How to Choose a Cabernet Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon is the name of both the grape and the wine it produces. Cabernet is one of the world most popular red wines famous for its deep red or ruby color, medium to full body, silky or velvety texture, rich flavor and complex aroma.

You may choose Cabernet wine according to several criteria such as region, climate, flavor, year, age, food and price.

By region

Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in most of the world’s wine regions. It is the most widely planted and significant among the five dominant varieties in the Medoc district of France’s Bordeaux region, as well as the most successful red wine produced in Napa Valley, California. Other regions are South America, Australia, Long Island, NY, Washington State, Italy and Niagara, Canada.

By climate

The best places for producing quality wines from Cabernet Sauvignon are in warm regions with a semi-arid and temperate climate that provide a long growing season, on well-drained, not-too-fertile soils.

By flavor

Cabernet’s flavor may vary from fruity (blackberry or black currant), herbal (green olive), and spicy (ginger) to oaky (vanilla, sweet wood, smoke or tar). The wine might display cedar, mushroom, leather and cigar box flavor as well.

By year

1991 great vintage; tannins now developed;
1995 healthy vintage, approachable wines;
2001 rich and concentrated, many long-lasting wines;

By age

World-class examples can improve for decades and remain drinkable for a century.
The 1997 vintage was considered by most the best year of the decade. The 1999, which had a low yield but good fruit in the grape-growing season, could be among the best of the 90s. Alexander’s Crown Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (2002), to drink over the next 6 to 10 years, is acclaimed as one of the top 50 Cabernets.

By food

Cabernet goes well with beef, lamb and goose. The wine pairs well with spiced poultry and pasta in red sauce. It is also a great match for brie, cheddar cheese and chocolate.

By price

Cakebread 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $73
One of Napa’s Classic Cabernets! It has an aroma of ripe, black cherry, berry and currant fruit complemented by scents of vanilla, sweet herbs, cocoa and coffee bean.

D.R. Stephens 2003 Moose Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $99 limited
95 points wine spectator; with layers of rich, ripe currant, blackberry and creamy mocha-chocolate oak. Deeply concentrated and deftly balanced, this keeps the focus on the fruit and wood, ending with intense, chewy tannins. Only 989 cases made.

2001 Beaulieu Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon $25
Currant, plum, toast and earth nose; flavors of black cherry, cassis, dark chocolate, coffee, earth, vanilla, spice and orange peel; firm tannins.

2001 Twenty Bench Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $16
Raisin, prune, blackberry, orange zest, chocolate, coffee and vanilla aromas and flavors; finishes with acidity and a hint of spearmint.

2002 Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $12
Soft ripe plum on nose, with soft fruit flavors of raspberry, cherry and mouth-filling plum; light tannins; tart and a bit youthful but nice length and weight.

Enjoy your Cabernet’s choice!

1. How To Choose A Cabernet Sauvignon – Wining Wife®
2. How To Choose A Cabernet –