Cabernet is the world's most planted grape, and is arguably the most popular
Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s grape. It is called “King Cab” by some, and an interloper by others. It is all things to many grape farmers, vintners, and wine drinkers. Some dismiss it, some drink nothing else. Regardless of how you feel about Cabernet Sauvignon, it has been helpful to many winemakers the world over. It is grown in almost every wine region on the planet and brings complexity to blends.
Not as difficult to grow as Pinot Noir, but pickier about soil and climate than Merlot, the thick-skinned Cab needs warmth to ripen, but too much heat leads to jammy, unsubtle red wines. It finds its most revered and sought after expressions in Bordeaux where it is blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and occasionally other grapes) to create distinct wines with immense aging potential, and in the robust and heady single varietal Napa Valley Cabernets. The best Cabernet Sauvignons can still be vibrant after a century or more.
Thankfully as winemaking technique has advanced in the last few decades we are seeing more and more accessible young Cabernets. These youthful wines can beguile the senses from the very beginning. The dark fruit scent of blackcurrant is a hallmark of the grape, but other often found notes include black cherry, plum, eucalyptus, mint, tobacco, pencil shavings, and if picked early the scent of green bell pepper.