Major Varietals

Cabernet Sauvignon

Arpad and Peter Molnar at Obsidian Ridge VineyardsTaken from

Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape varietal known for its thick, durable skin, and the vine’s resistance to the elements. After the birth of the grape, the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal began to be adopted in parts of France by winemakers searching for more durable plants that were relatively easy to grow, and the grape found its champion in the region of Bordeaux.


Cabernet Sauvignon Characteristics: Body and color compared to Pinot Noir and Syrah

“People talk about Cabernet in California being monolithic; I don’t think these wines are,” says Peter Molnar, co-founder of the lauded Obsidian Ridge Vineyard. Whereas Napa generically divides itself between the brighter, more polished wines from the valley floor versus the rugged, muscular Cabernets cultivated on the hillsides, Lake County grows almost exclusively mountain fruit. “The lake itself is already at 1,300 feet above sea level,” says Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. “The whole region is a high-elevation region.” With its mountainous southern border, Lake County barricades the fog that blankets so much California’s North Coast. The result is a higher intensity of UV light that can soften Cabernet’s green flavors. As a whole, Lake County Cabernet can appear lighter on its feet, exuberantly displaying a juicy red fruit purity structured by a cooling backbone of acidity.

Taken from Lake County: Home of California’s next great Cabernet?