Cabernet Sauvignon

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Cabernet Sauvignon
Synonyms see section synonyms
Cabernet Sauvignon
Art Grape vine ( Vitis vinifera subsp. Vinifera )
Berry color bluish black
origin France, Bordeaux
VIVC no. 1929

Random crossing of
Cabernet Franc × Sauvignon Blanc

List of grape varieties

The Cabernet Sauvignon (French: [ kabɛʁnɛ soviˈɲɔ̃ ]) is a red wine variety . It is based in the Bordelais , but from here it began its triumphal march into the whole world of viticulture, and in the recent past increasingly overseas. With 288,781 hectares of vineyards, it ranks first in the world. Even outside of its homeland, the variety retains its individuality and character, whereby the intensity of the characteristics varies due to the influence of the soil, the climate and the vinification.

Descent, origin

Cabernet Sauvignon is a natural cross between the Cabernet Franc × Sauvignon Blanc varieties .

It is often claimed (probably incorrectly) that Cabernet Sauvignon was mentioned in a document in France as early as 1635. At that time Cardinal Richelieu sent the Abbé Breton probably several thousand vines of the Cabernet Franc variety, a variety that is still an important red wine variety in the Loire today.

Origin of name

The synonym Bidure gave rise to the assumption that it could be derived from the ancient Biturica variety mentioned by Pliny the Elder (23-79). The synonym Vidure has its roots in the local dialect and translates as 'hard wood' (see also in French: vigne dure ), a name that the grape variety shares with the Carmenère .

Ampelographic varietal characteristics

Cabernet Sauvignon leaf and grape.
Cabernet Sauvignon leaf.
  • The shoot tip is open. It is very hairy, whitish and has a carmine tinge.
  • The young leaves are also very hairy and the leaf surface is already slightly blistered. The leaf edge of the young leaves is slightly reddish in color (anthocyanin spots).
  • The medium-sized dark green leaves are five-lobed and deeply indented. The stem bay is closed in a V-shape. The leaf is only slightly serrated. The leaf surface is blistered and coarse. In autumn the leaves only redden slightly, mainly in the area of ​​the leaf tips. In the area of ​​the stem bay, a part of the base of the Spreitengrund, the leaf veins run on the outermost leaf edge. The Cabernet Sauvignon shares this very rare arrangement with the Chardonnay, among others .
  • The mostly conical to cylindrical grape is usually shouldered, medium-sized and dense to compact. The round berries are small and bluish-black in color. The peel of the berry is strong and firm. Therefore, the Cabernet Sauvignon is not very susceptible to botrytis .

Ripeness: The grapes ripen from early to mid-October, about 12–15 days later than those of the Gutedel .

The distinguishing features of Cabernet Sauvignon are the grape smell of black currants (cassis), which is partly accompanied by the smell of cedar wood , and the deep dark color of the wines. In addition, the wines always have a concentrated fruit taste with a supporting structure of tannins and acids .


The Cabernet Sauvignon has an upright and strong growth. It sprouts late and therefore usually escapes the spring frosts. The grape variety is very susceptible to the grapevine diseases powdery mildew (also called oidium ), eutypiosis , phomopsis (black spot disease, Cryptosporella viticola shear) and phytoplasm infestation . The phytoplasm infestation leads to yellowing diseases such as golden yellow yellowing ( French : Flavescence dorée ) or blackwood disease . In southern growing areas such as regions in Languedoc, drought stress can occur, although the symptoms are no more severe than with Merlot. The Cabernet Sauvignon is less susceptible to downy mildew of the grapevine. The thickness of the berry skin protects against gray mold rot ; the berries can therefore ripen for a long time on the cane. The stinginess is low. As a result, the effort of foliage work is less than with comparable varieties.


In its youth, the wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is fruity, rough and tannic with a strong "nose". A good Cabernet Sauvignon spoils more and more with fine roasted aromas, aromas of black currants, often reminiscent of liquorice and green peppers.

The Cabernet often spends 15-18 months and less often up to 30 months in new or used oak barrels (or barriques ) from France , Slovenia or America . This storage, if done carefully, gives the wine toasted or vanilla flavors and softens the severity of the tannins. Through this expansion, the winemaker can strongly influence the Cabernet, emphasize the tannins or give it an oak taste .

