What Food Pairs Best With Cabernet Sauvignon?

An image of two people enjoying a recommended Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing

Cabernet Sauvignon is an iconic wine grape. With many styles offering intense and bold flavours, wine enthusiasts can feel unsure about which dishes pair best with this full body wine. Yet, following simple wine pairing principles can make all the difference.  Looking for inspiration? This article will explore the best Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing options that you should try. We also will provide tips on how to approach a Cabernet Sauvignon pairing in terms of acidity, tannins, body, flavours, and more. How to Pair Food with Cabernet Sauvignon Many people have asked: What food pairs best with Cabernet Sauvignon? If this thought has gone through your mind recently, you are not alone. Yet, before you can start choosing Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings, you must consider the profile of the wine.  Cabernet Sauvignon is medium to full-bodied in structure and has full, mouth filling tannins with great intensity. Instinctively this may tell you to avoid pairing with light salads or seafood, for example. It’s believed that bold wines pair best with rich dishes. For example, a classic Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing is a grilled steak.  Yet, pairing this wine involves noticing more subtle nuances. It all comes down to what style of Cabernet Sauvignon you are tasting. Blended Cabernets such as a legendary Bordeaux or a Tuscan Super blends are bold yet versatile. These wines can also have higher acidity levels due to the climate the grapes are grown in. A single variety Cabernet Sauvignon from hotter regions would be riper and more fruit-forward while potentially having less acidity.  These elements, including the nature of the wine tannins, should be driving your Cabernet Sauvignon food pairing. There will be a handful of dishes that pair well with either style but understanding how the subtleties between the two variations interact with dishes is key to pairing this red wine well.  Best Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairings Let’s take a look at some recommended food pairing ideas for Cabernet Sauvignon. Although there can be the idea that this red grape varietal is best paired with red meat, it is also suitable for vegetarian dishes and semi-sweet desserts.  Steak  Steak does seem like an obvious choice. Yet, there is no better pairing than steak and Cabernet Sauvignon. Grilled ribeye steak is a particularly popular choice of cut. Its fat, salty content can counteract the wine’s tannins and acidity.  The gamey qualities of the steak pair well with the Cabernet’s chewy tannins and help to showcase its hints of dark fruit and sweet oak aromas. We recommend pairing with the fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon from the Lodi region, James Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon 2016. A flavourful wine showing notes of warm spice and dark cherry, it pairs beautifully with juicy steaks and hamburgers.  Lamb Lamb chops or ribs are other great choices for those that aren’t particularly fond of steak and want a meat alternative. Whether grilled lamb with rosemary and thyme or a barbecued Asian lamb rib dish, Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine for standing up …

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5 of the Most Popular Italian Wine Grape Varietals

Understanding Italian Wine: A Guide to the Most Planted Grape Varietals  Italy is home to some of the world’s most delicious and breathtaking food, wines and landscapes. With over 20 different wine regions ranging from Lombardy and Valle d’Aosta in the north of the country to Puglia and Calabria in the south, it is no wonder that this renowned wine-producing country has plenty of grape varietals on offer – just under 400 native varietals are used to make wine commercially and there are nearly 2000 different varietals planted. To truly understand how special wines from Italy are, one should first take note of some of the main grape varietals that continue to make this country one of the most popular wine-producing areas to this very day.  In this Italian wine guide, we will provide a history and tasting profile for a number of Italian grapes that any wine enthusiast might have as part of their wine collection.    5 Italian Wine Types That You Need to Know While you may have already tried a selection of these Italian grapes before, understanding their origins and the minute details that make these grape varietals so popular is part of truly enjoying these wines. Below, we have listed five of the top Italian wine grapes that we recommend all of our customers wrap their heads around. Not only will adding them to your repertoire ensure that you experience a truly diverse selection of the wines that this beautiful country has to offer, but it will allow you to deepen your appreciation for Italian culture.  Glera Glera, a white grape, is most often referred as to Prosecco. A very popular wine that originates mostly from the valley floors around Treviso and the hillside areas around Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, all in the Veneto region It is believed to be one of the oldest wine types in Italy and its origins can be traced back as early as Roman times. Most of the Prosecco produced up until the 1960s was of a sweeter style, a bit like Asti Spumante. But since then, production methods were elevated resulting in a better quality product and a drier style more appealing to today’s consumer. While Prosecco is often thought of as an aperitif in many countries, in Italy this wine is enjoyed as part of any occasion.  This Italian wine grape has high acidity and offers an aromatic profile consisting of citrus notes such as grapefruit, lime and lemon, and more floral notes such as lily, elderflower and daisy. The Fattoria Conca d’Oro Prosecco Millesimato Conegliano Extra Dry 2019 is the perfect example of this grape varietal.  Trebbiano  Trebbiano gives its name to an umbrella of different native Italian grape varieties and is responsible for the vast majority of DOC  white wine production. With six variations in total, the most commonly produced by far is a Tuscan wine varietal known as Trebbiano Toscano, also known as Ugni Blanc in France. Used in the production of both balsamic vinegar and grappa,  …

