Pairings | Cabernet

So what DO you pair with a blockbuster cabernet?

So what DO you pair with a blockbuster cabernet?

Talk to chefs and sommeliers about the wines they like to match with food and only rarely will Cabernet Sauvignon crop up. Many are, in fact, quite openly critical of the blockbuster style of many modern cabs.

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Few these days dispute that red wine goes with fish - it’s just a question of which wine and how the fish is cooked. Most would accept ‘meaty' steak lookalikes like grilled or spiced tuna or salmon work with Pinot Noir but would hesitate to take it much further than that but last week I found a couple of surprisingly good fish matches at one of my favourite new wine bars 28-50.

Six of the best matches for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Six of the best matches for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’re looking for the ideal food pairing for a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (or any other full-bodied cabernet) you don’t have to look very far. Almost any red meat, especially served rare, is going to do the trick.

Cheeseburgers and cabernet

Cheeseburgers and cabernet

Last night we went round to some new friends and they made the most delicious home-made burgers.

Chargilled steak with Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon

Chargilled steak with Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon

Steak and red wine sounds too obvious a pairing to highlight but sometimes it hits the spot so perfectly it’s worth being reminded there’s nothing better you can eat with a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (unless you’re a vegetarian, obviously . . .)

Lamb with coriander and the Garage Wine Company's Cabernet/Carignan

Lamb with coriander and the Garage Wine Company's Cabernet/Carignan

This is possibly the most off-the-wall pairing I encountered on my recent Chilean trip and for that reason the most exciting - both on account of the food and the wine.

Spicy lamb stew with Coonawarra Cabernet

Spicy lamb stew with Coonawarra Cabernet

I’m aware that there’s a Francophile bias to this site but there are recipes where I automatically turn to the New World. The spicy lamb dish I picked up the other night from my local restaurant and takeaway Culinaria is one of them - a hottish tagine-style dish of spiced lamb, aubergines, chickpeas & merguez sausage which was almost on the verge of being a curry.

Kylie Kwong's roasted beef fillet with Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot

Kylie Kwong's roasted beef fillet with Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot

Celebrations come thick and fast at this time of the year - first Burns' Night, and now Chinese New Year and Australia Day. Since both fall on the same day this year I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone (terrible expression but you know what I mean) and mark the Year of the Ox with a beef recipe matched with an Australian wine.

Rhubarb cheesecake and 2007 Peller Estates Cabernet Franc Ice Wine

Rhubarb cheesecake and 2007 Peller Estates Cabernet Franc Ice Wine

With four days in Edinburgh and three at the Ballymaloe Food & Drink Litfest in Co Cork this weekend I’ve been overwhelmed with good food and drink matches but as I haven’t singled out a dessert for a while I’m making Tom Kitchin’s Rhubarb cheesecake my hero dish this week.

Parcel series Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2012

Parcel series Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2012

South African reds are on a roll right now but few are better value than this elegant Bordeaux style red from Majestic.

Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon icewine

Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon icewine

One of the Christmas bargains last year was a Pillitteri vidal icewine which Lidl was managing to sell for an astonishing £14.99 a half bottle, probably cheaper than you could find it from its country of origin, Canada.

Montes Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Montes Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

You’re probably expecting me to recommend a Mother’s Day fizz but I’m going to suggest a great red to pour for the Sunday lunch you’re going to (I hope) treat her to instead. Especially if you’re having roast lamb.

Can food at a wine dinner be too distracting?

Can food at a wine dinner be too distracting?

At the Cape Wine Legends dinner in London showcasing some of South Africa's greatest old vintages, Lucy Bridgers wonders which was the hero - the wine or the food?

An overview of the 2010 Penfolds releases and 2008 Grange

An overview of the 2010 Penfolds releases and 2008 Grange

Regular contributor and former sommelier Donald Edwards tastes his way through the latest Penfolds' releases and is blown away by a cabernet.

Six of the best pairings for a burger

Six of the best pairings for a burger

It might surprise you to hear it - and maybe you’ve never tried it - but a serious red wine is a really good match for a burger. Not a Maccy D, maybe but a big lush gourmet burger. And why not?

Does Bordeaux need butter?

Does Bordeaux need butter?

Italian wines with olive oil-based dishes, Bordeaux with butter-based ones. Sound like a no-brainer? Well, yes, if you happen to be in either region: you obviously drink the local wine with the local food. But just think for a moment about today’s top international restaurants.

My 5 top wine and steak pairing tips

My 5 top wine and steak pairing tips

Steak is the ideal foil for a good red but is there a perfect match? You could simply say the one you most enjoy but it also depends on the cut and the way you cook it.