These wines are less impressive for their type than for the delicacy of their aromas. When the grapes are fully ripe, they result in multi-layered wines rich in tannins (see also the article Phenols in Wine ). As a late-ripening variety, it has to be grown in warm countries so that the wine does not taste grassy or like green peppers. The grapes are medium-sized and densely covered with dark blue, thick-skinned berries.

The variety is only rarely offered pure in its homeland of Bordeaux , as it is ideal for blending with other grape varieties (there with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, occasionally also Malbec and Petit Verdot; overseas also with Syrah ) and the blend, the cuvée , is often a little more complex than the individual wines used to make them.

New breeds

The characteristics of the grape variety have inspired various grape growers to new creations . While one tries to combine the deep color of the wines with early ripeness in the cool wine-growing climate, the main focus in the warm cultivation climate is on varieties rich in finesse with a corresponding heat resistance.

The varieties Baron , Cabernet Cortis and Cabernet Carbon were crossed by Norbert Becker at the Staatliches Weinbauinstitut Freiburg . The aim of the breeding was to find fungus-resistant grape varieties with high color strength in a cool climate. The Cabernet Cantor variety does not belong in this family of grape varieties.

In the 1970s, the State Training and Research Institute for Viticulture and Fruit Growing Weinsberg in Weinsberg presented the varieties Cabernet Cubin , Cabernet Dorsa , Cabernet Dorio and Cabernet Mitos . The focus here was on the hardiness of winter with good color strength at the same time.

Carminoir is a red new breed from Agroscope RAC Changins Switzerland made from Pinot Noir with Cabernet Sauvignon from 1982.

The Marselan and Ruby Cabernet grape varieties are among the varieties that arose from the search for finesse wines from heat-resistant varieties. Marselan originated in the south of France and Ruby Cabernet is a hybrid of Harold Olmo from California.


In 1977 a gray variant (often described as a bronze-colored variant) was found in a Clegett Wines vineyard in Australia . This new variety was named Malian and produces pale red wines that have been marketed since 1991. A white variant was later found at Clegett. This white Cabernet Sauvignon (White Cabernet) was christened Shalistin . While Malian still has anthocyanins in the upper layer of the berry peel, but has lost them in the lower layer of the epidermis , the shalisti ' has no color pigments .


Worldwide area development of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Almost every country with significant viticulture has Cabernet in its vineyards. The best single variety Cabernets are made in California and Tuscany . In California, the varietal expansion is considered the highest level of completion and delivers world-class wines. Cuvées with Cabernet are often referred to as Bordeaux blends.

Cabernet Sauvignon cultivation areas in the world.

country Vineyards ha
Total area 2010 288781
Algeria 1510
Argentina 16372
Brazil 914
Bulgaria 8436
Chile 22612
Germany 295
France 54434
Georgia 286
Greece 1550
Israel 607
Italy 13724
Japan 469
Canada 542
Kazakhstan 20th
Croatia 646
Mexico 756
Moldova 7590
Myanmar 1
New Zealand 517
Austria (2015) 566
Peru 48
Portugal 1671
Romania 3718
Russia 3593
Slovakia 570
Slovenia 453
South Africa 12325
Spain 23237
Switzerland 63
Czech Republic 230
Thailand 7th
Tunisia 337
Turkey 391
Ukraine 4869
Hungary 2863
United Kingdom 1
United States 34788
Uruguay 682
Cyprus 369


It was not until the mid-1990s that Cabernet Sauvignon was ousted from the top tier of the most cultivated quality varieties and replaced by Merlot. In addition, the mass carriers Carignan and Grenache are more common. In 2008, the area under vine with Cabernet Sauvignon in France alone was 57,913 hectares. More than half of this was in the Gironde department , i.e. the Bordeaux wine-growing region. Another third of the vines were in the Languedoc-Roussillon region . In 2010 there were 54,434 ha in France.


It was not until the end of the 18th century that the variety appeared more and more in Bordeaux, with special merits being attributed to Armand d'Armailhacq and Baron Hector de Brane. Today it predominates in the great Médoc wines .

The international success of Cabernet Sauvignon is closely linked to the Bordeaux wine-growing region, although it was only very rarely grown there. Since the late 1960s at the latest, wine producers around the world have been trying to recreate the connection between the clear, yet not too heavy structure typical of a Bordeaux, with a high level of complexity at the same time. In the classic blend of Bordeaux, the wines of Cabernet Sauvignon are married with the grape varieties Merlot , Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, with the Petit Verdot . The mixture of Cabernet with Syrah , which is also widespread in the south of France , was known early on in Bordeaux, but could not establish itself there.

