Summer is beach, picnic and grilling time. It’s a time when the lighter fare on the table is typically accompanied by a light white or sparkling wine. Red wines tend to fall off of the radar in July and August. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, summer is the right time to enjoy a bottle of Cabernet from your wine club or local wine store.
The History of Cabernet
Cabernet, often called Cab, is a red wine made from Cabernet wine grapes. There are two types of Cabernet grapes. By far the most popular, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used by wine producers around the world. Thick skins make the grapes resistant to disease and capable of surviving in harsh climates. Cabernet Sauvignon is characterized by dark cherry, black currant and woody flavors and has a five to ten year optimum aging potential.
Cabernet Franc is the other type of Cabernet. Cabernet Franc grapes are not as hardy as the Cabernet Sauvignon variety. Typically used as a blend in Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc grapes are thin skinned with lower acidity levels, producing a milder taste. Cabernet Franc boasts a spicy aroma and is lighter in color.
Cabernet Sauvignon has a relatively short history compared to many old world wines. An accidental crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, it was developed by French wine growers sometime in the 1700s. Its origins were discovered in 1996 by a team of scientists using plant DNA. Since its creation, Cabernet Sauvignon has grown in popularity and, beginning in the late 1980s, has become the most popular red wine in the United States.
Cabernet Has a Way With Food
The finest Cabernet brings out the best in food, particularly red meat. A rib eye steak grilled to perfection, veggies and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon is a real summertime treat.
Other summer entrees that go great with Cab include:
Pairing Cabernet with cheese, particularly cheddar or other aged cheese, is another way to enjoy a melding of flavors in the summer. Cab also pairs well with fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, black cherries, plums and black olives. Pizza night is the perfect time to add a glass of Cabernet. A slightly chilled glass of Cab is the ideal companion while watching those beautiful summer sunsets. Ask your wine clubs or local sources about additional summertime ideas.
Interesting Cabernet Facts
Other names for Cabernet Sauvignon include Vidure, Petit Cabernet and Sauvignon Rouge.
Often aged in oak barrels that give it a spicy vanilla taste, Cabernet Sauvignon may also have a minty flavor.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine-tasting party choice, particularly if you are comparing different vintages and producers.
The ideal temperature to serve Cab is 63°F to 65°F. Quick ways to reach the right serving temperature are placing the bottle in an ice bucket for five minutes or in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.
Aeration allows Cab to reach its full flavor before drinking. Remove the cork and let the bottle sit for an hour. Pour into a decanter for serving.
Wine clubs and local wineries are wonderful sources for learning more about Cabernet.
Summer doesn’t mean you have to limit your choices. Great food, good company and warm weather make summer exactly the right time to enjoy a glass of Cabernet.