How To Best Serve Cabernet Sauvignon
Appearing on dinner tables around the world nightly, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a popular one.
by: Amy Lieberfarb
When properly served, Cabernet has hearty flavors that wine lovers continually seek out. It is America’s favorite red wine, and it is easy to see why.
When serving a bolder, more full bodied red wine, keeping a few things in mind can bring out the best characteristics of the varietal.Temperature served, storage protocols and even glass shape can add or detract from the Cabernet experience. After using these tips from the team at Laurel Glen Vineyard, you will be serving a glass of Cabernet to guests with total confidence at your next dinner party.
Best Serving Temperature
What temperature should my wine be when I pour it in the glass? This all depends on the varietal. And Cabernet is no exception. Serving a glass of Cab at the proper temperature is important. Although the wine's flavors will present well anywhere between 55 and 65, the appropriate temperature preserves the wine and brings puts its best foot forward. Most bold red wines will only flower into full flavor at a temperature that is slightly cooler than room temperature. For wine that has been properly stored, this means you need to warm it up slightly by leaving it at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
***Another tip is to remember to hold the wine glass by the stem. When you hold the wine glass by the bowl, your hand warms the wine more rapidly.
Decant The Bottle
To decant or not to decant, that is the question. Fundamentally, decanting wine is all about aeration. When introducing air back to the juice in the bottle… the flavors, aromas and textures will be more vibrant upon pouring into the glass. For older, aged wines, decanting is also a way to remove any sediments that may have settled during wine storage. Adding oxygen can open up a wine and give it extra life. Cabernet is a “lively” wine and usually benefits from decanting. Perhaps you have opened a bottle and it seems unexpressive, a sommelier would try aeration in a decanter or with an aeration device, remembering to also allow time to work it’s magic on the wine.
Steps To Decanting Cabernet
- Choose the bottle from the cellar 24 hours in advance. Place it upright to allow for sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle.
- Uncork the bottle an hour or so before serving, making sure to wipe off any cork dust or sediment from the bottle neck.
- Get your decanter ready and…
- Pour slowly, steadily without any pause until you get to the bottom third of the bottle, at which point you pour even slower to reduce motion and allow sediment to rest on bottom.
- If the wine color becomes cloudy or sediment is seen at the neck of the bottle in the final moments of pouring - Stop pouring and leave the rest to settle.
- Try a bit now to see how the wine is, and take a sip in an hour before serving to train yourself on the differences as the wine opens up.
Choosing the Right Glass
Is there a glass designed for a more bold and robust style of wine? Of course there is. As we have shown, wine needs a very specific serving procedure to produce the flavors and aromas desired once in the glass. Cabernet is best served in a larger bowl for maximum air exposure. A larger surface area on the bottom of the glass allows the wine to come into more contact with oxygen. A larger format of stemware (whether taller or wider) also allows tasters to stick their nose into the glass to detect aromas before having a sip. The bordeaux glass, which is taller than most traditional glasses is designed for full bodied, heavier reds like Cabernet, Big Blends or Merlot. Ultimately, a good Cabernet glass will allow you to get your nose inside the glass and directs the wine to the tip of the tongue allowing more delicate notes to show on the palate.
Tips When Drinking Cabernet…
Enjoy yourself and share with those around you. Wine with friends is better than wine without… Drink well and drink responsibly.