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Dear Dr. Vinny,
A friend of mine claims that there is a plain Cabernet as well as Cabernet Sauvignon. He insists he had both wines, is he correct?
—Babs, Manchester, N.J.
Let’s say your friend is confused, rather than wrong. Sometimes winemakers refer to Cabernet Sauvignon as just “Cabernet.” It’s shorthand, like how Zinfandel is sometimes called “Zin” or some folks say “Pinot” when they mean Pinot Noir.
But there is no plain “Cabernet” grape. I know of Cabernet Franc and Ruby Cabernet, which are different grapes and wines, and there are probably a few other Cabernet hybrid names out there, but nothing just called “Cabernet.”
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