California Cabernet has quickly scaled the heights of the world's greatest and most expensives wines. Napa is as synonymous with quality as Bordeaux. Nowhere is that more evident than at Screaming Eagle Vineyards. Their Cabernet is sold out 12 years in advance! Below we have recipes chosen specifically for this grape and more information regarding the wine's history.

Quick Cabernet Facts:

In the early nineties, studies began to show that the French have a lower rate of heary disease than the Americans, despite a diet that is higher in fat. When the two diets were compared side-by-side the one factor that was missing in the American diet was red wine. Soon researchers confirmed the benefits of a diet that contains red wine. Sales of red wine in the U.S. soared 39%!

Up until the 1970's the majority of the wine grown in Bordeaux was white. Now red wines account for 83% of the total Bordeaux production, 15% is dry white (sauvignon blanc and semillon), and 2% is sweet white (the amazing sauternes).

It seems that Americans' taste for red wine is returning. In the 1970's 76% of the wine consumed in the U.S. was red. By 1990 that figure had dropped to 30%. But in 2002 red and white were neck and neck. Many experts believe that American palates are maturing and we are becoming more sophisticated wine consumers.

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Click on the above link to return to the main wine and food page. There you will find a listing of twelve different varieties of wine and the menus specially chosen to create perfect pairings. Cabernet is a tannic wine. Pair it with proteins like beef and cheese. Click the black bars above each photo to view the recipes.
Noble does not begin to describe the reputation of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. It is the greatest of the wine making varieties. Adaptable and hearty, it can be grown in almost any climate that is not too cool. A fact which is demonstrated by vintners the world over. The grape itself is small, thick skinned, and packed with tannins. It is tannin, a natural preservative, that gives the resulting wine it's ability to go the distance, and then some, making it tops among the longest-lived wines made. When grape, weather, and winemaker meet, Cabernet Sauvignon can be a wine with incredible depth of aroma and taste. But in a bad year, or in the hands of a mediocre vintner, the meaning of sauvignon, from the French for savage, can become clear. Due to it's savage nature, Cabernet is often blended with softer, fruitier grapes. This will take some of the edge off of the taste. In California, these blends are called Meritage (rhymes with heritage), and Tuscany's system is similar calling their blends Super Tuscans. In Australia the major blending grapes are listed on the front of the label, with Shiraz being the primary partner. But it was Bordeaux that invented the idea of blending, and their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc blends have set the world standard.
The classification of wines from Bordeaux is complicated but does deserve at least a glance. The vineyards in Bordeaux are roughly divided into two regions, the left bank and the right bank (based on the Gironde River and its two tributaries). The right bank is more northerly and the featured grape is Merlot, the left bank is more southerly and Cabernet Sauvignon predominates. St-Émilion and Pomerol are on the right bank and are Merlot based. Médoc and Graves are situated on the left bank and are therefore Cabernet Sauvignon based. (There are other regions, but these will suffice for now) The major producers of Bordeaux wine go by the term: chateaux, or houses. They are regulated by French law, and must meet rigid criteria (acreage, storage facilities, etc.) In 1855 the French Goverment sought to rank these chateaux based on location, quality of grapes, quality of wine, and price. The best were given the title of Grand Cru Classé or classified great growth. This group is further broken down from first to fifth growth, with first being the best of the rest. The system is confusing to Americans, but it apparently works. In the over 145 years since its inception, it has only been altered once!
In the early days of wine prodution in California, vintners went their separate ways over Cabernet Sauvignon. Some chose to follow the lead established by Bordeaux, and began to create French style blends. Other banked on the California climate to allow the grapes to ripen fully making easy to drink 100% Cabernets possible. Regardless of the path taken it seems that early attempts were relatively lame and not very interesting. All that has changed. After the decade of the 90's with nine out of the ten years yielding good to excellent vintages, California may not only be challenging France as the leader in Cabernet, but may soon pass it by. Granted, the styles are different, California tends to put emphasis on the fruit where Bordeaux cabernets are often earthier, both can be complex, full bodied and age for up to 15 years. Unfortunately, it may take you 15 years to pay for them as well. With comparable reviews, California wines now get comparable price tags. There are bargains, but they are getting harder and harder to find.Yet another reason to get to become acquainted a good wine expert.