Cabernet is native to Gironde (Bordeaux), in France. Outside Europe, it is now firmly established also in North America, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Italy too has long been regarded as home to Cabernet, especially Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Franc: Originally from southwest France, it was initially planted in Italy in the provinces of Brescia and Frosinone, to then reach other viticultural areas in the country where Bordeaux-style wines were successfully made.
Cabernet Sauvignon: A varietal of French origin, it is currently grown in temperate-warm climates around the globe; it was first introduced in northeast Italy to then expand to the entire peninsula, especially in areas with higher GDD (Growing Degree Days).
The grape clusters are medium-sized, cylindrical or conical, and moderately tight. The berries are medium-small and round and have a thick skin, while the flesh is juicy and grassy.
Cabernet Franc: The shoot apex is wide, with a green-white color and bronze-red shades. The leaves are medium-sized, pentagonal and 3- or 5-lobed, with a narrow lyre-shaped petiolar sinus, frequently with a tooth; the lower surface is slightly tomentous. The medium-sized bunches are cylindrical-conical and generally tight, while the berries are medium to small and round, with a thick skin.
Cabernet Sauvignon: A rather homogeneous variety, the only differences being in the shape of the bunches and in vigor. The expanded shoot apex has evident pink nuances. The medium-sized leaves are pentagonal, five-lobed with a closed petiolar sinus with overlapping edges, and almost hairless. The bunches are medium-small and generally compact and cylindrical, and often have an evident wing. The berry is medium-sized and round; the skin is firm, the pulp is slightly fleshy and has a mildly herbaceous taste.
Adaptable to multiple training and pruning methods, provided that the canopy is contained also in consideration of the vineyard context.
Cabernet Franc: It prefers long pruning, as well as spur pruning in hot, dry environments. Lignification is good, better than with Cabernet Sauvignon or Carmenère, which makes it fit for areas where winters are harsh. It is moderately susceptible to botrytis and esca, and very susceptible to leafhoppers and dead arm.
Cabernet Sauvignon: It adapts well to warm climates, or also generally dry and windy. In northern Italy, it prefers hillsides with a favorable exposure, or pebbly or clayey and well-drained soils in the plains. It does not grow in climates where the Growth Degree Days are insufficient, nor fertile and damp soils, as these would cause inadequate lignification. It can take different training and pruning methods, provided that the canopy is contained also in consideration of the vineyard setting. Medium and constant yields. It is susceptible to grapevine trunk diseases like esca and dead arm, as well as to rachis necrosis.