Cabernet Gernischt is a red wine grape variety grown widely in China, most notably in the Shandong and Ningxia provinces. It is believed to have arrived there in the late 19th Century and has risen to become one of the country's most successful varieties. One particularly high-profile success came in 2009, when a Chinese wine containing Gernischt won a trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards. The wine in question – "Jia Bei Lan" (a blend of Cabernets Sauvignon, Franc and Gernischt) – was the first ever Chinese wine to win such an award.
Cabernet Gernischt almost certainly arrived in China from Bordeaux, although there are a number of competing theories about its precise identity. None of them, however, successfully explains the variety's German-sounding name, which some have taken as confirmation that it is a crossing of two varieties; similar-sounding Gemischt is the German word for "mixed" (as in Gemischter Satz).
Some sources suggest that Gernischt is actually Cabernet Franc, others a cross between Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. DNA profiling carried out by grape geneticist José Vouillamoz (co-author of Wine Grapes) confirms Gernischt's relationship to these two classic Bordeaux varieties, but shows that it is in fact Carmenere. This explains the gamey notes and aromas of green bell pepper that mark out Cabernet Gernischt wines; these are also characteristic of Chilean Carmenere.
Cabernet Gernischt is almost always blended with its Cabernet cousins, although a number of varietal examples are available. The classic Cabernet Gernischt wine is structurally similar to those made from Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon, with an additional spicy quality sometimes described as black pepper.
Synonyms include: Cabernet Gemischt, Cabernet Shelongzhu, Jiebaina (a phonetic approximation of the word "Cabernet").
Food matches for Cabernet Gernischt include: