Cabernet Sauvignon Flashcards Preview

WSET ® Level 2 Wine > Cabernet Sauvignon > Flashcards

Flashcards in Cabernet Sauvignon Deck (36)
Loading flashcards...

In what climate does Cabernet Sauvignon prefer to grow?

  • Moderate (Cab prefers the warmest sites within moderate climates)
  • Warm


Why does Cabernet Sauvignon need a warmer climate, or the warmest of sites in moderate climates, to fully ripen?

It has thick skins and higher levels of flavors and tannins that need to develop, so warm climates and long growing seasons are key to its development.


From where does Cabernet Sauvignon originate?

Southwest France


Describe the general profile of Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Dry
  • Medium to full body
  • High acidity
  • High tannins
  • Black fruits (plums, currants)
  • Herbaceous (green pepper)
  • Herbal (mint)

In very warm/hot climates, Cabernet Sauvignon can show cooked-fruit flavors.


What characteristics about Cabernet Sauvignon make it age worthy?

  • High acidity
  • High tannins

Both structural components behave as natural preservatives.


Why is Cabernet Sauvignon usually blended with Merlot?

Merlot softens the hard edges (high acid, high tannin) of Cabernet Sauvignon, especially if the Cab is from a cooler site/moderate climate and struggled to ripen.

Merlot also adds red fruit flavors to the black fruitedness of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Conversely, Cabernet Sauvignon will add structure and black fruits to a plush, soft, red-fruited Merlot.


Why is Cabernet Sauvignon so often barrel fermented/aged?

  • Cabernet Sauvignon has the capability to age in oak for years due to its sturdy structure (high acid, high tannin);
  • Oxygen exchange in the barrel helps soften tannins and is overall beneficial to Cab;
  • Oak aging imparts pleasant flavors to Cabernet Sauvignon, e.g. clove, vanilla, mocha.


Tertiary aromas and flavors of oak-aged Cabernet Sauvignon include:

  • Dried fruits
  • Earth/mushrooms
  • Wet leaves/forest floor


France's most important region for Cabernet Sauvignon is ___.



Which Bank in Bordeaux typically has a higher ratio of Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot in the blends?

Left Bank


What feature about Bordeaux's soils helps Cabernet Sauvigon to ripen in this moderate climate?

Bordeaux has gravelly soils, which do 2 things:

  1. Drain easily so vines' feet don't stay cool and damp
  2. Retain warmth from the sun and redistribute that warmth overnight


What are the 6 AOCs to know for Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends in Bordeaux?

  • Médoc AOC
  • Haut-Médoc AOC (area w/in Médoc)
    • Margaux AOC (small area w/in Haut-Médoc)
    • Pauillac AOC (small area w/in Haut-Médoc)
  • Graves AOC
    • Pessac-Léognan AOC (small area w/in Graves)


Why is blending so important in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux's moderate climate, and its proximity to the Atlantic, make vintage variation a real issue.

All the grapes in Bordeaux don't necessarily fully ripen every year, so blending grapes that have different ripening times and different flavors helps the Bordelaise ensure that they will have something to bottle every year.


What does the term "Château" indicate on a bottle of Bordeaux?

That the grapes used to make the wine in that bottle were grown on the producer's own land (they were not purchased grapes).


What term can Châteaux use on their label if the estate has been classified as one of the best in Bordeaux?

Grand Cru Classé or Cru Classé


A wine from the Médoc AOC that hasn't been classified as one of Bordeaux's best estates can apply to use a different term called ___.

Cru Bourgeois

Cru Bourgeous wines won't be as expensive or as long-lived as the classified estates' wines.


Where else in France is Cabernet Sauvignon planted (it also grows well here)?

The South of France

When grown in the South of France, Cabernet Sauvignon has no trouble ripening.  It is usually blended with Merlot, Grenache, and Syrah.


In the U.S., which state produces good- to exceptional-quality Cabernet Sauvignon?



Which 2 regions in California are best known for their Cabernet Sauvignon?

  1. Napa Valley
  2. Sonoma


What is the climate of Napa Valley?

Warm with a long growing season.


Which 3 Napa Valley subregions are well known for their Cabernet Sauvignons?

Which one is the warmest?

  1. Oakville
  2. Rutherford
  3. Calistoga (warmest)


Compare the style of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to the style of Left Bank Bordeaux.

Napa Valley

  • Dry
  • Full body
  • High alcohol
  • High tannin
  • Medium to high acidty
  • Ripe, juicy black fruit flavors

Left Bank Bordeaux

  • Dry
  • Medium to full body
  • Medium to high alcohol
  • High tannin
  • High acidity
  • Just-ripe black fruit flavors
  • More herbaceous


If a Cabernet Sauvignon just has the appellation "California" on the label, where are the grapes allowed to come from?

All over California, but most of it is grown for bulk wine in California's hot Central Valley.

This style of Cab often sees some oak influence from oak chips or staves.


Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted variety in which South American country?



Which appellations in Chile are you most likely to find Cabernet Sauvignon?

Central Valley and its 2 subregions Maipo Valley and Colchagua Valley.


Both Maipo Valley and Colchagua Valley run ___ to ___.

How does this benefit winegrowers?

East to west, from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean.

This benefits winegrowers by giving them a vast number of sites from which to select grapes, e.g. higher elevation and lower elevation, and warmer sites and cooler sites.


In Chile, Cabernet Sauvignon is usually blended with which 2 grapes?

  1. Merlot
  2. Carmenère


Which region in South Africa is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon?



What are the features of Stellenbosch that allow it to make varying styles of Cabernet Sauvignon?

  • It's mountainous/has varying elevation
  • Moderate to warm climate

Cabs from Stellenbosch can be herbal, medium-bodied, and red fruited to full-throttle, high alcohol, and cooked black fruit flavors.


What are the grapes in Cape Blend?

  • Pinotage
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon