Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairing

steak with french fries

Updated July 19th 2023

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.

With its characteristic aromas of black fruit aromas, herbs and spice, Cabernet Sauvignon pairs very well with a wide range of rich dishes. Steak is probably the most famous pairing with Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are many other great pairings to this classic wine. 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 wines from almost every wine-producing country in the world. It is a delicious and versatile grape that gives rich, full-bodied red wines with high tannins and good acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon is used in both blends and single varietals.

Some of the most expensive wines in the world are made of this grape, but there are many affordable alternatives. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape variety in the US, Napa Valley being one of the most famous regions for the grape. Other areas where Cabernet Sauvignon is grown 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 grown as well. In China the grape accounts for 70% of total wine production.

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

Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing

Cabernet Sauvignon is a highly appreciated wine grape that comes in different styles and prices. Its typical aromas of blackcurrant, wood, mint, herbs and spices make this wine a delicious wine to many different dishes, especially meat and BBQ. Cabernet Sauvignon 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 meats 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 this wine because of its high acidity and high tannins.

steak and fries

Especially Cabernet Sauvignon from the new world, including California, Australia and Chile, tends 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 flavors and BBQ sauces.

Cabernet Sauvignon with Chicken

Does Cabernet Sauvignon go with chicken? Most people may find a bold red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon a bit too heavy and tannic for chicken. Grilled chicken with peppery condiments can pair well if you want to drink Cabernet Sauvignon together with chicken.

grilled chicken

Cabernet Sauvignon with Fish

Fish or seafood are not the best choice when pairing food with Cabernet Sauvignon. Although it is possible to drink red wine with fish,  we suggest to stay away from oaky and tannic red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. If you want red wine to this type of food, choose lighter wines like Pinot Noir, Gamay or Merlot.

If you 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 wine, as the vegetarian dishes tend to be light. However, it is possible to drink rich red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon to your vegetarian food. If the dish is rich, such as grilled vegetables and rich sauces, a full-bodied red wine can pair 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? We would suggest a medium-bodied red wine to most pasta dishes, but Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with meaty pasta dishes.

pasta bolognese

Cabernet Sauvignon with Cheese

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

cheddar cheese

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

Cabernet Sauvignon with Snacks

There are many snacks that pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon. Red meat appetizers like 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!

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