In a blend of a typical Bordeaux (and especially the wines of the Médoc peninsula and the wines of the Graves), the Cabernet wine represents the backbone. It represents the structure through acidity and tannins and enables the cuvée to age for a long time. Single-variety wines of this variety in Bordeaux, on the other hand, lack fullness and charm and they appear strict due to their tannins. The early ripening Merlot brings fruit and abundance. The old Cabernet Franc variety provides additional components of the fruit and complements the bouquet with its beautiful fragrance. In good years, the Petit Verdot grape variety brings additional flavor to the cuvée despite its modest share of usually less than 5%. In the case of the wines from Cahors, which are only made not far from Bordeaux, the Malbec grape variety usually takes on this outsider role , giving the blend fragrance and fruit.

In the course of time, some typical characteristics emerged in the strongholds of Cabernet Sauvignon, which obviously depend on the location within the Médoc peninsula. In the Saint-Estèphe and Pessac-Léognan appellations , the grape variety develops mineral aromas. In the Margaux appellation of origin , aromas of violets develop temporarily in the bouquet. Attributes of black currant and strong wood aromas are often attributed to the wines of Pauillac . The more subtle Saint-Julien wines have aromas of cedar wood and a scent that is often compared to that of a wooden cigar box. The red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon in the Moulis appellation are usually less tannic, but more fruity than the wines in the immediate vicinity.

The proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the cuvée, i.e. the blend, varies depending on the location, the development and, due to its dependence of the full ripeness at harvest, also on the vintage. The first-class wines of the Château Latour and Château Mouton-Rothschild estates have an exceptionally high proportion of 75% or even more . The high prices of these wines allow the use of annually renewed barriques and low yields. It is probably also no coincidence that from the area of ​​these two wineries in the Premier Cru class (→ see the Bordeaux classification of 1855) the grape variety began its triumphant advance in the Bordelais.

Other wine-growing regions in France

In Aquitaine , in addition to the Gironde department mentioned above, the variety can also be found in the nearby Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne departments . In the Dordogne, the variety finds its way into the red and rosé wines of Bergerac , Pécharmant and Montravel . In the Lot-et-Garonne department , this applies to the designations of origin Côtes de Duras , Buzet and Côtes du Marmandais .

The Cahors wine-growing region on the Tarn River mainly relies on the Duras , Jurançon Noir , Fer Servadou and Syrah grape varieties , but Cabernet Sauvignon has been growing in importance since the early 1980s. In the Côtes du Frontonnais appellation , it is one of the complementary varieties alongside the leading variety Négrette .

In Provence , Cabernet Sauvignon was made famous in particular by the doctor Jules Guyot . In the Bouches-du-Rhône department , around 1,200 hectares are planted with this variety, in the Var department almost 1,950 hectares. It can be part of the appellations of Les Baux-de-Provence , Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and Côtes de Provence .

In Languedoc-Roussillon (→ Languedoc (wine-growing region) ), immense stocks of the mass carriers Carignan and Aramon have been cleared since the mid-1980s and partly replaced by quality grape varieties such as Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since the cultivation conditions of the designations of origin did not allow for this variety, a large part of the wines is marketed in the form of Vin de Pays , a country wine. The Vin de Pays d'Oc, which was created mainly to market single-variety wines, is known. The internationally known Mas de Daumas-Gassac winery has been showing the potential of fine grape varieties in this region for more than 25 years. The fact that the Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety in Languedoc-Roussillon has so far not been able to prevail against Merlot or Syrah is also due to its weak yields and the need for irrigation to achieve sufficiently high harvests. This is difficult to reconcile with the region's low prices for country wines. Only high-priced wines can finance the luxury of the lowest yields with high quality. Within the appellations of the region, Cabernet Sauvignon can be found in the wines of Cabardès , Malepère (formerly called Côtes de la Malepère) and Limoux .


Between 1792 and 1815, Savoy (→ Savoie (wine-growing region) ) was part of France for the first time. In this short time, however, contacts were made with recognized experts in viticulture in France. It was probably during this time that the Cabernet Sauvignon variety first came to Savoy and thus later to Piedmont, which is closely related to Savoy. Allegedly Duke Manfredo di Sambuy imported this vine for the first time in 1820 at the same time as the Cabernet Franc and many other French varieties.

