Whether you’re preparing for Cabernet Day, celebrating Washington Wine Month, or just want to learn more about wine and food pairing, here are tips for how to match Cabernet Sauvignon with the food on your plate.

The number one guiding principle is to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. Cabernet Sauvignon is a big full-bodied red wine, so big bold flavors on the menu are appropriate.

Keep in mind the flavors of the wine, and create a match by incorporating or complementing those flavors in the food:
Black Cherry
Chocolate
Coffee
Baking Spices

Start with one of these proteins:
Beef
Lamb
Duck
Squab

And/or include ingredients that connect the wine with the food (aka “bridge ingredients”):
Basil
Bay Leaf
Garlic
Rosemary
Walnuts
Reduction Sauces
Black Olives
Balsamic Vinegar

Use these cooking techniques:
Grilling
Roasting
Braising
Stewing

Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic. Fire up the barbie and throw on some burgers. Prime rib, roast beef, and pot roast are all in the running here. Cabernet is a meat lover’s friend.

Vegetarians should not despair. Those bridge ingredients will be your friend in pairing. Garlic and basil are part of pasta marinara so mangia mangia! Or, for a less traditional pasta dish toss walnuts and black olives with linguine along with some spinach. Walnuts help cut the tannins in big red wines.

Start experimenting, and share your pairings with us.

About the Author

Nancy Croisier is an enthusiastic advocate for exploring the world of wine. She holds the prestigious designation of Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators, and has graduated from the Northwest Wine Academy with expert training in wine and food pairing, as well as wine sales and marketing. She specializes in bringing wine brands and consumers together.