An Introduction to Italian Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon was the kind or red wine that first got me into drinking red wine many years ago! It’s still a favourite of mine and for many other all over the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is the 6th most planted red grape in Italy, and it’s grown in all parts of the country.
Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Cabernet Franc, and then know as Cabernet. Cabernet is used as a blending partner to add body, tannins, and powerful black fruit flavours to wine. It works wonderfully combined with the fresh, red fruit flavours of more acidic Italian grapes. Different regions have different combinations that they think is the best blend. There are a few appellations that produce single-varietal Cabernet wine, but most wineries use it as a supporting part in a blend with other grapes.
We’re going to have a look at a few of these blends of Italian Cabernet Sauvignon wine below, but you can find lots more in Independent’s Wine’s Guide to Italian Cabernet Sauvignon Wine here.
Toscana is the region that plants the most Cabernet in Italy and Cabernet is the 3rd most important grape of this region, after Sangiovese and Merlot. Chianti Classico is a great example that sometimes features all three of these grapes. Sangiovese is the main grape at 80% of the blend while the other 20% can be made up of other varieties, including Cabernet.
Example: La Castellina “Tommaso Bojola” Chianti Classico DOCG 2015 is made from 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet and 5% Merlot grapes and packed with flavours of blueberry, black cherries and black forest fruits.
Chianti DOCG is another blend that allows Cabernet but no more than 15% to ensure that the powerful flavours do not overpower the elegant Sangiovese.
In Veneto, Cabernet has been considered a traditional grape for a very long time. In the early 1900’s phylloxera left many Italian grapes perished but Cabernet was more resilient which meant it became very important to the local economy. Cabernet is used for many famous blends from this region.
In Alto Adige, wineries produce high-quality single-varietal Cabernet wine from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This part must account for a minimum of 85% of the blend. The region produces around 1 million bottles each year so is a very important producer of these wines.
A few great examples include:
Finally, let’s have a quick look at Cabernet wine from Piemonte, a region that produces some of Italy’s most prestigious wines such as Barolo DOCG and Barbaresco DOCS – also known as the king and queen of wines. Unlike many areas, Piemonte has always focused on grapes that are native to Italy, but some appellations allow wineries to release wines based on international grapes too.
Example: Scagliola, Azörd, Monferrato Rosso DOC 2017 made from Barbera and Nebbiolo with Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich, with tastes of dark fruit and berries with notes of cloves, cinnamon, raisin, tobacco and leather after ageing in oak barrels.
All the above examples are available to purchase from Independent Wine. As always, you can enjoy free next day delivery in the UK.