Believe it or not the cabernet sauvignon is related to a white grape sauvignon blanc.
The cabernet sauvignon is traditionally a bold, dense wine that is full of tannins and that is what makes it very dry and bitter. In order for the tannins to mellow they need to age and aging wine in oak barrels helps to calm the wine flavor. The flavors of the cabernet sauvignon can vary depending on where the grape is grown and the climate of the season, but there are some consistent flavors that you can usually distinguish. One flavor is that of a green bell pepper, yes, you heard me correctly. A fresh cut green bell pepper produces a chemical called methoxy-pyrazine and you'll find this in the northern grown grapes where they don't ripen as well. If a wine comes from a warmer part of the world like California you will start to taste the dark fruit flavors of currants, plums and even black raspberries.
Other similar grape varieties: Syrah/Shiraz | Aglianico
When to open: 3-6 hours before serving
Best served chilled at: 17 - 19 °C or 62.6 - 66.2 °F
"Cabernet Sauvignon is a very bold and assertive wine that has potential to overwhelm light and delicate dishes. The wine's high tannin content as well as the oak influences and high alcohol levels associated with many regional styles play important roles in influencing how well the wine matches with different foods. When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, all those elements are at their peak, but as the wine ages it mellows; possibilities for different food pairings open up. In most circumstances, matching the weight (alcohol level and body) of the wine to the heaviness of the food is an important consideration. Cabernet Sauvignons with high alcohol levels do not pair well with spicy foods due to hotness levels of the capsaicin present in spices like chili peppers and being enhanced by the alcohol with the heat accentuating the bitterness of the tannins. Milder spices, such as black pepper, pair better due to their ability to minimize the perception of tannins—such as in the classic pairings of Cabernet Sauvignon with steak au poivre and pepper-crusted ahi tuna." (Goldstein, 2006, pp.134-139)
"Fats and proteins reduce the perception of tannins on the palate. When Cabernet Sauvignon is paired with steak or dishes with a heavy butter cream sauce, the tannins are neutralized, allowing the fruits of the wine to be more noticeable. In contrast, starches such as pastas and rice will have little effect on tannins. The bitterness of the tannins can also be counterbalanced by the use of bitter foods, such as radicchio and endive, or with cooking methods that involve charring like grilling. As the wine ages and the tannins lessen, more subtle and less bitter dishes will pair better with Cabernet Sauvignon. The oak influences of the wine can be matched with cooking methods that have similar influences on the food-such as grilling, smoking and plank roasting. Dishes that include oak-influenced flavors and aromas normally found in Cabernet Sauvignon—such as dill weed, brown sugar, nutmeg and vanilla—can also pair well." (Goldstein, 2006, pp.134-139)
"The different styles of Cabernet Sauvignon from different regions can also influence how well the wine matches up with certain foods. Old World wines, such as Bordeaux, have earthier influences and will pair better with mushrooms. Wines from cooler climates that have noticeable vegetal notes can be balanced with vegetables and greens. New World wines, with bolder fruit flavors that may even be perceived as sweet, will pair well with bolder dishes that have lots of different flavor influences. While Cabernet Sauvignon has the potential to pair well with bitter dark chocolate, it will not pair well with sweeter styles such as milk chocolate. The wine can typically pair well with a variety of cheeses, such as Cheddar, mozzarella and Brie, but full flavored or blue cheeses will typically compete too much with the flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon to be a complementary pairing." (Goldstein, 2006, pp.134-139)
Companion Ingredients: Butter & Cream, Mushrooms, Mustard
Cooking Methods: Braised, Roasted, Grilled
"The grape's true origins were discovered in 1996 with the use of DNA typing at the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, by a team led by Dr. Carole Meredith. The DNA evidence determined that Cabernet Sauvignon was the offspring of Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc and was most likely a chance crossing that occurred in the 17th century. Prior to this discovery, this origin had been suspected from the similarity of the grapes' names and the fact that Cabernet Sauvignon shares similar aromas with both grapes—such as the blackcurrant and pencil box aromas of Cabernet franc and the grassiness of Sauvignon blanc. In 2016 scientists at the UC Davis announced they had sequenced a draft of the whole genome of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, the first genome of a commercial wine-producing grape to be sequenced." (2016, November 18) Wine Spectator.
Clarke, Oz (2001). Encyclopedia of Grapes. Harcourt Books. pp. 47-56. ISBN 0-15-100714-4.
Goldstein, E. (2006). Perfect Pairings. University of California Press. pp. 134-139. ISBN 978-0-520-24377-4.
Carpenter, Kasey (2016-11-18). "Scientists Unravel Cabernet Sauvignon's Genome". Wine Spectator. Retrieved from http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/Scientists-Unravel-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Genome