Cabernet Sauvignon is, along with Merlot, one of the world’s most planted dark-skinned grape varieties. It’s also one of the most identifiable, with a nose that hints at green peppers and a consistent black currant flavor.
The grape is a cross between the red grape Cabernet Franc and the white grape Sauvignon Blanc.
Cabernet is distinct in its ability to produce big flavor thanks to a high concentration of compounds found in grapes called phenolics. It also can produce wines that age well. The high number of seeds (pips) in a Cabernet grape gives it bold tannins, and its thick skin gives the wine its dark, rich color.
Wines made from Cabernet often are characterized by their fruit flavor, their level of oakiness and their alcohol level.
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Source: The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson