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Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Bordeaux region of France and it is the major variety in some of the best wines of the Medoc. The area in France increased from 11 800 ha in 1968 to 36 468 ha in 1988. It is also prominent in Chile with 12 500 ha and has increased rapidly in recent years to 14 000 ha in California, 5890 ha in Australia and 4660 ha in South Africa. In Italy it is a minor variety recommended only in the extreme north. It is probably more important in eastern Europe and Argentina. Cabernet Sauvignon is vigorous with rather upright growth and is often cane pruned to avoid limiting the crop. It is generally regarded as low yielding, but with clonal selection it has been possible to combine good yield with good wine quality. It has medium deeply 5-lobed leaves with the petiolar sinus often cut right in to the veins at the base. The leaves are glossy green above and have scattered tufts of hair on the lower surface. The bunches are rather small, conical, often winged and loose to well filled. The small round berries detach cleanly for mechanical harvesting. The excellent quality of the wines of Cabernet Sauvignon is well known. They have good colour and a pronounced varietal character which is very intense when the vines are grown under cooler conditions. With their high tannin they require aging and are often blended.