Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021: 15 things you didn’t know about Cabernet Sauvignon

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To celebrate Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021, we share 15 things you might not know about the grape varietal and its wines plus as always some recommendations from French wine importers in Australia.

Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021

1. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is relatively young in the wine grape world – likely a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in South-Western France.


2. The oldest Cabernet Sauvignon planting in the world was planted in the 1880s. It is in South Australia’s Penfold’s Kalimna Block 42.


3. There are a few theories as to the origin of the word Cabernet – some think it is a distortion of “Carmeneth” others refer to the colour carmine and others still note the Arabic word “karma” meaning “vine”.


4. There is no disagreement however that the “Sauvignon” part of the grape name stems from the French word for wild “sauvage”.


5. Cabernet Sauvignon is also known as Bouchet, Bouche, Petit-Bouchet, Petit-Cabernet, Petit-Vidure, Vidure, Sauvignon Rouge.


6. Cabernet sauvignon grapes are small (which helps their ease of growing almost anywhere) with thick, black skins which is where the strong tannins that they are known for come from.


7. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted wine grape in the world, with a total of 341,000 hectares (3,410 km²) under vine worldwide.


8. In France, there are 126,000 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon which makes it the 4th most planted red grape varietal in France.


9. Bordeaux is the heartland of Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s thought to be where it originated and it is where 60% of France’s cabernet sauvignon grapes are grown.


10. Bordeaux’s famous Cabernet Sauvignons are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Merlot.


11. In the South-Western French AOCs of Bergerac and Buzet use cabernet sauvignon to make rosé wine.


12. Whereas in Bordeaux it is used in a blend, in Languedoc cabernet sauvignon is often found in single varietal vin de pays.


13. In Australia, there are 25,000 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon planted, which is about 30% of black grape plantings. It’s the 4th largest cabernet sauvignon growth in the world after Chile and the USA.


14. Cabernet Sauvignon is the second most planted and most sold red in Australia after Shiraz.


15. Cabernet Sauvignon has been crossed with other grape varieties to create new ones:

    • Marselan was created in 1961 when Cabernet Sauvignon was crossed with Grenache.
    • In 1989, in Western Australia’s Swan Valley, an accidental cross saw cabernet sauvignon produce a white-berried seedling called Cygne blanc (which translates to “white swan”).
    • Cabernet Blanc was another accidental cross, this one discovered in Switzerland.
    • Cabernet Sauvignon’s pollen fertilised Glera vines in Italy producing the Italian red wine grape named Incrocio Manzoni 2.15.
    • Australia’s CSIRO created 3 new grape varieties by crossing Cabernet Sauvignon with the Spansh Sumoli grape: Cienna, Tyrian and Rubienne.
    • It was also crossed with the white German wine grape Bronner to create the white wine grape Souvignier gris.



We asked French wine importers in Australia to share their Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021 recommendations for all budgets.


Airoldi Fine Wines

OFFER: Receive a 20% discount on any orders with the code “Marseillaise” at the checkout.

Daniel Airoldi from Airoldi Fine Wines gives us his recommendations for Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021.


How do French cabernet sauvignons differ from Australian cabernet sauvignons?

In general, Australian cabernets are less tannic than French ones and can have eucalyptus aromas, especially around the Margaret River. French Cabernet Sauvignons can be more austere and take longer to reach their peak.


Airoldi Cabernet Sauvignon LanessanFor a smaller budget, which French cabernet sauvignon do you recommend?

The Château Lanessan 2016  which comes from the Haut-Médoc



This is a wine of incredible beauty at a small price and comes from a great Bordeaux vintage.


What would you serve with it?

Grilled lamb chops on vine shoots and ratatouille.


For those with a larger budget, which French cabernet sauvignon do you recommend?

The Grand Vin du Château Latour 1986



The King of Cabernet Sauvignon, Latour is a un premier cru of the Medoc region and this vintage is ready to drink, but keeps an impressive freshness despite its age!


What would you serve with it?

Duck breast with mushrooms sautéed with persillade.


Le Plonque

Margot from Le Plonque shares her recommendations with us.


How do French cabernet sauvignons differ from Australian cabernet sauvignons?

There are two major differences between France and Australia when it comes to Cab Sav. The first difference is related to natural conditions. The Australian climate and terroir produce powerful wines, rich in alcohol, which will have a lot of body with riper notes of red fruits (black cherry). The French Cab Sav will be less rich in alcohol, but still full bodied. And it will have more acidic red fruit aromas (raspberry, strawberry) with sometimes green notes (bell pepper).


The second big difference is the vinification. Australian cab sav will often be vinified alone as a varietal wine (just cab sav), while in France it is blended (especially in Bordeaux) to give the wine more suppleness and balance. The grape varieties often used with cabernet sauvignon are merlot, cabernet franc or petit verdot. Merlot has the particularity to “complete” the Cabernet. The power of Cabernet linked to the elegance of Merlot have created many great wines. Depending on whether we are on the right or left bank of the Bordeaux estuary, we dose differently (more cabernet on the left bank, more merlot on the right bank).


Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021 - Le Plonque DallauFor a smaller budget, which French cabernet sauvignon do  you recommend?

Chateau Dallau 2016



It is an accessible, unpretentious Bordeaux that has a nice balance and is good to drink now. Almost 10 years of ageing is ideal for this wine!


What would you serve with it?

With red meat, perfect with grilled meat on a nice day!


Le Plonque - International Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021For a larger budget, which French cabernet sauvignon would you recommend?

If you want to enjoy a Cabernet, I recommend a Pauillac. An appellation well known for its wines with incredible ageing potential and irresistible aromas. Château Pontet Canet is a good example.



An estate that, in addition to being a Grand Cru Classé 1855, is biodynamic and works in the greatest respect of the environment. A high fashion wine, made with the best grapes. Innovative viticulture techniques. A great potential for ageing. This wine really has everything to seduce.


What would you serve with it?

A red meat that has taste, a leg of lamb will probably be the best choice..

What will you be drinking for Cabernet Sauvignon Day 2021?


You may also like these articles about French wine varietals:

Cheers to International Pinot Noir Day 2021!

Discover 11 things you didn’t know about Shiraz for International Shiraz Day 2021

International Cabernet Franc Day is today!

20 Champagne facts to celebrate Champagne Day this week

Champagne quotes for what we’re calling champagne week!

International Sauvignon Blanc Day: all about sauvignon blanc and which ones to drink

International Riesling Day: everything you need to know about riesling and which to drink

It’s Muscat Day! A celebration of the world’s oldest grape

International Viognier Day: an Australian celebration for a French varietal

International Rosé Day 2021: 11 things you may not know about rosé

International Chardonnay Day 2021: the grape, the wines and which ones to drink



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