1. What is the most popular and most planted grape variety in the world?
I’ll give you a hint, it’s red. If you guessed Cabernet Sauvignon, you’re right! According to a study completed in 2011, Cabernet Sauvignon has over 700,00 acres planted worldwide! That’s a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon!
Cabernet Sauvignon is believed to have originated in the Bordeaux region of France and is a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Yay for happy accidents!
There are numerous regions throughout the world that are known for growing Cabernet. In the Old World, France is the key country for growing Cabernet. Spain and Italy also grow a good bit of Cabernet, but not nearly the acreage of France. Cabernet has also made a name for itself widely throughout the New World, which is any country outside of Europe such as the United States, Chile, Australia, and Argentina, etc. When most people think of New World Cabernet, typically the first place they think of is the Napa Valley in California.
Speaking of Napa Valley, here is the second trivia question.
2. What was the vintage and producer of the Cabernet Sauvignon that won the red category in the 1976 Judgement of Paris? (Hint, if you need a refresher, you can find the answer is in my blog post from July 4th.)
While you’re thinking, let’s talk more about what you can expect from Cabernet and a few food pairing options.
Cabernet is known for being a full bodied and tannic wine. It is also a late ripening grape, which is why warmer climates are best suited for the grape. Have you ever gone into a tasting room in Virginia that has a Cabernet Sauvignon, tried it and thought to yourself (or possibly out loud) that this wine isn’t as full bodied as you thought it would be? You were expecting more of a Napa Cabernet, but got a lighter, less intense version of it? This change is because the climate differences. Virginia’s climate is considered a humid, subtropical region. In the Shenandoah Valley we average 10 degrees cooler than the coast, but we still get the humidity in the summer. Napa Valley, on the other hand, has more of a Mediterranean climate where they experience hot, dry summers and mild winters, and their growing season lasts longer than ours.
Onto food, because honestly, who doesn’t love food? First thing that typically comes to mind for most people when pairing Cabernet Sauvignon is steak. As mentioned earlier, Cabernet Sauvignon is generally a very tannic wine and when paired with a meat that is a little fattier and juicier, such as a ribeye, the wine will balance out nicely. “What if I don’t eat meat?” Don’t worry, there are options for those who prefer meatless dishes and still love Cabernet! Meatless lasagne is a great option because the combination of pasta, cheese and sauce will stand up to the tannins in the wine.
3. What event is happening on Sunday, January 26th, 2020?
If you guessed the Cabernet Sauvignon seminar, you’re right! Our winemaker, Lee, will be leading a seminar all about Cabernet! This is one you don’t want to miss, especially if you want an opportunity to try a variety of wines from regions you may not have known make Cabernet. The event will take place in the banquet hall of the Meeting House from 2-4 p.m. The cost is $20 per person. Press Club is $15 (with max of 2 tickets). Purchase tickets by calling the Tasting Room at (540) 828-0099 or online. Reservations are required for this event.
Thanks for reading this week’s edition of Out of the Barrel and for playing along with the trivia questions! Cheers!