Obviously we know that no two wines are alike, but today’s post and video from our friends at Wine Folly will compare the differences in the taste of Cabernet Sauvignon, the most popular grape in the world. (for making wine that is, Thompson Seedless just doesn’t cut it)
Compare 2 Cabs, or Even Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot
We often recommend that instead of opening one bottle at a time, you open two and pour them both to compare… it’s fun to do, and will really help you learn what you like and improve your palate. Compare the color and clarity, compare the nose, and finally the taste of Cabernet Sauvignon. You might surprise yourself or find a new favorite wine.
You can compare two wines made from the same grape, for example, to learn the taste of Cabernet Sauvignon pour two, one from California and one from Australia. You can alternately try two of the exact same wines from the same vineyard but produced in different years (this one can be really eye-opening if you can get them) or you can compare 2 similar wines but from different varietals, for example, comparing Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot.
Today, they compare two Cabernet-based red wines from the top wine regions known for this grape: Bordeaux vs Napa … have fun!
Cheers ~Nick and Pat
PS- You can find info about the two wines in the video.
Explore the Taste of Cabernet Sauvignon
It is the child of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The Bordeaux blend is a deep ruby color and I do see a little touch of yellow in that color, indicating the use of Merlot in this blend – and there’s about 30 % merlot in there. Let’s take a look at the legs. They’re not forming too quickly or too many. So I would say this is about an average level alcohol wise.
Let’s, give it a sniff. Wow, okay! So this one comes across a lot more fresh and tart and fruity… the taste of Cabernet Sauvignon has black cherry and sour cherries, as well as cranberry. A touch of hybiscus as it gets deeper in the nose. I get a lot more of these funky characteristics… we’re, talking pencil led, crushed gravel, a subtle note of spice almost like allspice, and this is all sort of wrapped in a sort of minty flavor.
Let’s, give it a taste! On the palate this Bordeaux Cabernet is medium body, it comes in, it hangs out, and then it goes very politely, so it goes from tart savory fruit into smooth tannins and into just a slight bitterness on the finish to me. This is definitely a food wine that would be awesome with a delicious steak or something like that. I would be a happy lady!
The next wine is a Napa Cabernet blend. It’s, got some Merlot in it too, and Cabernet Franc. Let’s, see how it does in color… it is a lot darker in the color than the Bordeaux blend. It is more of a deep ruby color with a lot less variation there’s. Definitely a lot of extraction in this one. On the legs… they’re forming relatively quick, and there’s a lot of them. So I would say it’s probably a medium-plus alcohol level, a lot higher alcohol and probably unfiltered.
This Wine is Like Drinking Christmas!
On the nose… whoa… massive layers upon layers. I get subtle notes of blackberry brambles, black cherries, cherry sauce, kirsch, and then I go into this major spice note: allspice, clove, vanilla… It almost smells like a spice cake! Let’s give it a taste… this wine is like drinking Christmas!
It is massive on the palate, a huge explosion of acidity that leads into these really dark, brooding fruit flavors. We’re, talking baked plums, more this chocolaty kind of note, and then a lot of that spice cake comes again through on the palate.
There’s a really rich palate, the tannins are actually pretty rigid. I could feel them on the top of my tongue, like touching the tongue to the roof of my mouth. But to me, there’s so much alcohol in this wine it kind of cuts through the tannin, and I feel this nice warm sweet, smoky burn on the finish of the flavor.
So that’s these two Cabernet wines. So let’s talk about what makes them so different. This Cabernet, this legend from Bordeaux… they don’t age the wines that long. They age their lots anywhere from three to nine months, and only in 40% oak and not even new oak, so oak adds a lot of flavor to wine, which this one doesn’t get. So they’re using grapes that are maybe picked a little less sweet because they’re only producing 12.5 percent alcohol.
Going onto the Napa big cab over here, this blend is 14.5 percent alcohol. So they’re picking the grapes sweeter, physically sweeter, and then they go into the crush and they make the wine out of them and they go immediately into oak for a long period of time, over a year in oak barrels. Of the hundred percent oak they go into, 75 percent of that oak is new oak, so brand spanking new barrels with toast on them, and that toasting of the oak is almost like tea, it flavors the wine.
So all these flavors of spice and chocolate and allspice and vanilla, and that sort of thing that are coming through in this wine number two, are probably from that oak program. So there we are, two very, very different wines.
If you like this old-world style you’re definitely gonna want to seek out Bordeaux or look on the label for wines with lighter alcohol levels. Around 12.5 tend to be a little lighter on the palate, this one’s more savory and would go very well with food, whereas this one is more of a cocktail wine. It’s something I’m going to sit and drink and probably not have anything else with.
I look for clues on the label for this as well, check to see if they have any mention of their oak program or the alcohol level again is a clue to find bombastic myths. Alright guys, I hope you guys are excited to try more Cabernet.
Definitely subscribe at winefolly.com/subscribe , you’ll get an awesome newsletter that’s totally free designed specifically to help you learn more about wine.
(hopefully this will help you learn the taste of Cabernet Sauvignon, grab two bottles and try it…. Nick)Follow my blog with Bloglovin