Not long ago when I ordered wine for delivery from a local supermarket (not Bottle Barn, of course) my requested bottle of Sauvignon Blanc came to my door as a Cabernet Sauvignon. Obviously, some basic wine education is in order at that establishment, or was the delivery of wine from the same family somehow appropriate?

Cabernet Sauvignon, a red wine, is made from the eponymous grape, which is the most widely planted variety worldwide. It’s often referred to simply as “Cab.” Sauvignon Blanc is an older varietal, white in color, producing a white wine that is also extremely popular throughout the globe. “Cab,” however, could also refer to Cabernet Franc, a red wine made from red grapes, often used in blending, though there are great Cab Franc varietal wines too.

Cabernet Sauvignon, it turns out from genetic testing, is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. All three originally came from France, and all three are permitted varieties in Bordeaux.

Somehow Cabernet Sauvignon came out producing relatively tannic, robust red wines, with lots of complexity and potential for ageing (if that’s how they’re made). The parents Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, however, do not produce heavy, tannic wines, and are best consumed when fairly young.

All three are highly adaptable and relatively easy to grow, and it could be fun to host a wine dinner where all three are served. Cabernet Franc features less tannins than Cab Sauvignon, but still maintains balanced acidity and a savory quality, with elements of green bell pepper and spices alongside mellow red, purple, and black fruit flavors. It boasts floral and herbal aromas rather than smoke, spice, and tar of Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2017 Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Franc, for example, has aromas of plums and blackberries with an notes of sandalwood, camphor, lavender and bay leaves. 100% of the fruit came from the famed To Kalon Vineyard. James Suckling says drink it now or hold it for a few years (or both).

There are too many Cabernet Sauvignon wines to choose from, but one classic example from California is the 2017 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rutherford appellation in the Napa Valley. Suckling says it boasts aromas of “currants, blackberries and violets” with “a medium body and firm, tight tannins that give it length and structure.” Typical for these wines that open up substantially after ageing, its recommended to consume after 2022.

Sauvignon Blanc makes a nice aperitif as well as consumed with appetizers. A wine from France’s Sancerre appellation in the Loire Valley is perfect! Consider the 2020 Francois Cotat Cul de Beaujeu Sancerre, which is made from 100% organically-grown grapes. It entices you with aromas of apricots, peaches, citrus, and wildflowers. On the palate there is poached pear, candied quince and a suggestion of anise.

All Bottle Barn wines are available for delivery across the USA, and we won’t give you a Cab Sauv when you order a Sauv Blanc, promise!


Written By: - Charlie Leary

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