The term “noble grapes” is used to describe those varieties commonly associated with the highest quality wines. Noble grapes are also known as International Varieties, because they are widely planted in most of the major wine-producing regions throughout the world with widespread appeal. Some enumerate twenty noble grapes while others name up to six. I define the eight varieties of noble grapes as follows:
Red Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah
White Grape Varieties: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Today we will focus on the Cabernet Sauvignon grape:
Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary grape of the top vineyards on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. It is also found in Southern France, California, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Italy (Tuscany) and Spain (Navarra). DNA evidence has shown that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon needs a moderate to hot climate.
Cabernet Sauvignon is deeply colored with high levels of tannins and acidity. Wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon are suitable for aging and oak is often used to age these wines. Expect a black fruit character (black currant, black cherry and raspberry) with bell pepper, light mint, light chocolate, cedar and tobacco notes. Cabernet Sauvignon is best consumed in four to twenty years, though Classified Bordeaux can age from eight to twenty-five years.
Cabernet Sauvignon complements robust red meats such as beef, venison, bison, duck, lamb, pheasant and roast chicken, as well as tuna when served rare.
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Cheers - Jerry