Which wines pair best with steak

Which wines pair best with steak

Quite an old article from the archives (first published in Decanter in 2007) but the advice still holds good, I reckon. Although I had a fantastic bottle of 2008 Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir with a T-bone rather than a fillet the other day. But that would taste good with anything.

Lamb curry and Luigi Bosca De Sangre 2011

Lamb curry and Luigi Bosca De Sangre 2011

A cabernet would have been the last wine I would have thought of drinking with a curry but as happens from time to time you come across an unexpected wine match that really works.

How to create a dish to match a wine

How to create a dish to match a wine

Signe Johansen recently competed in - and won - a food bloggers challenge to come up with the perfect dish for a Casillero del Diablo Chilean Cabernet. Here’s how she went about it. (You can find the recipe for the winning dish, Pigeon breast and chocolate mole with redcurrants and parmesan mash here.)

What food to match with red Bordeaux

What food to match with red Bordeaux

Although Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world it also produces bottles that are great for everyday drinking. So what kind of food pairs best with them?

Eureka! A red wine match for artichokes

Eureka! A red wine match for artichokes

Everyone knows that artichokes are one of the most difficult ingredients to match with wine - especially with red wine. Only last weekend we struggled to find a pairing at the food matching forum I was taking part in.

Wilhelm Coetzee's Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Wilhelm Coetzee's Butterflied Leg of Lamb

I first met winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee back in 2006 when he was working for Flagstone. He's now working at Durbanville Hills and this is his favourite 'braii' recipe.

Matching wine with Chinese food - time for a rethink?

Matching wine with Chinese food - time for a rethink?

A recent trip to Beijing and Shanghai opened my eyes anew to the possibilities involved in drinking wine with Chinese food. Many of the conclusions we have painstakingly arrived at in the west turn out to be less obvious when tried out in situ.

The best wine pairings with Roquefort cheese

The best wine pairings with Roquefort cheese

Roquefort cheese is unusual in having such a frequently recommended wine match (Sauternes) that you may wonder if it’s worth drinking anything else but depending how you serve it there are a number of other options.

Six of the best matches for cheddar cheese

Six of the best matches for cheddar cheese

As with most cheeses the ideal pairing for cheddar depends how mature it is. A mild to medium block cheddar is going to be a lot easier to match (and in most cheeselovers’ eyes a lot less interesting) than a tangy cloth-bound cheddar of 18 months or more.

Wild boar with cherry sauce and Karam Corpus Christi

Wild boar with cherry sauce and Karam Corpus Christi

It’s almost impossible to pick out one pairing from last week’s trip to the Lebanon but if I’m forced to it has to be a dish of wild boar with cherry sauce I ate with Habib Karam the owner of Karam winery (and - extraordinarily - the airline pilot who flew us to Beirut)

Wine and lamb: my 5 favourite pairings

Wine and lamb: my 5 favourite pairings

It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.

Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef

Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef

Roast beef has the virtue of being one of the easiest dishes to match with wine. You can really drink any medium- to full-bodied red you enjoy. There are a couple of points to bear in mind, however, which might affect the style of wine you choose.

Blesbok loin with root vegetables, num num and 2010 Delaire Graff Botmaskop

Blesbok loin with root vegetables, num num and 2010 Delaire Graff Botmaskop

Another week of brilliant pairings, another tough decision to make but I’m going for this combination at Delaire restaurant in Stellenbosch because it was such a great dish.

Pairing Errazuriz wines at Pollen Street Social

Pairing Errazuriz wines at Pollen Street Social

New world wines are sometimes criticised (usually by the French!) for overwhelming subtle Michelin-starred food but award-winning blogger Jeanne Horak-Druiff of Cooksister found much to admire when she attended an Errazuriz food, wine and photography evening at Pollen Street Social.

Six of the best wines with a nut roast

Six of the best wines with a nut roast

You might be surprised that a nut roast isn’t that different from a conventional roast when it comes to finding a wine pairing. The savoury flavours are designed to act as a satisfying substitute for meat and so work best with similarly full-bodied red wines.

4 tips to bear in mind when pairing Easter lamb

4 tips to bear in mind when pairing Easter lamb

The good news if you’re planning an Easter feast around lamb is that practically any medium to full-bodied red you enjoy will be delicious. But there are a few variables to take into account that might enhance the pairing

Slow-roast lamb with garlic and rosemary and Rustenberg John X Merriman 2005

Slow-roast lamb with garlic and rosemary and Rustenberg John X Merriman 2005

My first Match of the Week of the New Year is a classic but none the worse for that: an award-winning South African Bordeaux blend with a slow roast leg of lamb flavoured with garlic and rosemary.

