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Behind the Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Behind the Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
February 22, 2021 Samantha Lau

Ty Caton Cabernet Sauvignon

This year, we’re taking you on a journey through the Caton Estate Vineyard to discover each of the five grapes we grow up in the Mayacamas Mountain Range. First up – Cabernet Sauvignon!

More than half of our farmed 40 acres is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes – that’s almost 24,000 vines! When asked why he chose to plant this famed grape, Ty said: “One of the most important first decisions a farmer must make is to plant the right varietal in the right location. I knew from my research that we have an extraordinary place, and to grow anything other than Cabernet would have been a travesty. After all, we’re in Cab Country.” You can read more about Ty’s love for Cabernet here

Cabernet Sauvignon 101

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most widely planted dark-skinned grapes globally, only rivaled by Merlot. It prefers climates with sufficient heat and sun exposure and later winters, such as Bordeaux, Napa, Sonoma, South America, Tuscany (think Super Tuscans), and Coonawarra (Australia). 

Cabernet’s most extraordinary aspect is its ability to become a wine that is so undeniably Cabernet Sauvignon. No, we’re not talking about its fruit flavors. We’re talking about its structure and ability to showcase vintage variation and terroir, along with its characteristically high tannins – a direct result of its small berry size, high pip-to-pulp ratio, and distinctively blue, thick skin. Cabernet is a deeply colored wine built for long-term aging. You’ll notice more subtle flavors in younger Cabernet Sauvignons and more robust tertiary notes in older ones. It’s commonly blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec in Bordeaux; Sangiovese in Tuscany; and Shiraz in Australia. 

Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Sheet

Origins of Cabernet Sauvignon

The history of Cabernet Sauvignon was shrouded in mystery until 1997. Originally thought to be a descendent of Biturica, we now know that it’s the offspring of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc (thank you, DNA profiling!). It is believed that Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of spontaneous crossing in a French vineyard in the early 18th century, and the rest is history!

Recommended Pairings

Because of the rich flavor and high tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with hearty grilled meats, peppery sauces, and dishes with intense flavors – think BBQ beef ribs, steaks, burgers, braised short ribs, and portobello mushrooms!

Are you craving a juicy Cabernet Sauvignon after reading all about it? Don’t worry, we’ve already gone through a glass just writing this. We recommend giving one of our Moon Mountain Cabernets a try the next time you reach for a bottle. If you don’t have any, we invite you to stock up here or visit us at our Tasting Room in Kenwood. Reservations are recommended and can be made here.

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