Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairing

What kind of food goes with Cabernet Sauvignon? This food pairing guide will tell you the answer. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular wine in the world and with the right food it will taste even more delicious. 

steak with french fries

Published September 17th 2020

Cabernet Sauvignon food paring is a lovely topic. This full-bodied dry red wine with characteristic aromas of black fruit aromas, herbs and spice it pairs very well with a wide range of rich dishes. Steak is probably the most famous pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are many more great matches. In this guide you will find everything you need to know about Cabernet Sauvignon food paring.

About Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular and probably also the most famous grape variety in the world. It comes originally from Bordeaux in southwestern France, but today you can find Cabernet Sauvignon wine from almost every wine producing country in the world. It is a delicious and versatile grape which gives rich full-bodied red wines with high tannins and good acidity. It is used in both brands and single varietals.

Some of the most expensive wines in the world are made of Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are many affordable alternatives. It is the most planted grape variety in the US and Napa Valley is one of the most famous regions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Other popular areas include Bordeaux in France, Barossa Valley in Australia, Central valley in Chile and Stellenbosch in South Africa. In new wine-making countries like China, Cabernet Sauvignon is usually a popular choice. In China the grape accounts for 70% of the total production. 

Compared to Merlot, the Cabernet Sauvignon is richer and more robust, but both have fruity flavours and a dry profile.

Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing

Do you like to drink a full-bodied dry red to your food? Then keep reading. Cabernet Sauvignon is one a highly appreciated wine grape which comes in many different styles and prices. Its typical aromas of blackcurrant, wood, mint, herbs and spices makes it a delicious wine to many different dishes, especially meat and BBQ. It is almost always aged in oak which softens the wine and makes it pleasant to drink together with food.

When pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with food you need to take into consideration the following characteristics of the wine: 

A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon is best served at a temperature of 17-19°C (63-66°F). 

Cabernet Sauvignon with Red Meat

What is the best food pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon? The obvious answer would be steak and french fries. In fact, almost all red meat pair well with this grape variety. Beef, lamb, pork, burgers, brisket, ribs … They all work with a glass of a bold red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. Especially fatty meats and any meat served rare will match well because of the high acidity and high tannins in the wine.

steak and fries

Especially Cabernet Sauvignon from the new world, including California, Australia and Chile, tend to work very well with heavy meat dishes. The powerful and rich style of the wines from these regions is perfect to balance the richness in the meaty dishes.

Tips! Cabernet Sauvignon is a great pairing with BBQ food. The fruitiness and hint of spice in the wine goes well with smokey flavours and BBQ sauces. 

Cabernet Sauvignon with Chicken

Does Cabernet Sauvignon go with chicken? It might work, but most people might find a bold red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon a bit too heavy and tannic for chicken. A grilled chicken with peppery condiments could however work well if you really want to drink Cabernet Sauvignon together with chicken. 

grilled chicken

Cabernet Sauvignon with Fish

Cabernet Sauvignon together with fish or seafood is probably not a very good idea. Although it is possible to drink red wine with fish,  we suggest that you stay away from oaky and tannic red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon when you are choosing a wine for your fish dish. If you want a red wine, choose lighter wines like Pinot Noir, Gamay or Merlot.

If you really want to combine a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with fish, we suggest that you pair it with a grilled fatty fish like tuna or swordfish, preferably with pepper or spices.

Cabernet Sauvignon with Vegetarian food

Vegetarian food is often paired with white wines as the dishes tend to be light. It is however, possible to drink rich red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon to your vegetarian food. If the dish is rich, such as grilled veggies and heavy sauces, a full-bodied red wine can work very well. To learn more about the best wine for vegetarian dishes, we recommend our wine guide for vegetarian food

grilled vegetables

Tips! Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with seasonings like garlic, rosemary and mint

Cabernet Sauvignon with Pasta

Does Cabernet Sauvignon go with pasta? Yes is does! We would suggest a medium-bodied red wine to pasta dishes, but a Cabernet Sauvignon could work well with meaty pasta dishes. It can also be a good paring with the a tomato-based pasta since the acidity in the wine will balance the acidity in the sauce. 

pasta bolognese

Cabernet Sauvignon with Cheese

What cheese is good with Cabernet Sauvignon? The short answer is: Cheddar! Rich wines like Cabernet Sauvignon needs savoury cheeses full of flavour that can stand up to the tannins and structure in the wine. In addition to aged cheddar, a Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano and Pecorino will pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon. These cheeses all have salty and savoury flavours that pair wonderfully with full-bodied red wines.

cheddar cheese

Tips! If you want to know more about different types of cheeses and their perfect wine pairings, you can read about it in our wine and cheese guide.

Cabernet Sauvignon with Snacks

Snacks and appetizers are often paired with white wine or sparkling wine, but there are many snacks to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon. Red meat appetizers, charcuterie, nuts, pretzels and potato chips are all delicious with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.


Cabernet Sauvignon with Desserts

Unfortunately, Cabernet Sauvignon and desserts are not a great match. The wine is too tannic, rich and dry to pair with sweet desserts. If you want to have a red wine with your sweet dessert, we suggest you read our guide about Wine and Dessert Pairings.

Enjoy your food and wine!