27 April 2020 | France

The cabernets

There are many cabernets: the most well-known are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, but there are many others in the world, including :
- Cabernet Dorsa
- Cabernet Dorio
- Cabernet Moravia
- Cabernet blanc
- Cabernet Jura
- Cabernet Cortis
- Rubi Cabernet
- Cabernet Gernischt
- Cabernet Mitos
- Cabernet VB 91-26-04


Along with merlot, this is one of the most widely planted varieties in the world. According to a recent study by Australia’s University of Adelaide, it covers more than 290,000 hectares.
Worldwide, it is currently the most popular variety and is grown everywhere from the cold highlands of New Zealand to the sunny Bekaa valley in Lebanon.
It has been the object of intensive development in Eastern Europe, Australia, California, South Africa and Chile.
This mythical variety that gave birth to the Medoc Grands Crus (and thus sealed France’s reputation for great wines throughout the world) can be found in Languedoc and Provence.
Cabernet Sauvignon survives winter cold, buds late and often escapes spring freezes (excellent 1991 wines are the proof). Its yield is relatively low if the proper clones and rootstocks have been chosen. Its thick skin resists rain well.
Experience has shown that its austerity should be mediated with a little Merlot and/or Cabernet Franc. This is the case in the Libourne area, in gravelly areas such as those found near Château Figeac.
When from select origins, wine from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is incredibly complex: rich without too much alcohol content, a subtle harmony between bouquet and body. It is at the confluence of sensual and intellectual pleasure.


Vidure, petite vidure, sauvignon, sauvignonne, bouchet.

Principal organoleptic characteristics

Rather marked by black fruits and the black currant note, cabernet sauvignon can generate floral notes resembling violets or peonies. These are always enhanced by sweet spices.
A bouquet of cedar, black currant or licorice may also be remarked.

In the Graves and Médoc Grands Crus Classés, finesse and depth are retained: cinnamon, black pepper, vanilla, raspberry, iris, violet, leather, morello cherry, roasted almonds and coffee beans, mint, forest undergrowth.
The variety makes for robust wines that are often very vivacious: their significant acidity allows the great vintages to be conserved for decades.

Geographic zones :

Present in many countries: USA (California), Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, South Africa, China, Croatia, Greece, Moldavia, Portugal, Ukraine.

Suggested pairings

Variety characteristically paired with thick cuts of red meat (sirloin, rack of beef, T-bone steak) and wild game such as boar, hare, roe and other deer.
Can also be magnificently paired with lamb after a few years in the wine cellar.


Cabernet franc is one of the traditional varieties of vine stock in the Bordeaux region. It is particularly widespread in the Libourne area, where it predominates in some vineyards. The famous Château Cheval Blanc, for example, has 70% cabernet franc vine stock.
Although originally from the Bordeaux region, this variety can also be found in the Loire valley and south-western France as well as in some forty other countries. In France, approximately 37,000 hectares are planted with this variety, even though it is only the 10th most popular. There are 54,000 hectares of Cabernet Franc in the world.
Matures in the second period (semi-late), prefers clay and limestone soils.
Other names in French: BOUCHET in Bordeaux, BRETON in the Loire

Principal organoleptic characteristics

Variety of grape in the cabernet family that brings out black and red fruit aromas, spice, floral aromas in some terroirs. Smoother in the mouth than cabernet sauvignon. In limestone soils it can take on characteristic aromas of damp earth, humous, wet leaves, wild mushrooms.
It is distinguished by its aromatic finesse, its aromas of spice and green pepper, its structure and capacity to age, although it does not equal Cabernet Sauvignon.
It is a capricious variety, fragile at harvesttime, that can reveal both the best and the worst.

A variety that provides structure, firm tannins and also acidity--and thus the ability to age for the great red wines produced by noble terroirs.

Geographic zones

Suggested pairings

Often used in combination with merlot or cabernet sauvignon, this variety favours pairings with thick cuts of red meat and wild game. After a few years in the cellar, wine made with this variety can also be paired with meats cooked in sauce, poultry and soft washed-rind cheeses.