The influence of climate on the aromas and characteristics of wines (episode 2/3)

Cabernet Sauvignon

This grape does not tolerate cool climates where unpleasant herbaceous notes develop. It needs a temperate or warm climate.

It presents a core of characteristics independent of the climate (intensely colored wines with a lot of acidity and tannins as well as intense aromas of black fruits (cassis, black cherry) and vegetal notes (green pepper, mint).

To this, always regardless of the climate, are added the aromas associated with aging in oak barrels which brings notes of smoke, vanilla, coffee and cedar and aromas linked to aging (tobacco, cedar).

Comes next climate influence:

  • In the temperate climates : the nuances herbaceous plants (green pepper, mint) are pronounced and the Cassis dominate the black cherry.
    We find these nuances:
    • On the left bank of Bordeaux where Cabernet-Sauvignon is predominant in the blends.
    • In Australia at Coonawarra (blackcurrant, mint and distinctive notes of Eucaliptus), Margaret river (Blackcurrant and Blackcurrant Leaves).
    • In New Zealand at Hawke's Bay (cedar, blackcurrant leaves).
    • In Argentina at Mendoza (Uco Valley) with specific additional notes of meat and leather
    • In South Africa at Stellenbosch with wines close to the Bordeaux style but with a strong vegetal note.
    • In the United States, which together with Bordeaux produces the best Cabernet-Sauvignon in the world: Howell mountain, Mount veeder, Santa Cruz Montains.

  • In the hot climates : the vegetable nuances are more indented and the aromas of black and ripe cherry dominate blackcurrant notes.
    We find these nuances: 
    • In Italy : Tuscany and Bolgheri
    • In Chile at Maipo Valley, Colchaqua and Cachapoal 
    • In Argentina at Mendoza (Maipu)
    • In Australia at Mc Laren Vale, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley
    • In the United States in California (Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, Calistoga, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, Mendocino County) and in the Central Coast (Monterey, Santa Barbara County, Paso robles)



This grape is similar to the Cabernet-Sauvignon with which it is often blended, in that it only ripens in a temperate or hot climate, or even very hot. 

It gives wines that are less fragrant, with less intense aromas, with less tannins and acidity than Cabernet-Sauvignon, but with more body and alcohol. It presents aromas linked to aging in oak barrels which brings spicy and woody notes (vanilla, coffee) and aromas linked to aging (tobacco, cedar)

  • In the temperate climates : Elegant wines with aromas of red fruits (strawberries, red berries, plums) and vegetal notes (mint)
    We find these nuances: 
    • On the right bank of Bordeaux where Merlot is predominant in the blends.
    • In Australia at Coonawarra
    • In the United States at Howell mountain, Mount veeder, Columbia valley and Yakima Valley
  • In the hot to very hot climates : Wines with lots of body, medium to low acidity, lots of alcohol and melted tannins; The aromas in hot climates are those of black fruits (blackberry, black plum, black cherry) and in very hot climates aromas of fruit cake and of chocolate.
    We find these characteristics:
    • In South Africa at Stellenbosch
    • In Australia at Mc Laren Valley and Margaret river 
    • In the United States at Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Monterrey, Paso robles and Santa Barbara County

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