Cabernet Sauvignon: the James Bond of Cultivars | Zonnebloem

Cabernet Sauvignon: the James Bond of Cultivars

Posted on: 11 September 2020

Cabernet Sauvignon. What a cultivar! A survey of American wine lovers crowned it the King of red grape varietals. And rightly so. It’s elegant, bold and quite simply, dashing.

I had the privilege to work in Bordeaux as a student many years ago. I remember getting off the train in Pauillac waiting for the farm manager of Chateaux Leoville Las Casses to collect me. In that moment I was surrounded by a vista of flat-lands, brimming with the noblest fruits of the land – vineyards from horizon to horizon. Over the next couple of weeks, I was treated to hundreds of tastings of some of the world’s most special Bordeaux blends but also all the building blocks, in particular Cabernet Sauvignon.

A year later as a harvest student in California I found myself strolling in and out of the tasting rooms of some of Napa’s most impressive wine farms and was yet again, overwhelmed by the unapologetic presence of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon is very well travelled and found on vineyard slopes across the globe. Even across continents, climates and winemaking techniques, this wine varietal is unmistakable in its DNA. No wonder it carries the celebrity status of being the world’s most recognised wine – almost like James Bond! All that natural charisma and presence. They both have the ability to literally own a room simply by just being in it.

Ageing Cabernet Sauvignon

A well-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon will rest comfortably and age beautifully for around eight years although many, including Zonnebloem’s Cabernet Sauvignon, continue to bring pleasure to wine collectors even after 20 years of ageing in the bottle. But remember that even though Cabernet Sauvignon is certainly not shy, please don’t store your wine out in the open! The most optimal space is a cool, dark spot like a basement or under the stairs – far away from warmth and direct sunlight. Lay the bottles flat on their sides to ensure the cork doesn’t dry out and shrink.

The right time to open your wine is up to you but if the storage conditions were perfect, then wait for at least eight years – you will be pleasantly rewarded with the complex character, riper fruit and soft tannins that bottle maturation brings.

Whichever moment you choose to enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, you won’t be disappointed. And in true James Bond style, make sure the moment is in in the company of rich, robust and fragrant dishes. Afterall he couldn’t have said it better in the novel Casino Royale, “I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink.

Let’s cheers to that!

Elize Coetzee

Cellar Master