In Northern Italy, however, the grape variety was hardly able to establish itself and was therefore taken into account when defining the designations of origin according to the DOC wines. It was only with the production of the so-called super Tuscans that interest in this grape variety was aroused in Italy. The class of these new wines came about because leading producers in Tuscany believed that the Denomination of Origin was far too restrictive and left little room for innovation. Therefore, the new wines with different grape varieties than those prescribed by the producers were downgraded to the rank of table or country wine. The Antinori wine house launched its first Tignanello in 1971 . From 1975 onwards, French grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were also integrated into the cuvée (80% Sangiovese , 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc). The Tignanello was certainly the starting signal for the modernization of Italian viticulture, especially in Tuscany, and has found numerous imitators. With the Tignanello (and other top wines) Antinori is still resisting the regulations of the “Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico” and markets this wine as IGT , i.e. just outside the classification of Chianti Classico DOCG .

The “ Sassicaia ” wines from the “Tenuta San Guido” winery in Tuscany are also famous . The 1985 Sassicaia not infrequently sold for four-digit prices. Since these wines, according to the Italian wine regulations, do not correspond to the list of grape varieties for quality wines as Cabernet wines, they usually trade as Vino da Tavola (table wine). The nonsense of this classification has now been recognized, and numerous Tuscan growing areas allow the single-variety Cabernet or Merlot expansion. A dedicated DOC "Bolgheri" has been founded for Sassicaia.


In Germany, Cabernet Sauvignon was first grown in 1984 in the Heinrich Vollmer winery in Ellerstadt / Pfalz. The planting took place too early in anticipation of the prospect of approval, which turned out to be serious for the winemaker. Vollmer was charged in the fall of 1986 and brought to trial in April 1987. In the first instance, the winemaker was sentenced to 72 daily rates (alternatively: imprisonment) and to remove all Cabernet Sauvignon vines. In the second instance he was released and only had to pay a fine of DM 1 per vine cultivated. In an urgent procedure, the law was changed following the court hearing and the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon was allowed in Germany. Heinrich Vollmer planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines again, but this time with seedlings from the Geisenheim research institute . On the property of the Vollmer winery, the first German test facility for Cabernet Sauvignon was built in 1987, which was monitored by the research institute over a period of twelve years with regard to susceptibility to disease, inflorescence and must weight . In 2012 the winery celebrates 25 years of Cabernet Sauvignon as the first in Germany.

In Germany there were 295 hectares (= 0.3% of the German vineyards) planted with Cabernet Sauvignon in 2010. In 1999 the variety was not yet included in the statistics.

The vineyards in Germany were distributed among the individual growing areas as follows in 2010:

Wine region Area ha
Ahr 001, 0
to bathe 020th, 0
Francs 003, 0
Hessian mountain road 001, 0
Middle Rhine
Moselle 003, 0
Near 015th, 0
Palatinate 153, 0
Rheingau 003, 0
Rheinhessen 087, 0
Saale-Unstrut below 0.5
Stargarder Land
Württemberg 009, 0
Total Germany 2010 295, 0


In Switzerland, Cabernet Sauvignon is mainly grown in the canton of Valais and Ticino . The vineyard area is 63 hectares (as of 2010, source: Office fédéral de l'agriculture OFAG).


In Austria, Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in Burgenland and Lower Austria. The vineyard area is 566 ha (as of 2015).

United States of America


In 2010, the area under vines with the Cabernet Sauvignon variety was 34,788 hectares in the entire United States, with the largest proportion in California. Within just 40 years (as of 2010), the Californian wine of this variety was able to conquer a permanent place among the leading suppliers. Encouraging results at the beginning of the 1970s and, at the latest, the excellent performance of the wines in the Paris wine jury in 1976 ensured a rapid rise into the world's elite. At that time, a wine from 1973 from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars from the Stags Leap District AVA wine-growing region prevailed against the classified French goods Château Mouton-Rothschild , Château Montrose , Château Haut-Brion and Château Léoville-las-Cases .

Californian viticulture suffered a setback at the beginning of the 1980s when a phylloxera epidemic damaged large areas due to the axR1 rootstock . The Cabernet Sauvignon, whose vineyards almost doubled between 1988 and 1998, also benefited from the new plantings. The Napa Valley AVA and Sonoma Valley AVA wine-growing regions developed into true strongholds of this variety within California. In the wines of the Sonoma Valley, connoisseurs will discover fine aromas of anise and black olive , while in the wines of the Napa Valley, fruity notes with a clear tendency towards black currant predominate.

