Discovering the World of Cabernet Sauvignon: A Guide & Friarwood’s Top Picks

Discovering the World of Cabernet Sauvignon: A Guide & Friarwood’s Top Picks

Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyards


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the most popular red grape varieties in the world. Are you looking to expand your knowledge about this beloved wine? Then you've come to the right place. This blog aims to be your go-to resource for understanding the history, flavour profiles, food pairings, and global reach of Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Whether you're a wine novice or a seasoned connoisseur, we'll provide practical tips on how to select, store, and serve Cabernet Sauvignon. To top it off, we'll share some exclusive wine recommendations from Friarwood’s exclusive portfolio.

What sets Cabernet Sauvignon apart in the crowded wine market? Often hailed as the "king of red wines," Cabernet Sauvignon is cherished for its rich layers of flavour, including notes of black currant, cherry, and earthy spices. Its robust tannin structure not only offers a complex tasting experience but also makes it an ideal wine for aging.

Throughout this blog, we'll explore the characteristics that have made Cabernet Sauvignon a household name in the wine world, and how you can get the most out of your Cabernet Sauvignon experience.


Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

The Origin of Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

Let's embark on a historical journey to discover the roots of Cabernet Sauvignon, a grape variety that has captivated wine lovers worldwide. Originating from France, more specifically the Bordeaux region, Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a relatively new grape. It was born from a spontaneous crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in the 17th century. This unique genetic blend endowed the grape with its most admired characteristics: the robust structure from Cabernet Franc and the aromatic intensity from Sauvignon Blanc.

The early cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux set the stage for its international acclaim. Its resilience to various climatic conditions and susceptibility to fewer diseases compared to other grape varieties contributed to its growing popularity among winemakers.

A Glimpse into Bordeaux: The Birthplace of Cabernet Sauvignon

When discussing the history of Cabernet Sauvignon, it would be incomplete without mentioning its birthplace, Bordeaux. This renowned wine-producing region in France is a mecca for Cabernet aficionados. Bordeaux's terroir, a magical blend of soil, climate, and topography, is exceptionally conducive to growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that produce wines with complex flavours and incredible aging potential.

Bordeaux Vineyards

Bordeaux is particularly famous for its 'Left Bank' vineyards, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns supreme as the dominant grape variety. Wines from this region often represent the gold standard of what Cabernet Sauvignon can achieve. Whether you prefer the structured elegance of Pauillac or the plush opulence of Margaux, Bordeaux offers a Cabernet Sauvignon experience like no other.


Understanding the characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon is key to appreciating the versatility and complexity of this popular red wine. Let’s delve into the grape's distinctive taste profile and share some expert advice on food pairings that perfectly complement this varietal.

Taste Profile of Cabernet Sauvignon

When you take that first sip of Cabernet Sauvignon, a tapestry of flavours unfolds on your palate. One of the primary reasons for the grape's global appeal is its layered taste profile, featuring both fruit-forward and complex earthy notes. Common flavours include black currant, black cherry, and plum, often accented by herbal, tobacco, and sometimes even leather undertones.

The wine's acidity is generally moderate to high, adding a refreshing quality that balances out its richness. Furthermore, Cabernet Sauvignon is renowned for its prominent tannins. These tannins contribute to the wine's longevity, making it an excellent choice for aging. As the wine matures, its tannic edge softens, revealing a more nuanced and sophisticated taste.

Ideal Food Pairings with Cabernet Sauvignon

Pairing food with Cabernet Sauvignon can transform a simple meal into an unforgettable culinary experience. Due to its robust flavours and high tannin content, this wine pairs exceptionally well with hearty, protein-rich dishes. Think grilled steaks, lamb chops, or even a classic beef Bourguignon. The tannins in the wine cut through the richness of the meat, creating a harmonious balance between the flavours.

Cabernet Sauvignon Pairing

For vegetarians, dishes featuring earthy elements like mushrooms or lentils also make excellent companions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Hard cheeses like aged cheddar or Gruyère can also stand up to the wine's bold flavours, making for a delightful end to your meal.


