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Hervé Birnie-Scott, CEO of Bodegas Chandon

Cabernet Sauvignon, a prevailing grape variety

May 16, 2011 by Hervé Birnie-Scott | in News, Opinions

Cabernet Sauvignon, native to France, was spread en masse over all countries of the New World, adapting to a great variety of terroirs. Today, it is leading in Argentina, after Malbec.

Since 1851, from “Quinta Agronómica” of Mendoza, run by the famous Michel Pouget, in Argentina, Cabernet Sauvignon is on a par with Malbec and other French varieties. It was planted en masse and was considered fine wine throughout many decades. Moreover, fifteen years ago in Argentina, fine red varietal was synonymous with Cabernet instead of Malbec.

For a decade, Malbec has ranked as the signature grape variety of Argentina, in which case foreign opinion shapers, such as Robert Parker or some celebrities from Decanter played a leading role.

Nowadays, Malbec is well positioned in the domestic and different foreign markets, but it represents only 15% of the planted area of the country. Its frenetic growth of the last decade will be more moderate in the future. Wine industry has started an introspection process to analyze which other red grape varieties can reflect the outstanding quality of Argentina’s terroirs and its professionals’ know-how.

Many people, including me, believe that Cabernet Sauvignon leads the list of red varieties with great commercial potential. Among red varieties, it is the first car behind the locomotive that is still Malbec, regarding quality and volume. As regards planted area, after Malbec with its imposing 29,000 hectares, Cabernet Sauvignon ranks as the third red grape variety covering 18,000 hectares, just behind Bonarda.

Likewise, Cabernet has a particular characteristic as it is in the only important area of the world with no influence of sea on the terroir. Grown at a suitable height and latitude, this variety enjoys ideal temperature ranges for developing its varietal characteristics with stronger aromas of black fruits, cassis, blackberries, black cherries, sweet spices, round tannins, with less influence of green peppers (Pyrazina) and lower roughness. Other advantage is the quality it can reach, thanks to its vegetative period enabling it to fully ripen every year. At the same time, Cabernet Sauvignon reveals an impressive bottle aging potential, giving birth to icon wines which make Argentina be prestigious.

Likewise Malbec, continental Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina, particularly from Mendoza, could also be something new in the world’s wine industry. Henceforth, the recipe is always the same: quality, quality, quality!

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