Cabernet Sauvignon - Attitude towards aging
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Cabernet Sauvignon was mostly known for its ability to mature inside the bottle. Over time, the tannins in this type of wine became less rough, and its aging process contributed various aromas and flavors, making it more intricate.
In the past, high-quality Bordeaux wines were known for their ability to age up to 100 years, but now winemakers around the world have created styles that can also mature and improve over several decades. Although Cabernet Sauvignon wines can age well, some can still be drinkable even after a few years of aging.
In Bordeaux, the tannins in wines usually soften after ten years and may need another ten years to reach their full potential, depending on the producer and vintage. Although some Cabernets from Spain and Italy may also require a similar aging time to the Bordeaux wines, there are many cases where they are made to be enjoyed earlier.
New World Cabernets are known for being drinkable earlier than those from Bordeaux, but top-quality wine producers from California, such as cult wine makers, are still creating wines that require aging for up to thirty years to fully develop. However, many California Cabernets need at least ten years to mature, while some can be enjoyed after only two to five years. In contrast, New Zealand wines are usually consumed when they are young and maintain their herbaceous flavor, even after being bottled for a long time.
When young, South American Cabernets have a strong fruity flavor that can be easily perceived, and this flavor remains in the best examples even as these wines age. On the other hand, South African wines lean towards European styles and usually take between six and eight years to develop new flavors.