what food pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon
A first little pointer before we start, but in case you were worried about mispronouncing, Cabernet Sauvignon, a French based word is pronounced –  Cab-er-nay Saw-vin-yawn.  Now back to business, as we find out “What Foods pair with Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Within this article, we will be answering the all-important question of what food pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon.  But first, let us tell you a bit about the wine itself as we discuss the typical flavours, its origin,and the best climates for growing the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. 
The supposed ‘birth’ of Cabernet Sauvignon dates to the 17th Century in France where an accidental crossbreeding of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc created this fabulous wine we have today  Sauvignon first arrived in Australia in 1832, through a James Busby collection. Unfortunately, many of the initial vines did not successfully grow due to a poor choice in location sites, though it has now since become an Australian wine success story and is Australia’s second most widely grown red grape variety, behind the popular Shiraz.
Cabernet Sauvignon can grow successfully in both cool and warm climates, it just means that there are slight variations between the two with warmer climate Cabernet Sauvignon’s generally having riper fruits, richer flavours and soft tannins, whereas cool climate Cabernet Savignon’s tend to have a tighter tannin structure, with more restrained fruit flavours.  The most common warm climate areas in Australia for the growing of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are Margaret River, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley.  Whereas, the cooler climate areas are Eden, Yarra and Clare Valley.  Cabernet Sauvignon is known for being a full-bodied and rich drink of high acidity and tannin, with flavours of dark plums, blackberries, vanilla, eucalyptus, cedar, chocolate and occasionally coffee. It is often aged in oak barrels that gives it its signature mature taste, though the length of the maturing process is down to the winemaker’s preference and makes each Cabernet Sauvignon individual to its owner.
Verwood Estate Wines is based in the Southern Highlands in New South Wales, Australia which is considered a cool climate region.   We were able to produce one of our first vintages in 12 years due to being blessed with a warm, dry year free of frost –perfectly balanced for the cool climate. As Cabernet Sauvignon usually takes longer to grow due to requiring longer time in the sun to ripen, Verwood was lucky enough to have a beautifully warm summer in 2018/2019 that provided us with our first Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.  Our wine is smooth and very easy to drink with an array of bold and intense flavours of black fruits and toasty notes of blackcurrant, red plum, eucalyptus, and vanilla.  It has also been aged in French oak barrels for a year, creating some maturation, yet remaining easy and pleasant on the palate. Now that we’ve piqued your interest in Verwood’s Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, lets see what food pairs well with our red delight?
Our first sampling of the Cabernet Sauvignon was with beef nachos, salad, sour cream, and guacamole which turned out to beautiful combination. The difference in taste when pairing the wine with meat created a full-bodied, but smooth taste, and when pairing it with the salad created more of a refreshing taste on the palate.  The diversity that a Cabernet Sauvignon has in pairing with a variety of foods just makes it all the more pleasing and enjoyable to drink.1 Before we go on though, I do have to tell you how we came about to have our first tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Beef Nachos.  Beth and I had just crossed the Victorian boarders into NSW (legally) during the Corona lockdown.  We arrived at Verwood Estates and were isolated in what was a very nice suite to isolate in I might add.  We were isolating with a Canadian pair who had also crossed the Victorian Boarders.  That day the “free team” as they had come to be known, had bottled the first Verwood Cabernet Sauvignon, a reason to celebrate no doubt.  So Natalie and the team cooked up a delicious beef nachos, sour cream, guacomole and salad.  It was our first official Verwood Wine Food Pairing, and it was a success.  That night will be one I forever fondly remember.


