Cabernet Sauvignon

Artists paint about it, authors write about it, poets rhyme about it and winemakers love to make it. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties through its prominence in the greatest Bordeaux wines.

We have spent twenty years developing our own specialized vineyard management and winemaking techniques to produce a series of rich, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon based wines that taste the way you would expect France's best Bordeaux,Premier cru classé wines to taste after fifteen years of aging.

Because terroir, the sense of place, is important we grow Cabernet Sauvignon in three separate vineyards, each producing incredible fruit and wines which then become a palette for our palates. Click on any of our wines to read a little more on each or click here to shop . . .

Pairing Food with Williamson Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon, often referred to as the “King of Red Wine Grapes” is a medium to full-bodied red wine, powerful with a long finish. Lively, rich flavors of plums, blackberry vanilla and tobacco makes for a strong, yet versatile wine ideal to pair with foods having the following characteristics.

  • Texture – Medium to Heavy
  • Flavor – Multiple, complex flavors
  • Spice – Low to medium spice content
  • Loves – Steak

Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely a red meat wine. Pair it with New York and T-bone steaks with just a little pepper and salt, garlic or blue cheese butter or Béarnaise sauce. Just a warning - do not use pepper as a major spice on foods that you wish to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Our Clone Choice

Winemakers and viticulturists select their grape varietal as a Chef would for spices in their kitchen. Every clone offers slightly different characteristics than their parent variety. Clones are highly specialized, from flavor profile, berry size, cluster shape, vine yields, vine vigor, bud break, and tolerances to heat, cold, humidity, and drought.

There is high level of interest in Cabernet Sauvignon clones in Napa Valley as growers seek clones that work well within their specific climate and soils while French growers appear to have very little interest in the topic of clones.

New plantings in the Bordeaux region are based on several clones with 337 being "closest to a cult" due to its small berries, deep color, and the perception of producing long-lived wines.

Here in our California Cabernet vineyards we have tried and tested several clones however our preference is for Clone 337, a moderate producer which grows small berries and clusters to produce a dense, complex Cabernet Sauvignon wine with minimal herbal notes leaving the impression of lush, rich, bright, red berry fruit. Clone 337 allows us to pick late and make well extracted wines to create the fruit-driven style of Cabernet that emulates great well-aged French wines.

Typically our Cabernet Sauvignon flavor profiles show medium to deep, ruby to purple color with a slightly austere, cedar impression to black fruit nose, leading to a touch of chocolate. The fruits are softer and more rounded on the palate, a touch more aromatic, showing more as plum than cherry. Smooth, fine grained tannins coat the palate, where the more opulent character of this clone really shows.

Background of Cabernet Sauvignon

Genetic studies at U.C. Davis have determined that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually the hybrid offspring of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Originating during the 17th century in southwestern France, Cabernet Sauvignon is strongly influenced by the warmth of the climate. The vine is one of the last major grape varieties to bud and ripen so the climate of the growing season dictates when the grapes should be harvested.

Northern California gives the vine plenty of warm sunshine allowing it to ripen fully. In regions like Bordeaux, harvest season is consistently under the threat of inclement weather so Cabernet Sauvignon is often harvested a little earlier than ideal, requiring it to be blended with other grapes to fill in the flavor gaps. This accounts for one of main reasons that virtually all Bordeaux wines are blends.

Cabernet Sauvignon seems to perform better in the gravel based soil of the Médoc region on the Left Bank of the River Garonne in Bordeaux and this is also true of our gravel based soil on the West Bank of Dry Creek in the vineyards of our Home Ranch .

In addition to ripeness levels, harvest yields also have a strong influence in the resulting quality and flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon wine. To reduce yields, we practice green harvesting with aggressive pruning of the grape clusters soon after veraison.