Have you ever wondered what makes the same grape varietal from Chile taste so different from, for example, France or California? The short answer is Terroir. For those of you unfamiliar with Terroir, it is the dirt of the geographical location that imparts personality on the vines. Vines, being living creatures, are a product of their environment, from the dirt they are grown in, the climate they are raised in, to the steady guiding hand of the winemaker. Returning to my initial example of France, Chile and California, let’s take a (very broad!) look at how the Cabernet varietal can express itself differently in these areas. California tends to be bigger, bolder, fruitier and contain more oak, and isn’t the American way, bigger is better?
French Cabernets tend to be more austere, using French oak which provides more subtle, spicy flavour changes such as anise or clove. For the French, the key is in the details. A more subtle wine all around means there is more room for many flavours and aromas to develop without one overpowering the other.
Chilean Cabs could be said to fall somewhere in between the two styles, albeit with a personality of its very own. Chilean Cab’s are often planted at higher altitudes, where the UV can be much stronger. Grapes develop a thicker skin under these conditions, allowing the juicy blackberry notes to be complemented by dusty, earthy notes.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, we of course carry all three types of Cab, see how terroir can affect Cabernets for yourself!