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Wine Spectator School

Class 3: International Varieties

cabernet sauvignon

The Grape

Cabernet Sauvignon vines prefer moderate warmth and gravelly, well-drained soil.

If the weather is too cool, vegetal flavors can overpower the fruit. If it is too warm, the grapes will lack sufficient acidity.


The Wine

Cabernet is considered the king of red wine; layers of complexity emerge after long aging and the very best examples seem nearly immortal.

Intensely purple-red when young, Cabernet Sauvignon is generally medium- to full-bodied and tannic.

Black currant and black cherry aromas and flavors dominate, frequently joined by herbs, mint and anise, as well as toasty vanilla from oak.

As the wine ages, its color shifts toward garnet, its tannins smooth out and cedar and spice notes can emerge. But most winemakers emphasize Cabernet's fruit and downplay its tannins for early...

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