Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, March 8 2018

Top Ten : Cabernet Sauvignon

By: Anthony Gismondi
Good or bad, cabernet sauvignon makes some of the biggest wines in the world

It is said, for better or worse, that cabernet sauvignon makes some of the biggest wines on the planet.

The physical nature of cabernet tends to be robust, angular and tannic in youth, and while it mellows with age, even the finest cabernet sauvignon seldom melts in your mouth the way merlot or pinot noir eventually will.

The best cabernet has abundant, soft tannins with concentration and flavour complexity. Winemakers strive to achieve blackberry, cassis, black cherry and jam fruit flavours with black pepper and spice characters. Often, there is a light overlay of herbal qualities such as ripe olives and mint. Unripe cabernet can display the undesirable green bell pepper, asparagus, green bean components. Oak barrels add extra spice, clove, vanillin and toasted flavours. When fully aged, cabernet develops sublime bottle bouquets of cedar, tobacco, violets, spices, soya, blackberry, mint and licorice.

Despite its backward youth, it almost always gains a measure of complexity and elegance most other wines simply cannot match with age. To wit, there are examples still drinking well from the last century. Since the mid-1800’s, cabernet has spread its roots, first across Europe and then on to most New World vineyards. Consequently, cabernet sauvignon is the most widely transplanted red grape, with a presence in every major wine growing country in the world.

Today we offer you a look at 10 top cabernet sauvignons (and ties) recently tasted at GOW, and all sure to take the edge off the final few cold nights of winter as we head for spring.

Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For over 30 years, he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. The twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through the Postmedia Network to millions of readers. In addition, Anthony hosts the BC Food & Wine Radio Show, broadcast in 25 markets across B.C. and available as a podcast on major platforms. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million monthly users from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource full of tasting notes, intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers. Conversations with wine personalities are available on his  YouTube Channel.