Buying a bottle of low tannin cabernet sauvignon is an excellent choice if you typically prefer white wines and want to try a red wine. Many wine drinkers know that Cabernet Sauvignon is usually a high tannic wine. A high tannin level can give the wine a bitter taste (also known as an astringent flavor) which some people don’t like. There are Cabernet Sauvignon bottles made with low tannin content.
What Are Tannins And How Do They Affect Wine Taste?
Wine enthusiasts know that tannins are a natural substance in multiple products beyond your glass of wine. You will find tannins in tea, coffee, nuts, legume seeds, cider, and even dark chocolate (speaking of which, go here to learn wine chocolate pairing).
Generally, high-tannin wines tend to be red wines, including popular wine types like Californian Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chianti Classico. In contrast, white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and other popular varietals like Riesling typically have minimal tannin content.
The source of tannins in wine is entirely natural – they come from grape clusters. Specifically, grape tannin comes from the grape stem, skins, and seeds. Red wines, including your glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, are red because the grape skin is kept with the grape juice during fermentation. In contrast, white wines are made without significant grape skin contact. As a result, dry wine made from white wines has no meaningful tannin content, including soft tannins.
The Top 3 Ways To Find Low Tannin Cabernet Sauvignon
Finding a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon with lower tannin content is somewhat challenging. In higher-end restaurants, you may be able to order a few glasses for a Cabernet Sauvignon comparison. Ultimately, the best way to find a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon with low tannin content is to shop at a wine store with a wide selection. To help you get started, here are a few suggestions for this category of wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blends
Years ago, I thought blended wines were less good than wine varietals (i.e., a bottle of wine made from a single wine grape). In reality, blended wines can be wonderfully complex wines. For proof, the benchmark wine comes from Bordeaux, France. The fermentation process for these wines usually involves oak barrels which add additional flavors to the wine. In many cases, the winemaking process to create red blends means you have more balanced flavors than varietal wines.
The best Bordeaux wine typically includes a blend of multiple wine grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon. Adding other wine grapes to the blend is one of the best ways to reduce tannin content. A blended wine can soften some extreme elements like Cabernet Sauvignon. To fully understand how wine varietals taste, you may want to try the best red blend wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon Rose
Another option to find an easy-drinking Cab is to seek a rose wine. There are affordable wines made in a rose style using Cabernet Sauvignon. A bottle of rose wine from warmer climates will have stronger fruit qualities and relatively less earthy flavors. As a result, each glass you enjoy will have less tannin content.
Aged Cabernet Sauvignon
As wine ages, tannins fade away. That means older bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon will have lower tannin content. At a restaurant, ask for bottles that are 5-10 years old. While expensive, aged wine is one of the best ways to get low tannin Cabernet Sauvignon.
Another way to enjoy aged Cabernet Sauvignon is to go to a wine tasting event at a winery or club. I’ve attended wine-tasting events organized by the Toronto Vintners Club in the past. These groups have many different wines, including those from a cooler climate and a warmer climate
How Much Tannin Does Cabernet Sauvignon Have?
Cabernet Sauvignon starts with a relatively high tannin content as a complex, full-bodied wine. Only a few red wine grapes like Nebbiolo, Barolo, and Shiraz have higher tannin content. To see the difference in red wine tannin content, compare a glass of Beaujolais to a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine tasters who prefer light body should try other grape varietals like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.
Food Wine Pairing Tips For Low Tannin Wine
The perfect match for a low tannin Cabernet Sauvignon takes some practice. If you ask wine enthusiasts, you’ll get some helpful starting points. For example, richer foods like steak pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon. To explore that food-wine pairing further, see this guide to the best wine with steak.
Assume that you have an aged bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon 10 years old. Maybe you saw an article in Wine Spectator and picked up a bottle with an earthy flavor profile. This kind of wine is likely to have complex flavors and subtle tannins. This type of wine goes well with foods like Portobello mushrooms, meat dishes (e.g., beef and lamb), grilled meats (e.g., burgers), and cheese.
Low Tannin Cabernet Sauvignon Conclusion
Enjoying Cabernet Sauvignon with lower tannin levels doesn’t have to be tough. The first way to find low tannin Cab Sav is to pick up a blended red wine – I suggest starting with a Bordeaux red blend. A Cabernet Sauvignon rose wine is the second way to enjoy Cab Sauv with low tannin content. Finally, an aged Cabernet Sauvignon will typically have lower tannin levels.
Finding aged wine bottles can be more complicated, though. The simple way is to buy multiple bottles and keep them in a wine fridge for the next 5 to 10 years. If you don’t feel like waiting that long, ask your local wine store for options. Alternatively, contact your favorite winery directly and ask if they have aged bottles for sale.