The Pacific Ocean has an important influence on viticulture in California .


In Australia , Cabernet Sauvignon is the second most important red grape variety after Syrah with a total of 25,967 hectares of vineyards (as of 2010).

New Zealand

In 2010 the area under vines in New Zealand was 517 ha.

South Africa

The acreage in South Africa was 12,325 ha in 2010.

South America

In Argentina there are 16,372 hectares in production. The most important growing country in South America, however, is Chile ( viticulture in Chile ) with a planted vineyard area of ​​22,612 ha, as of 2010.


61: Bidure, Bordeaux, Bordo, Bouche, Bouchet, Bouchet Sauvignon, Bourdeos Tinto, Bouschet Sauvignon, Breton, Burdeos Tinto, Cabarnet Sauvignon, Caberne, Caberne Sovinion, Cabernet Petit, Cabernet Piccolo, Cabernet Sauvignon Black, Cabernet Sauvignon Blauer, Cabernet Sauvignon Cl. R5, Cabernet Sauvignon Crni, Cabernet Sauvignon Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon Petit, Carbonet, Carbouet, Carmenet, Castet, Dzanati, Enfin, Epicier Noir, Franzosenrebe, Kaberne Sovinjon, Kaberne Sovinon, Kaberne Sovinyon, Kabernet Suvinjon, Lafet, Lafet , Lafite, Marchoupet, Melkii Chernyi, Menut, Navarre, Petit Bouchet, Petit Bouschet, Petit Cabernet, Petit Cavernet Sauvignon, Petit Vidure, Petit-Bouchet, Petite Parde, Petite Vidure, Sauvignon, Sauvignon Rouge, Sauvignonne, Vaucluse., Veron, Vidure , Vidure Petite, Vidure Sauvignon, Vidure Sauvignone, Vidure Sauvignonne, Vigne Dure, Vindure Sauvignone

Web links

Wiktionary: Cabernet Sauvignon  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


Individual evidence

  1. John E. Bowers, Carole P. Meredith (Department of Viticulture and Enology): The parentage of a classic wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon University of California, Davis, California. In: Nature
  2. K. Anderson, NR Aryal: Database of Regional, National and Global Winegrape Bearing Areas by Variety, 2000 and 2010. Wine Economics Research Center, University of Adelaide, December 2013 (first revision April 2014, second revision May 2014, third revision July 2014).
  3. ^ Jancis Robinson , Julia Harding, José Vouillamoz: Wine Grapes. 1st edition 2012, Penguin Books, London, ISBN 978-0-06-220636-7 .
  4. color atlas diseases, pests and beneficial insects on the vine , page 121, by Horst Dietrich Mohr, Eugen Ulmer Verlag
  5. Amanda R. Walker, Elizabeth Lee, Simon P. Robinson of CSIRO Plant Industry, Adelaide Laboratory.
  6. a b c d e f g h i K. Anderson, NR Aryal: Database of Regional, National and Global Winegrape Bearing Areas by Variety, 2000 and 2010, Wine Economics Research Center, University of Adelaide, December 2013 (first revision April 2014 ) (second revision May 2014) (third revision July 2014).
  7. Les Cepages noirs dans le Vignoble (PDF) ( Memento from January 20, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), statistics on red grape varieties per greater region, part 1, publication by the Office National Interprofessionnel des Fruits, des Legumes, des Vins et de l'Horticulture - ONIVINS for short, as of 2008
  8. Les Cepages noirs dans le Vignoble (PDF) ( Memento of March 1, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), statistics on red grape varieties per Greater Region, Part 2, publication by the Office National Interprofessionnel des Fruits, des Legumes, des Vins et de l'Horticulture - ONIVINS for short, as of 2008
  9. SWR state show on Cabernet Sauvignon in Rhineland-Palatinate in June 2012
  10. Page no longer available , search in web archives: The wine year 2008  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF), publisher Office fédéral de l'agriculture OFAG@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / 2Template: Dead Link /  
  11. ^ ÖWM
  12. Statistics Austria WeingartenBasic Survey 2015. (PDF) at
  13. Cabernet Sauvignon in the database Vitis International Variety Catalog of the Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof (English), August 11, 2020