Because of its vibrancy in flavours, Cabernet Sauvignon is usually paired best with hearty, reddishes, as well as rich sauces –a typical pairing is with a fat, juicy steak, though there are a multitude of other food pairings perfect for this wine! So, what foods pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon?  Well, to begin with, not all food needs to be paired with Cabernet Sauvignon but can become part of the meal instead! A slow braised beef is the perfect example of this as the fat juices and richness of the sauce will make a beautiful environment for the Cabernet Sauvignon and intensify the tannins, invigorating all the flavours within the dish2.  Personally, I would buy a less quality Cab Sav to add to the dish and leave Verwoods Cabernet Sauvignon for the tasting.
What are some Australian Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings? An Aussie favourable food pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon is lamb, either being roasted, braised, or grilled.  Rosemary braised lamb shanks make an ideal Cabernet Sauvignon food match, firstly because it is lamb, and secondly because of the rosemary which is a perfect spice match! According to an article in ‘All Recipes’3, rosemary compliments Cabernet beautifully, though it can make almost any dish red wine friendly (something to keep in mind).
What food goes with Cabernet Sauvignon? Moussaka, whether it is lamb or vegetarian, is a good Cabernet Sauvignon food match because of its copious amounts of dark fruits–these flavours pair well with the tomato sauce that is usually lathered in this dish, as well as the many vegetables used such as zucchini and potato. As mentioned previously with spice matches, lamb tagine is a Moroccan dish that has an array of Moroccan spices in it that pairs beautifully with Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is not the only perk of this dish, the fact that it is lamb and a stew make it the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon food match!
Now let us move away from the lamb and explore some other options of what food pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon.  For any of the cheese lovers out there, you’ll be thrilled to know that Cabernet Sauvignon is a good all-rounder with most cheeses on a cheeseboard!  Either a mild Gouda, or a more mature cheddar is a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon food match that’ll be sure to awaken your taste buds.
What food goes with Cabernet Sauvignon?  Surprisingly, burgers are a great food pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon, and you may be thinking why is that surprising as it is beef which is a red meat and ideal for a full-bodied wine, though have you considered the pairing with beef and cheese? A beef burger, specifically with blue cheese like Gorgonzola, will give you a new taste sensation and really ignite the flavour. Not only can it be paired beautifully with a beef burger, but you can always try a turkey burger too with blue cheese!
What food pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon for the non-meat lovers? Well, mushrooms are a fantastic choice as the earthiness and herbs used to season really help to bring out the flavours in a Cab Sav4.  Better yet, Portabello mushrooms that are roasted in garlic and butter make a fabulous food pairing, or why not give dried porcini mushrooms a go as these allow a Cabernet Sauvignon to take centre stage. 2https://www.winecompass.com.au/blog/cabernet-sauvignon-wine-and-food-pairing-perfect-matching/3https://www.allrecipes.com/article/best-recipes-pair-cabernet-sauvignon/4https://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/news/pairings/six-of-the-best-matches-for-napa-valley-cabernet-sauvignon/
Another Australian Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing perfect for those winter months is lasagne, which is also a family favourite meal!  This dish is perfect for a Cabernet Sauvignon because of the beef used and the tomato-based sauce. Together with a smooth bechamel sauce, it tones down the acidity levels that would come through in a Cab Sav and instead creates an easy and enjoyable food pairing.

For a classic Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing, the go-to is steak, with the fattier cuts being a better match such as sirloin or ribeye, or the favourite here at Verwood Estates – Cattlemans Cut!  Both cuts pair deliciously with Cabernet Sauvignon, either rare-medium rare, but this also depends on your preference.  In terms of other steak cuts, what food goes with Cabernet Sauvignon? A good hunk of Filet Mignon with a balsamic glaze will be something all the steak lovers should try.  The combination of the red wine reduction and balsamic vinegar will create perfection on a plate and really make the flavours pop! Australian Cabernet Sauvignon’s are known for being typically fruitier, with a lower alcohol content and aged less in oak, compared to California, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon’s5.  Because of this, a great Australian Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing is a simple meat loaf as the mixing of onions, tomatoes and seasonings compliment a typical Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon with them being smoother, and easier to drink.

Is your mouth watering yet? I hope so, as mine is !  So now we know that there is a great selection of what food pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon in that it is a goodall-rounder wine that creates different tastes on the palate, depending on what food it is paired with.   Instead of going with a typical steak and Cab Sav (though this is still a great food pairing), why not explore some of the options listed in this article today and discover what food pairs with Cabernet Sauvignon best suited to your palate? Better yet, give the Verwood Estate Wines Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, that is new to August 2020, a try and experience its smooth, but intense flavours of black fruits and toasty notes of blackcurrant, red plum, eucalyptus, and vanilla, whilst pairing it with some beef nachos, salad and Mexican dips to fully indulge in the array of flavours.  Even for those of you who may not be red-wine drinkers, this Cabernet Sauvignon will be a perfect introductory red as it is smooth and gentle on the palate that doesn’t have a harsh after taste. You can order yours today from our website at https://verwoodestatewines.com/product/special-reserve-cabernet-sauvignon-2019/for $32.00.
If you have any personal experience on what foods pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon, especially Verwood’s, please email us your recipe and photos and we may use them in one of our Ballgowns and Booze episodes.
By Rebecca Sterry
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