Let’s start with one of the harder pairings, at least if one were to believe in the sacred tenets of the past. We’re not supposed to serve red wine with fish, unless perhaps in ancient Burgundy. That is fine, and still a sound rule for the most part. But what happens when you just want to have fish with your Cabernet? Is it even possible?
Of course it is, and there is no reason you couldn’t enjoy your Cabernet with any fish, other than the wine police telling you so. Of course, that might make for some unorthodox pairings, but there are definitely some winning combinations out there waiting to be tried. Take for example a black pepper-crusted grilled tuna steak, or this wickedly delicious sounding baconized tuna! This would be a great partner for a bright, cool climate Cabernet of modest girth. Maybe something from Chile with some Carmenere and Merlot included.
Pork is actually one of the friendliest meats, primarily because it can be adapted to virtually any style of preparation and the various cuts range from nearly pure, juicy fat to nearly none. For my purposes here, something relatively in the middle would probably be best. I’m looking for a rustic preparation to pair with bold, big wines. Now rustic doesn’t have to be boring, as these Pork Chops slathered in Sundried Tomato Pesto can attest.
This is going to be an intensely flavored mouthful, and the flavors actually have a lot in common with classic Cabernet notes, which can include both herbs and tomato flavors. Seeing as this is an Italian-influenced dish, it’s worth looking to the Boot for wines to pair with it. Surprisingly, Cabernet does quite well in much of Italy, so your choices are quite broad, ranging from lighter wines in the north to rather full bodied wines that enjoy the Mediterranean warmth of the central and south of the country.
OK, this is actually pretty easy, not that I’m going to cheat or anything. There are so many chicken recipes that use wine as a braising liquid, and that creates an obvious way to serve Cabernet with chicken. The flavors of the wine serve as a bridge between dish and glass; it’s an old French secret, and Italian, and Spanish, and Portuguese, and...
Anyway, since we’re going with a Mediterranean staple here, it opens all sorts of doors, though I’ll keep things simple by looking to the south of France to supply the wine. The Pays d’Oc region is big, like really big, and blessed with exceptional weather and a lot of recent investments. So look to the area for great values in modern style wines, perfect for pairing with a little braised bird!
Everyone in my family is eating less meat these days, so learning more about wine and vegetarian food pairings is on my front burner. Of course, we’re all drinking less Cabernet as well so this shouldn’t be a problem. Oh snap! Did I just say that? Well, the truth is that we have been drinking less, but with some of my newfound favorites that’s going to change. Promise.
This dish, based on bell peppers, a flavor inherent to Cabernet, and liberally dressed up with mushrooms and other savory elements, is an easy pairing for a fruit-forward, friendly style of Cabernet. The red fruit of many Sonoma Valley Cabernets would be perfect here, and fitting, since that is a hotbed of healthy farming and eating.
OK, so I couldn't resist. While this may not be beef, red meat and Cabernet are a match made in heaven. Lamb is a classic pairing with Bordeaux, but it really is super friendly for all red wines. A preparation like this, flavored with dried chilies, is perfect for a classic Cabernet, one that retains a touch of herbaceousness. The wines of South Africa that rely on the Bordeaux varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are known for their smoky and sometimes herbal edges and have plenty of acidity to stand up to the sweet flavors of lamb fat, making this a no brainer.