Why is Cabernet Sauvignon the most planted red grape in the world?
The world loves cabernet sauvignon, and not just those of us who drink it. Wine producers love it for its hardiness; its ability to survive and produce great wines on many different types of terroir and in many different climates. These attributes are why cabernet is known as one of the ‘noble’ grape varieties and why it makes up 4% of all grape vines worldwide.
Another reason why consumers and producers alike love cabernet sauvignon, is its fantastic ability to blend well with other grapes, making it incredibly versatile. Cabernet gives much needed backbone and structure to wines made with softer grapes like merlot and shiraz. ‘Bordeaux blends’ invariably include cabernet sauvignon and can be found all around the world. Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Canada, China, Chile, Lebanon, South Africa and Israel all plant a lot of cabernet sauvignon and some regions, such as California, or indeed some producers, such as Cheval des Andes in Argentina, specialise in crafting particularly high quality versions of it.
Believe it or not, cabernet sauvignon is actually the result of a crossing between a red grape and a white grape: cabernet franc (red) and sauvignon blanc (white), something that originally happened in France during the 17th century. It gets its dark purple colour and blackcurrant flavours from its father, cabernet franc, and its aromatic leafiness from its mother, sauvignon blanc. Despite its distinctive character however, each wine producing region tends to have its own individual flavour profile thanks to the unique climate conditions and terroir where the grapes are grown. While some wines in cooler areas (such as Bordeaux itself) are more earthy and elegant, others in warmer places are juicier and pack a bigger punch, yet all styles are always deliciously and unmistakably, cabernet sauvignon.