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

I agonised over whether this should be the standout pairing from this marvellous Lebanese meal at Arabica last week but it won by just a whisker.

London Cru SW6, Red Wine 1

London Cru SW6, Red Wine 1

The idea of making wine in London from grapes grown in France and Italy sounds a bit of a crazy one but London Cru’s first vintage is an impressive debut.

Top wines to drink with turkey

Top wines to drink with turkey

If you were eating it entirely on its own roast turkey would be one of the easiest ingredients in the world to match. You could drink your favourite white, red, ros or even sparkling wine with it and it would work fine.

8 great drinks to match with Stilton

8 great drinks to match with Stilton

No Christmas would be complete without a slice of Stilton or its unpasteurised cousin Stitchelton. But what to drink with it? The usual answer is port - and that of course is classic - but here are some other drinks that make great pairings

When food and wine matching doesn't matter

When food and wine matching doesn't matter

Although I make my living writing about how food can enhance wine - and vice versa - I would never want to be dogmatic about it and freely admit that there are occasions when it matters less than others.

Pizza and chilled red wine

Pizza and chilled red wine

We’re in Arles this week for our annual visit to the Rencontres Arles, the fabulous photography festival that takes over the entire town. Since we’re with our youngest son, culinary exploration has to alternate with visits to his favourite pizza and sandwich joints which is how we ended up last night at a basic but brilliant pizzeria in the Trinquetaille on the other side of the Rhône.

Bacon, egg and claret

Bacon, egg and claret

You might think the idea of eating bacon and egg with good claret is sacrilege but bear with me.

Steak that doesn't need a red

Some unusual steak recipes from Jason Atherton (then of Maze, now of Pollen Street Social) that prove you don't always need to drink red with beef.

What to drink with venison and chocolate sauce

Being Easter it’s not surprising that there’s a focus on chocolate in the press today though I’m not sure how many of us would be bold enough to serve venison with chocolate sauce to our nearest and dearest as Mark Hix has done in the Independent today.

Roast vegetable stacks

Roast vegetable stacks

Another recipe for your World Cup celebrations from the Van Loveren family. It comes from the new Wines of South Africa cookbook Cape Wine Braai Masters but you could equally well cook it with a conventional oven and grill.

The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking

The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking

The last two days have been quite, quite beautiful, starting mistily, basking midday in an unseasonally warm sun and finishing with an extended dusk that announces that spring is finally here. I immediately want to eat lighter meals: the new season’s vegetables are not quite in yet but I can at least plan for summer and that means a spring clean of the cellar, pushing the full bodied reds to the back and assessing what whites, lighter reds and rosés I still have lurking in the racks.

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

Did I want to go on a truffle trip to Spain at the end of January? Balmy Barbados seemed like a better option but since that wasn’t on the cards and the enquiry came from an old friend I said yes. The 2 day visit - the annual Viñas del Vero ‘Days of Wine and Truffles’ in Somontano would include an outdoor picnic in the foothills of the Pyrenees (eek), a truffle hunt and - the clincher - a multi-course truffle menu by one of the region’s most talented chefs followed by a gastronomic brunch. “Bring the Gaviscon”. my friend sagely advised.

What type of wine pairs best with Vietnamese food?

What type of wine pairs best with Vietnamese food?

Sunday marked not only the start of the Chinese New Year but the Vietnamese New Year celebrations too - known as Tet. As in China there are certain foods which are traditional to the occasion such as pickled vegetables and candied fruits, none of which are particularly wine-friendly but in general I find Vietnamese food, with its milder heat and fragrant herbal flavours easier to match than Thai (although I haven’t had such extensive experience of doing so).

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

If you’re used to choosing wine - or other drinks - to match with meat or fish you may be flummoxed when it comes to chosing one for vegetarian friends. But as I explain in my Guardian column today it’s a question of finding out how the wine is made - and in particular whether any animal-based products have been used in the fining process.

6 of the best pairings for chilli con carne

6 of the best pairings for chilli con carne

Like many popular dishes chilli con carne has many different versions - some mild and child-friendly, others much more spicy and assertive and often a little smokey.

6 versatile wine pairings for a Chinese New Year feast

6 versatile wine pairings for a Chinese New Year feast

Asking which wine is the best match for Chinese food is a bit like looking for the best match for European food - it in no way reflects the diversity of Chinese cuisine.

Tandoori grouse and an Indian ‘SuperTuscan’

Tandoori grouse and an Indian ‘SuperTuscan’

If you’d asked me a week ago whether I thought it was a good idea to cook grouse in a tandoor oven and then to serve it with a full-bodied red I’d have said no, and no. Which shows how you can continually be surprised by this food and wine pairing lark.

