Wine pairings with Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon
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International Cabernet Sauvignon Day takes place on the last Thursday in August every year, so this year’s event is this week – Thursday 27th.

To celebrate the occasion, winemakers and vineyards around the world will be holding special tastings, food pairings, talks, masterclasses and other Cab Sav-inspired happenings. We’re joining in by providing some fun facts about the world’s most famous red wine grape and some food pairing suggestions of our own.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Cellar, Constance Le Prince Maurice

What is Cabernet Sauvignon?

  • The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is the progeny of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, though this wasn’t officially scientifically proven until 1996.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon is notable for its deep, inky purple colour, which is the result of high levels of tannin. This acts as a natural preservative, which explains why these wines age so well.
  • The overriding property of Cabernet Sauvignon’s flavour profile is the powerful aroma of blackcurrant, cherries and cassis, although barrel aging in oak adds notes of cedar, tobacco and hints of vanilla too.
  • Many people report picking up a taste of green pepper in the wine. This is the result of chemical compounds present in grapes that have not fully ripened, which means it’s best not to drink it too young.
  • Cabernet is not a fussy grape. It can and does perform well in all wine-growing regions of the world. That said, the best results have tended to come from warmer climates, particularly in France and California.
Cabernet Sauvignon

Full-bodied flavours

What to pair with your Cab Sav

Certain foods go particularly well with Cabernet Sauvignon wines and it’s not hard to understand why. Given the intense flavours plus high levels of acidity and tannins, they’re a great match for rich, hearty meals like stews and casseroles, especially those containing red meat. Other good bets include:

  • Leg of lamb with a herb crust, served with slightly bitter-edged vegetables such as grilled radicchio or roasted brussel sprouts
  • Beef short ribs marinaded in port, bay leaf and thyme
  • A plate of classic Italian meatballs, or a pasta dish with a creamy sauce
  • Gorgonzola risotto served with steamed broccoli
  • A big plate of aromatic cheeses including sharp Cheddar, aged Gouda and Danish Blue

At Constance Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius our Head Sommelier recommends the Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve; a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, California. Notice the scent of lush black cherry, blackberry and cassis when the bottle is opened, with round and rich tannins providing a robust backbone and supple mid-palate. Notes of cedar, vanilla and a hint of mocha linger on the finish – a perfect accompaniment to an Australian ‘Black Angus’ beef tenderloin.

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