Ultimate Guide to Organic Cabernet Sauvignon
What is Cabernet Sauvignon?
Organic Cabernet Sauvignon is an organic wine made from a small, thick-skinned grape with a high amount of tannins to juice. Cabernet Sauvignon is capable of making breathtakingly wonderful organic wines with great complexity and impressive ageing potential. What makes the grape so great can also sometimes make the wines challenging in their youth. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most famous red grape varieties in the world. Despite its fame, Cabernet Sauvignon is not the world’s oldest.
Did you know? It is believed that Cabernet Sauvignon’s red colour, carminium in Latin, is the origin of the grape’s name.
Research at California’s University of Davies has proven that Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are Cabernet Sauvignon’s parents.
Some of the oldest records referring to Cabernet Franc come from Bordeaux, and there’s no doubt that France’s world-class wine region is where Cabernet Sauvignon’s regal reputation was established.
Organic Cabernet Sauvignon red wine
Of all the organic red grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon is comparatively easy to grow. The organic vine grower does, nevertheless, need to negotiate some of Cabernet Sauvignon’s characteristics with care.
Firstly, regardless of site and rootstock, Cabernet Sauvignon is naturally pretty vigorous, and care needs to be taken in managing this. Planting density, canopy management, low-vigour rootstocks, clonal selection, vineyard depth and elevation, and, of course pruning, will all be a part of the organic vine-growers decision-making process.
Happily, Cabernet Sauvignon is not excessively prone to insect and disease problems. Powdery mildew is likely to be one of its greatest enemies and this can be easily organically managed. Sulphur is the obvious choice, but it is also possible to use a variety of oils, diluted hydrogen peroxide and even diluted milk, depending on the severity of the problem.
Just if you’re thinking a sulphur-free Cabernet Sauvignon may not be possible, think again! Vintage Roots stock a range of tasty No-Added-Sulphur Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Sauv blends. You can explore our range and shop organic Cabernet Sauvignon here.
How is organic Cabernet Sauvignon made?
Cabernet Sauvignon wines follow the normal red wine making process, with some important considerations along the way.
Once the ripe grapes are harvested and brought to the cellar for fermentation, the winemaker will decide if the stems will be removed. As Cabernet Sauvignon had good natural tannins, the chances are the grapes will be destemmed.
The choice of fermentation technique will depend on the wine style being sought. Pump overs tend to yield richer, more robust wines, whereas punching down delivers more delicate flavours.
After the alcoholic fermentation, comes the malolactic fermentation. Sharp and not very nice malic acids are converted into lactic acids, which gives a velvety feel to the wines.
Lastly, the wine is aged. This can take place in various vessels, from amphorae to concrete, stainless steel, or barrel. It’s also possible to use various vessels, depending on the qualities and characteristics the winemaking team are after.
What does organic Cabernet Sauvignon taste like?
Much of Cabernet Sauvignon’s success lies in its readily identifiable flavour profile.
What are the characteristics of organic Cabernet Sauvignon?
Cabernet Sauvignon organic wines commonly smell and taste of:
▪ Black cherry
▪ Crème de cassis
▪ Green pepper (capsicum)
Storing organic Cabernet Sauvignon
In common with all organic wines, Cabernet Sauvignon likes to be stored in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight and vibrations. If the wine is sealed with a cork, the bottle should be stored horizontally, so that the cork remains moist, thus preventing it from drying out.
You can read more about how to store organic wine on our website.
Cabernet Sauvignon in the world
According to the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine), there are some 10,000 known grapevine varieties. Of that number 13 varieties cover more than one-third of the world’s vineyard area. This is useful context when you consider that Cabernet Sauvignon is the second most widely planted grape variety.
Cabernet Sauvignon is found in nearly all of the world’s wine countries including, France, Chile, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Lebanon, Greece, and South Africa. The latest numbers put Cabernet Sauvignon plantings at 341,000 hectares which is about 3% of the world’s total vineyards.
Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux
Whilst Cabernet Sauvignon is arguably the most important red grape variety of Bordeaux, it’s actually not the most widely planted here. That claim to fame goes to Merlot.
Nevertheless, think red (left bank) Bordeaux, think Cabernet Sauvignon. The organic wines of Bordeaux are, more often than not blends. Much of this is due to the marginal climate and the safety that lies in being able to blend. However, Cabernet Sauvignon is integral to the structure, elegance and longevity of the world-beating wines that are made here. The variety does especially well in the fabled gravelly soils of the left bank.
A stunning organic Bordeaux blend comes from Château Vieux Chevrol . Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot come together in this striking, black berries, black cherry and cassis flavoured Pomerol.
Australian Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon was first planted in Australia in the nineteenth century. Known to thrive on well-drained soils, this ‘king’ of the red grapes is grown across the country but most notably in: Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek, Margaret River and McLaren Vale.
In terms of taste…
▪ Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is typically rich, ripe, and opulent.
▪ The terra rossa soils of Coonawarra given the wines both elegance and longevity. Look out for mulberry, plum and, of course, blackcurrant flavours.
▪ Cabernet Sauvignon from Langhorne Creek is often very full-bodied with lashings of ripe, black fruits.
▪ Margaret River is perhaps the place in Australia you go to for Old World-type Cabernet Sauvignon wines. You can find cedar and more floral notes on the wines.
▪ McLaren Vale like, Langhorne Creek gives bold, ripe, full-bodied wines, often with a dash of chocolate.
South American Organic Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine was made in Mexico in the sixteenth century and also Peru. Though wine is still made in both countries, it is primarily Argentina and Chile we think of when we talk about South American Cabernet Sauvignon.
Organic Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t as dominant as other red grapes in Argentina, but it does produce an interesting range of styles. All of the country’s Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards are in continental climates.
Those planted in the northwest, yield darkly coloured wines with aromas of blackcurrants and capsicum. Wines from Cuyo (Mendoza) tend to be very fruity and markedly blackcurrant. The further south you go, the earthier the wines become.
Domaine Bousquet, located in Mendoza, makes super-stylish wine. Vintage Roots are proud to list two Cabernet Sauvignon wines that share incredible purity of fruit and varietal expression whilst being different. The organic Reserve has a distinctive oak influence, whereas the estate organic Cabernet Sauvignon sees no oak at all and is Argentine organic Cabernet Sauvignon in its best and finest form.
Organic Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
Chile, and in particular, the Maipo Valley are today synonymous with quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
In general terms, the organic Cabernet Sauvignon wines of Chile tend to be black cherry, dark plum and violet in flavour. We often find the wines have a dusting of warm baking spice too.
To sample the delights of single-variety, oak-aged Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, look no further than the Adobe Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Emiliana Orgánico. Smooth, with notes of blackcurrant, dark chocolate, and vanilla spice.
Shop organic wine with Vintage Roots or explore our entire range of organic Cabernet Sauvignons on our website.