Roast turkey and Chivite Coleccion 125 reserva 2001

Roast turkey and Chivite Coleccion 125 reserva 2001

A bit of a departure with the turkey this Christmas - a magnum of Chivite Coleccion 125 from Navarra we unearthed in a cellar sort-out the other day. It's based on Tempranillo with a proportion of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - I'm not sure what the percentages were that year - but was probably at the optimum moment for drinking - the fruit still bright but super-smooth and beautifully in balance.

Roast suckling pig with Casa de Saima Bairrada Tinto

Roast suckling pig with Casa de Saima Bairrada Tinto

I recently went to a Portuguese food and wine evening in Bristol hosted by an enterprising wine merchant called Corks of Cotham. It featured the wines of a producer called Casa de Saima, the ports of Niepoort and an intriguing Barbeito Single Harvest Madeira which went exceptionally well with some classic Portuguese custard tarts.

Duck paté, rillettes and red Anjou

Duck paté, rillettes and red Anjou

Last week we spent 24 hours in Cheltenham, mainly to eat at Le Champignon Sauvage about which I’ll be posting a review tomorrow. We also had lunch at a pub/bistro I’d heard good things about called the Royal Well Tavern which has this year been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and recently picked up a glowing review from the Observer’s restaurant critic, Jay Rayner

Côte de Boeuf and Ridge Monte Bello 1999

Côte de Boeuf and Ridge Monte Bello 1999

Last week was a particularly indulgent one for dining out so it was a tough call coming up with my match of the week but I think it has to be the Côte du Boeuf I had at Racine with a stellar bottle of Ridge’s 1999 Monte Bello

Cold rare fillet of beef and Cinsault

Cold rare fillet of beef and Cinsault

Given that it’s been in the mid-30s in the Cape Winelands recently it’s not surprising the local prefer their beef cold rather than hot but that also requires a change of thinking - from full-bodied to lighter reds.

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

I’ve just had a sneak preview of a very lush new B & B Langford Fivehead which opens next week (March 1st) in the Somerset Levels just outside Taunton. The building dates back to 1453 and is owned and run by former BBC Good Food editor Orlando Murrin and his partner Peter Steggall

‘Meli Melo’ 2013 and 3 other good wine finds from Yapp

‘Meli Melo’ 2013 and 3 other good wine finds from Yapp

One of the problems of recommending a wine that most people can only buy online is that they generally have to buy a case - either of that wine or others they haven't a clue whether they’ll like or not.

What food to pair with mature Margaux

The other night I was lucky enough to go out with a wineloving friend of mine and his wife who brought along a bottle of Château Palmer 1990 with them. It was a lovely wine but, as any 20 year old vintage would be, quite delicate so immediately created the dilemma of what to eat.

Which foods pair best with high alcohol red wines?

Which foods pair best with high alcohol red wines?

Despite the growing concern about alcohol levels in wine many reds still clock in at 14.5% or more, a level at which they can become an unbalanced pairing for traditional European food. Many traditionalist would say that they are therefore not ‘food wines’ but as with other types of wine it depends how well they’re made and whether overall the wine is in balance. Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe for example rarely hits the shelves at under 14% but wears its alcohol lightly.

Pairing cheese and claret

Pairing cheese and claret

I’ve always had a bit of a problem finding cheese matches for claret. Cheddar is often suggested but I find mature versions have too much ‘bite'. Stilton slays it and so do most washed rind cheeses, oozy Camemberts and Bries . . .

Top wine and beer matches for game

Top wine and beer matches for game

We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.

Game pie and Listrac

Game pie and Listrac

A classic match for this time of year but no less enjoyable for that.

Cru classé Bordeaux and rack of lamb

Cru classé Bordeaux and rack of lamb

Just as last week’s match of the week was a classic - so is this week’s: the main course we had at Oliver Peyton’s National Gallery Café at a dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Circle of Wine Writers.

Roast beef and Bordeaux

Roast beef and Bordeaux

OK, this is one of the most classic wine pairings in the world but none the worse for that.

La Réserve de Léoville Barton with roast lamb and salsa verde

La Réserve de Léoville Barton with roast lamb and salsa verde

We had a celebration dinner with old friends the other night at my favourite local restaurant Culinaria so cracked open a bottle of La Réserve de Léoville Barton 2004*, a St Julien and the second wine of Léoville Barton. It really was quite lovely - rich, plummy, velvety - at its peak but with a few more years to go. It was everything you want from red Bordeaux (unless you have bottomless pockets)

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