Cabernet sauvignon - Wine regions - Italy
Italian wine has a rich history of Cabernet Sauvignon, which was initially brought to Piedmont in the 1820s. The grape variety gained fame in the mid-1970s and was also at the center of the debate when used in Super Tuscan wines.
Currently, some Denominazioni di Origine Controllata (DOC) allow the use of the grape, while it is also used in various Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) wines produced outside the specific DOC zone limits. However, throughout its existence, the grape has been considered an intruder that diverts attention from native varieties.
After many years of experimentation, producers have managed to blend Cabernet Sauvignon with their local varieties, which has improved the opinion of the wine.
The grape variety is often added to Nebbiolo to enhance the color and fruity flavors of the wine, which is considered an unauthorized blend in the Barolo DOC. Instead, Cabernet Sauvignon can be blended with Nebbiolo and Barbera in the Langhe and Monferrato DOCs, as allowed by regulations.
Oak is often used in wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, and Barbera grapes to balance their high levels of tannins and acidity. In Piedmont, there are varietal Cabernet Sauvignon wines that have different qualities depending on where they are produced. It is common to associate the three grape varieties with sweet and spicy notes, achieved by adding oak.
Merlot is often blended with this grape in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia to create Bordeaux-style wines in other northern Italian regions. Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes combined with primary Valpolicella-Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella grapes in the Veneto region. In southern Italy, it is usually blended with local varieties such as Carignan in Sardinia, Nero d’Avola in Sicily, Aglianico in Campania, and Gaglioppo in Calabria.