Cabernet Sauvignon

A picture shows grapes of the grape variety Cabernet Sauvignon
© AWMB / Oberleitner

Origin: France, Bordeaux

Parentage: natural crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc

Vineyard area: 589 ha, 1.3 %

Cabernet Sauvignon has been authorized as an Austrian Qualitätswein variety since 1986. This grape was brought to Austria in the 1980s as part of the international variety “invasion”. The classic international Cabernet regions are still Bordeaux and California, but there are others, including Maremma in Italy.

Important ampelographic features
Leaf: circular, with five to seven lobes; deeply incised; petiole is overlapping; moderately hairy underside
Grape cluster: medium-sized; conical; loose to moderately compact berries; has wings; grapes are round with a blueish-black colour

Ripening time: very late

Significance, conditions: Cabernet Sauvignon is appreciated as a single variety wine or as part of a cuvée blend. While it has no strong soil demands, an excellent vineyard site is key. Early, warm sites are necessary so that unripe, grassy wines are not made. Because it is a high yield variety, yield regulation is necessary for good quality.

Wine: As a young wine, it is fruity and somewhat “rough-edged” with strong tannins and a powerful bouquet. A good Cabernet Sauvignon improves during ageing with delicate roasted tones and expressions of black currant, and often liquorice and green pepper. As a late-ripening variety, it must be planted in warm sites, otherwise the wines will likely show a grassy or green pepper spice character. The wines need a longer development time so that the tannins can ripen. Only when aged for a good amount of time does the wine reach its peak. Maturing in barriques is practically obligatory – it complements the variety perfectly.