Privacy Policy.

Download Price List

Need Help? Call us on:

+44(0) 207 193 9867

(Mon - Fri, 10:00 - 18:00 GMT)

Shopping Basket

(0) items in your cart

Cabernet Sauvignon

bunch of cabernet sauvignon grapesCabernet Sauvignon is the noble grape variety from which many of the most highly regarded and long-lived red wines in the world are made. Cabernet Sauvignon is the premium grape of the Médoc and of Graves and dominates all of Bordeaux's red wine-making in these two areas. Its very small berries and their thick skins provide the raw material to make wines that are very concentrated and tannic in their youth, with very good acidity, all requisites for making wine that is destined to have a long, slow evolution in bottle with a long drinking window when mature. Its subtleties are slow to reveal themselves but for wine lovers this only adds to the experience as bottles are withdrawn from cellars at long intervals to gauge the wine's progress.

Being a late-ripening variety Cabernet Sauvignon requires a warm climate and even in its natural home of Bordeaux it falls short of perfect ripeness in some years. It is, however, quite adaptable to a range of soil types being comfortable at home in the gravels found in the Médoc and Graves as well as soils rich in iron such as Terra Rossa in Coonawarra, South Australia. It is these facts that have led to its popularity in places such as California, Chile and Australia where it can produce some extremely fine examples of un-blended single varietal wines. In Bordeaux it is blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, amongst other varieties, which practice not only adds a little more complexity and perfume but also acts as a hedge against cooler or wetter summers when it fails to ripen fully.

History of the Cabernet Sauvignon Grape

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety has a relatively short history, certainly when compared with that of many other varieties. It was created at some point in the 17th. century by a random crossing in Bordeaux between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc according to DNA research carried out at the University of California, Davis. It was prized for its excellent flavour profile and its thick skins which made it less susceptible to disease, and harvesting by hand easier, than with thinner-skinned varieties. Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château d’Armailhac in Pauillac were early champions of the variety which gained in popularity throughout the region during the 18th. century. Although adaptable to a wide range of soils the apogee of its expression is reached in the poor quality, deep gravel soils of the Médoc and Graves where the slopes allow for good drainage, essential for the best results. Left to its own devices Cabernet Sauvignon develops a dense leaf canopy and high yields which means that good vineyard management is required for its potential to be reached, there being a direct trade-off between quantity and quality. Despite recognition of its many qualities it took knowledge of suitable new terroirs and an awareness of wine-drinkers' interest in single varietal wines to produce an explosion of vineyard plantings in the last 25 years. In 1990 it was the eighth most widely planted wine grape variety with 100,000 hectares worldwide. In 2015 it is the number one variety with more than 300,000 hectares under vine. Such dramatic growth only happens as a result of consumer demand and single varietal wines are now available even from France's southern wine regions under the IGP (Wine of Protected Origin) regulations - what were formerly Vin de Pays. The variety ripens well here and can be delicious if somewhat lacking in complexity.

Cabernet Sauvignon Wines

The predominant flavour of Cabernet Sauvignon wines is of cassis (blackcurrant) and this is detectable to a greater or lesser extent largely depending on the ripeness of the grapes and viticultural techniques employed in the vineyard. This is probably the main reason that single varietal Cabernet wines achieved such popularity - a clearly identifiable and consistent flavour. Put simply, wine drinkers know what they are going to get from even very inexpensive examples. Of course concentration and complexity will increase as one rises up the price scale with other aromas and flavours present including blackberry, black cherry, blueberry and chocolate when youthful and developing truffle, leather, tobacco, cedar wood, and graphite (lead pencils) scents on reaching maturity. Another reason for the appeal of these wines is that they pair very well with a wide range of meat dishes from the rustic, with more humble bottles, to elegant Michelin star cuisine for more rarefied examples.

In the Bordeaux region of France, as already mentioned, Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with other varieties that comprise the Bordeaux blend in greater or lesser proportions depending on whether the wine comes from the right or left bank. There is, however, one Médoc estate that produces a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine, namely Château Createur, a small property in the Margaux appellation. Wines with a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend develop a great deal of finesse and elegance when skilfully made. As a general rule of thumb, Cabernet dominated red Bordeaux wines are built to last and the higher up the quality scale you go the more this is the case. Indeed such wines are exceedingly tannic and astringent in their awkward youth and time in bottle is very much a requirement.

