Pairing Food with Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most vastly grown red wine grape variety in the world. Its flavor spectrum can span from voluptuous fruit (think New World Cabernet, such as those from Napa Valley or Barossa Valley) or be more refined and earthy (think Old World, such as Cabernet from Bordeaux).
While flavor intensity can vary due to Terroir and wine making style, Cabernet Sauvignon is typically full-bodied, tannic, complex and higher in alcohol and acid. That being said, we want to present a couple of Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing options in order to accommodate the varying flavoric style of the wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon’s that maintain these typical characteristics need to be paired with food appropriately, otherwise these wines can make food appear to taste bland. Tannic Cabs go well with full-flavored and somewhat salty foods. Acidic Cabs go well food that also maintains a decent acidic content, such as tomato based pastas or meat dishes (meatballs, penne alla vodka with ground turkey, etc).
Now lets think about flavor. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs best with foods that have substantial spice and a savory body. Red meats like sirloin or filet mignon, hamburgers, moist brisket, pork or coal fired charred crust pizza are some of our favorites.
But it’s not just meats that work well with a glass of Cab. Marinated chicken and heavier fish such as salmon and swordfish can pair just as well. It really depends how they’re marinated and spiced up! Aim for foods that will help to bring out the smoke, green bell pepper, black cherry and currant notes present in many Cabernets. You’re going to want to eat bold flavored and equally complex foods with a Cab.
Scroll down past the tasting profile below for our 5 Best Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairings & Recipes.
Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Profile
Acid: Medium-Plus — High
Tannin: Medium-Plus — High
Body: Medium — Full
Fruit: Red & Black (Blackberry, Black Currant, Raisin, Cherry, Plum, Cranberry Jam)
Earth & Mineral Notes: Wet Gravel, Underbrush, Cracked Spice
Additional Complexities: Smoke, Green Bell Pepper, Oak, Cedar, Olive, Tobacco, Mushroom, Mint
5 Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairings & Recipes to Maximize Flavor
- There’s nothing like a savory, moist and delectable barbecue sauced up piece of beef brisket. The meat as it flakes off the cut works well with the tannins in Cab Sauv and also helps to accentuate big fruit flavors. Especially in wines from noteworthy growing regions like Napa Valley.
- Burgers are a perfect pairing for Cabernet Sauvignon. In reality, any old fashioned char-grilled burger will pair nicely. But why not add some spice to the equation? Cab’s almost always have some evidence of substantial spice and elevated acid. Try incorporating a little bit of heat to make the most of both your wine and your meal!
- If you’re not a big red meat fan, fear not! Here’s a chicken pairing idea that will not fail. Try making barbecue chicken pizza with a creative twist. Check out the recipe above from The Pioneer Woman and consider adding on cilantro, pineapple slices and even jalapeño.
- The name of this recipe alone makes my mouth water. Swordfish is a heavier-bodied fish, which makes it one of the few kinds of fish that work well with Cabernet. Any kind of blackened fish is always going to be a good idea to pair with a wine with depth. The cajun-styled blackened filet accompanied by sweet mango and balancing avocado is inevitably going to make your wine drinking experience better.
If you’re going to be drinking red wine with your steak, why not marinate it with it as well? Better yet, marinate your beef and also make a red wine sauce for drizzling. Any cut will work, but my personal preference is char-grilling flank or filet mignon.