What to drink…

In a new col­umn about grape va­ri­eties, Richard Hem­ming ex­am­ines Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon

Living France - - À La Maison -

Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon is the quin­tes­sen­tial French black grape – it’s as Gal­lic as gar­lic. Why? Be­cause it’s stylish, world-fa­mous and can some­times be aloof – but it al­ways smells great.

Wine made from Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon has sev­eral dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures. Firstly, it’s opaque pur­ple in colour. The fruit aroma is rem­i­nis­cent of black­cur­rant, of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by woody aro­mas such as cedar or sandalwood. On the palate, it has full body, high acid and high tan­nin. That means you get a grainy, dry­ing sen­sa­tion from the tan­nin, yet mouth-wa­ter­ing crisp­ness from the acid­ity.

This firm struc­ture can make it seem aloof some­times – es­pe­cially if you drink it with­out food. How­ever, it also means that it can age well, and the best ex­am­ples will im­prove in bot­tle for decades. Drink­ing a good ma­ture French Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon with steak frites is one of the great­est din­ing plea­sures you can wish for.

Orig­i­nally, Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon hails from the Bordeaux re­gion, but you don’t of­ten see it writ­ten on la­bels there. In­stead, they pre­fer to em­pha­sise the ori­gin of the wine (known as its ap­pel­la­tion), such as Pauil­lac, Mé­doc or Mar­gaux. Most Bordeaux wines are a blend of Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon and Mer­lot, but these three ap­pel­la­tions usu­ally have a ma­jor­ity of the for­mer. These wines don’t tend to come cheap – another rea­son why Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon is typ­i­cally French!

Here are three ex­am­ples for a range of bud­gets which show­case Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon at its best. En­joy!

Monas­tier Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon 2015 IGP Pays d’Oc (£7.99 House of Tow­nend) Like most Langue­doc wines, this is a very au­then­tic ren­di­tion of its grape va­ri­ety at a great-value price. The fruit char­ac­ter is ripe and smooth with a light black­cur­rant flavour, fin­ish­ing with a del­i­cate smoky note. The soft tex­ture makes this very easy drink­ing.

Château Pon­tet Bar­rail 2012 Mé­doc (£15.95 Berry Bros & Rudd) There are hun­dreds of wine-pro­duc­ing châteaux in the Mé­doc, and choos­ing the right one can be tricky. Pon­tet Bar­rail is clas­si­fied as a Cru Bour­geois, which is a good sign when look­ing for qual­ity that doesn’t cost a for­tune. The blend is 50% Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, and it has pris­tine black­cur­rant fruit with clas­sic cedar, vi­o­let and spice aro­mas. While you could ma­ture this for another decade, it is drink­ing re­ally well now.

Château Fon­badet 2011 Pauil­lac (£35 Berry Bros & Rudd) Some of the best Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon in the world comes from Pauil­lac – but at a price! If you want to treat your­self, Château Fon­badet is a re­li­able un­der-the-radar pro­ducer. Com­posed of 80% Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, it has a sleek, suc­cu­lent, but pow­er­ful cas­sis char­ac­ter that fin­ishes with a long, savoury finish. The firm tan­nic struc­ture means this wine needs to be paired with hearty meat dishes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.