Further afield California is rightly acknowledged as a premium region for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon wines with the very best being produced in the Napa Valley where Robert Mondavi was an early pioneer. Its Opus One is California's answer to a top quality Médoc. These wines are usually quite high in alcohol - there is little problem with ripening here or in Australia where the McLaren Vale and Coonawarra regions are sources of very good quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Although the very best wines from both of these regions can have a long life as a general rule they mature, and are ready to drink, more quickly that their Bordeaux cousins. Chile, which has become very popular for inexpensive, yet very drinkable, wines is starting to produce some wines which are aimed at the higher end of the market with the region of Maipo being especially noteworthy. Even Italy now allows up to 15% of this grape variety in traditional Italian wines such as Chianti as a response both to wine-makers eschewing old regulations (think Super Tuscans like Sassicaia, Tenuta San Guido and Tignanello) and popularity amongst consumers.

  1. Livadia Liqueur Cabernet Sauvignon, Massandra Collection, 1945

    Livadia Liqueur Cabernet Sauvignon, Massandra Collection, 1945

    Livadia Liqueur Cabernet Sauvignon is a fortified red wine of some breeding. Part of the renowned Massandra Collection it gets its name from Tsar Nicholas 2nd's summer palace Livadia.

    Details
    Colour Other Fortified Red
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country Ukraine

    Add to Basket
  2. Craneford Wines, John Zilm Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, 2003

    Craneford Wines, John Zilm Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, 2003

    The John Zilm Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley 2003 vintage, by Craneford Wines, is a deep ruby/purple in colour the nose of which produces notes of graphite intermixed with black currants, new saddle leather, and tobacco leaf.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  3. d'Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, 2007

    d'Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, 2007

    D'Arenberg's The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, 2007 is a deep and dark red wine, almost to the point of being black. The nose is intense with varietal cassis and mint balanced with an earthy leafiness, hint of eucalyptus and of dark chocolate.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  4. Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley, 1997

    Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley, 1997

    Robert Mondavi was one of the pioneers of the resurgent California wine industry in the mid 1960s and could be said to be responsible for making the Napa Valley known for wines of outstanding quality.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country USA

    Out of stock

  5. Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, 2010

    Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, 2010

    Dark red cherries, flowers, licorice and a hint of tobacco are layered into the firm, structured finish. In 2010 the blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. The 2010 Guidalberto comes across as cool and inward in this vintage. This is a wine that is now ready to drink but may benefit from a few years cellaring.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
    Country Italy

    Out of stock

  6. Torres Gran Coronas Black Label Reserva, Penedes, 1978

    Torres Gran Coronas Black Label Reserva, Penedes, 1978

    Torres Gran Coronas Black Label Reserva 1978 is made exclusively from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from a single vineyard in the Penedès region south-west of Barcelona in Catalonia.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country Spain

    £48.27

    Out of stock

Narrow Your Search

Vintage
  1. (1)
  2. (1)
  3. (1)
  4. (1)
  5. (1)
  6. (1)
Price
£0 £160 £ to £
Colour
  1. (5)
  2. (1)
Country
  1. (2)
  2. (1)
  3. (1)
  4. (1)
  5. (1)
Area
  1. (1)
  2. (1)
  3. (1)
  4. (1)
  5. (1)
  6. (1)
Region
  1. (1)
  2. (1)
  3. (1)
Appellation
  1. (1)
  2. (1)
Producer / Vineyard
  1. (1)
  2. (1)
  3. (1)
Show More
Cardinal's Rating
  1. (5)
  2. (1)
Grape Variety
  1. (6)
  2. (1)

Need more options? Use our Advanced Wine Search

Gift Service


Free UK Delivery


© 2009 - 2015 The Cardinal's Cellar. All Rights Reserved.
The Cardinal's Cellar is a trading name of Cardinal Online Ventures Ltd.