The allure of Cabernet Sauvignon transcends borders, making it a global phenomenon in the wine industry. This section will explore how this remarkable grape has adapted and thrived in various regions around the world, giving rise to diverse styles and interpretations.

Old World vs. New World Cabernet Sauvignon

Understanding the difference between Old World and New World Cabernet Sauvignon is crucial for any wine enthusiast. So, what sets them apart? The terms 'Old World' and 'New World' refer to the geographical origins of the wine. Old World wines come from regions with a long history of wine production, like Europe, whereas New World wines hail from younger wine-producing regions, such as the Americas, Australia, and South Africa.

Taste Differences

Old World Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly those from Bordeaux, often display more restrained fruit flavours and a greater emphasis on earthy, mineral, and herbal notes. On the other hand, New World Cabernet Sauvignons are generally more fruit-forward, exhibiting luscious notes of ripe blackberries, cherries, and sometimes even jammy flavours, especially when grown in warmer climates.

New world vs old world wines

Production Methods

Traditional winemaking techniques are more common in Old World regions, which may include the use of natural yeasts and less manipulation during the winemaking process. In contrast, New World regions often employ modern techniques, such as controlled fermentation, to achieve a specific taste profile.

Noteworthy Cabernet Sauvignon Producing Regions Beyond Bordeaux

While Bordeaux may be the ancestral home of Cabernet Sauvignon, several other regions have gained international recognition for their exceptional Cabernet wines.

Napa Valley, USA

Napa Valley in California is arguably the most famous New World region for Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines here are known for their intense fruit flavours and plush, velvety textures.

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Stellenbosch is a standout region in South Africa for Cabernet Sauvignon, known for its expressive and nuanced wines. Expect vibrant acidity, dark fruit notes, and hints of tobacco and spice.

Maipo Valley, Chile

Chile's Maipo Valley is gaining attention for producing Cabernet Sauvignon wines with a unique blend of fruit and herbal characteristics, often at a more affordable price point.


Selecting the right bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon can be a rewarding yet daunting experience, given the plethora of options available. In this section, we'll guide you through the key factors to consider when choosing a great Cabernet Sauvignon that suits both your palate and occasion.

Wine Selection

Factors to Consider: Vintage, Region, and Producer


The year the grapes were harvested, known as the vintage, plays a crucial role in determining the quality of a Cabernet Sauvignon. A good vintage often means optimal weather conditions, which contribute to well-balanced wines. Keep an eye out for vintage charts or seek recommendations to find out which years were particularly good for the region you are interested in.


The region where the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown influences the wine's taste profile. As we explored in the previous section, Old World and New World regions impart distinct characteristics to the wine. Whether you prefer the earthy complexities of Bordeaux or the fruit-forward richness of Napa Valley, the region can guide you to a wine that matches your taste preferences.


The winemaker or producer is another key consideration. Reputable producers consistently deliver high-quality wines, so their names can be a reliable indicator of what to expect from a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Importance of Age in Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the defining features of Cabernet Sauvignon is its aging potential. Young Cabernet wines are often vibrant and fruity but may possess strong tannins that can be a bit overwhelming. As the wine ages, the tannins soften, and the flavours meld together, resulting in a smoother, more complex wine.

It's not uncommon to find well-aged Cabernet Sauvignons that offer a rich array of flavours, from evolved fruit notes to secondary characteristics like tobacco, leather, and earth. So, if you're looking for depth and complexity, don't shy away from older vintages.

 Wine Storage


Now that you've learned how to choose the perfect bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, it's essential to know how to store and serve it to preserve its quality and enhance its flavors. In this section, we offer expert tips on proper storage conditions and how to decant and serve this beloved red wine.

Sub-section 1: Proper Storage of Cabernet Sauvignon

Ensuring optimal storage conditions is crucial for maintaining the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon, especially if you're planning to age your wine.

Ideal Conditions for Long-term Storage

  • Temperature: Keep your wine at a constant temperature between 55 and 60°F (13-16°C). Fluctuations can compromise the wine's integrity.
  • Humidity: A humidity level of 60-70% is ideal to prevent the cork from drying out.
  • Light: Store the wine in a dark place to protect it from harmful UV rays that can degrade the quality.
  • Orientation: Always store wine bottles horizontally to keep the cork moist, thus preventing unwanted air from entering the bottle.

Decanting and Serving Cabernet Sauvignon

To get the most out of your Cabernet Sauvignon experience, decanting is often recommended, especially for younger, tannic wines.

How to Properly Decant and Serve to Maximize Flavors

  1. Decanting Time: Allow the wine to breathe for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving. This softens the tannins and allows the flavors to open up.
  2. Serving Temperature: Serve at slightly below room temperature, around 60-65°F (15-18°C) for optimal flavour.
  3. Glassware: Use a large, bowl-shaped glass to concentrate the wine's aromatics.
  4. Pouring Technique: Pour the wine gently down the side of the decanter or glass to minimize oxidation.

By following these tips, you'll unlock the full range of flavors and complexities that a well-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon has to offer.


Now that you're well-versed in the world of Cabernet Sauvignon, it's time to put that knowledge to the test. We invite you to explore Friarwood's carefully curated selection of Cabernet Sauvignon wines, ranging from budget-friendly finds to premium showstoppers. There's a bottle for every palate and occasion in our portfolio, and we're confident you'll find something to love.

Discover Your Perfect Cabernet Sauvignon Today!

Budget-friendly Cabernet Sauvignon Options

For those who want to enjoy quality Cabernet Sauvignon without burning a hole in their wallet, Friarwood offers several affordable yet impressive options. 

Tres Palacios Cabernet Sauvignon



2020 Tres Palacios, Gran Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - From the sun kissed vineyards of Chile, this wine delivers lush fruit flavors balanced by soft tannins, making it an excellent entry point for Cabernet Sauvignon newbies.



Saxenburg Cabernet Sauvignon



2017 Saxenburg, Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon - This New World wine from South Africa displays beautiful aromas of tobacco leaves, plums and blackcurrant leading to a finish that is nicely weighted and finely grained, perfect for a casual dinner.


Mid-range Cabernet Sauvignon Picks

If you're willing to splurge a little for something special, our mid-range selections offer elevated complexity and depth.

Le Fiefs de Lagrange



2016 Chateau Lagrange (Saint Julien), Les Fiefs De Lagrange - Lagrange dates back to the middle ages, with definitive documentation going back to 1631. Cherry blackcurrant, liquorice and pepper; cool and elegant on the palate, very refined, produced from vines with an average age of 32 years.


Chateau Brane Cantenac



2014 Chateau Brane Cantenac, Baron De Brane - Located west of the village of Cantenac in the Margaux appellation. Intense red fruits, accented by liquorice, menthol and caramel. Accessible and concentrated, with good balance and elegant tannic structure. Finishes with a lingering hint of chocolate. 


Premium Cabernet Sauvignon Selections

For the true wine aficionados willing to invest in top-tier bottles, these are our premium picks.

Sequoia Grove, Cambium


2014 Sequoia Grove, Cambium - This Napa Valley wine is blessed with profoundly intense notes of chocolate-coated cassis, blackberry, dark plum and dark cherry followed by clove, cinnamon, cigar box and black pepper and leather. The 2014 Cambium has just started entering its optimum drinking window, so a bottle to enjoy now or until 2035.



Chateau Palmer, Alter Ego De Palmer


2015 Chateau Palmer, Alter Ego De Palmer - A mellow and flamboyant wine from one of Bordeaux's most iconic estates, Chateau Palmer. This vintage produced a sensational wine characterized by purity, beauty and aromas of blackberries, dark chocolate, walnuts, cedar and lavender. Medium-bodied, finely crafted and vivacious in the mouth, finishing with great elegance and finesse.


Once you've sampled our selections, we'd love to hear about your experiences! Share your tasting notes, food pairings, or special moments on social media using the hashtag #FriarwoodFineWines. Your insights not only enrich our community but also guide others in their own Cabernet Sauvignon journey.