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High Praise for Montepeloso’s 2018s

High Praise for Montepeloso’s 2018s   Under the direction of owner Fabio Chiarelotto, Montepeloso has established itself as one of Tuscany’s most exciting estates. For the last 20 years, Fabio has strived to produce wines with elegance and finesse, qualities difficult to achieve in the hot climate of Suvereto on the Tuscan coast. Slowly, Chiarelotto is receiving the rewards of his passion. The buzz that has been spreading through Europe over the past few years has leapt the Atlantic. A growing number of collectors see Montepeloso’s wines as the most beautiful, profound, and expressive of the Tuscan New Wave. Antonio Galloni, of Vinous.com has reviewed the 2018s from Montepeloso and published his comments. If you like Super-Tuscans, then these ones are for you. He describes the 2018s from Montepeloso as: “… off the charts, especially within the context of the year in which quality is variable across the region. I was especially impressed with the silkiness and finesse of the 2018s, two adjectives that don’t often come to mind with the wines of Suvereto. Like many growers, proprietor Fabio Chiarelotto believes everything comes down to July and August, in other words, the last two months of the year. Chiarelotto describes the summer as hot, but not excessively so, with the 70-80mm of rain that helps keep the vines from reaching the point of hydric stress. Nighttime temperatures were moderate, which is always a positive, especially in Maremma. Over the last few years, Chiarelotto and longtime consulting Fabrizio Moltard have taken these wines to an entirely new level by giving them greater finesse and nuance. One of the recent developments is a greater emphasis on 500-600 liter barrels from coopers Stockinger and Chassin, a change made with the goal of lowering the oak imprint. As for the wines, they are among the most impressive I tasted this year.” SHOP MONTEPELOSO WINES Montepeloso 2018 A Quo The 2018 A Quo is rich and explosive in the glass, with superb presence and tons of intensity, but all in the gracious style of the year. Crushed flowers, sweet red berry fruit and spice are front and center. In 2018, A Quo is supremely delicious. Best of all, it remains a tremendous value in artisan wine. Score 92, Drink 2020-2028 Montepeloso 2018 Eneo The 2018 Eneo, Montepeloso’s Montepulciano-based blend, is redolent of crushed red berry fruit, licorice, blood orange, star anise and rose petal. Bright and gracious, with terrific purity, the Eneo beautifully captures the understated, nuanced style of the year. It is a bit more red-toned than I recall from barrel. This is so nicely done. Score 94, Drink 2022-2033 Montepeloso 2018 Nardo Proprietor Fabio Chiarelotto and longtime winemaker Fabrizio Moltard ratchet things up with their stellar 2018 Nardo. Super-ripe black cherry, plum, gravel, spice, underbrush, menthol, licorice and scorched earth give the 2018 its distinct, sepia-toned personality. Dark and brooding in the glass, with imposing tannins, the 2018 is a flat-out stunner. Give it a few years in bottle first. Nardo is built …

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Greek Wine: Delving Into Santorini’s Assyrtiko Grape

Exploring Greek Wine: The History Of Assyrtiko Grape   Assyrtiko is by far one of the most iconic grape varieties from Greece. Native to the Cyclades island of Santorini, Assyrtiko has developed a reputation in the wine industry as a versatile grape. The Assyrtiko grape variety has the capability of making wines in a multitude of styles. Ranging from fresh white wines to nutty dessert wines and is widely applauded by chefs all over the world for its food-pairing prowess. It is believed that the volcanic soil is what makes this grape varietal so remarkable. The black, ash-rich soil is said to give the wine great minerality. While the lack of potassium in the soil gives the grape natural acidity. The vines are traditionally trained into weaved baskets low to the ground which minimize wind damage and are also spaced far apart due to the lack of water in the soil. Because of the lack of phylloxera in volcanic soils, the vines can be planted on natural rootstock and when it reaches the end of its productive life (around 70 to 100 years), the trunk of the vine is chopped off and the roots sprout a new shoot that eventually becomes a new vine. Assyrtiko vines on Santorini are quite literally some of the oldest vines in the world, with many having been alive for hundreds of years. Although its birthplace is the renowned volcanic island of Santorini, the production of this white wine varietal has become popular in many other regions of Mainland Greece and the surrounding Aegean islands. In recent years, Assyrtiko has proved to be a true chameleon when it comes to blended winemaking and is known for its ability to partner with a variety of grapes such as Semillon, Malagousia, Athiri, and Aidani. The Tasting Profile Of This Striking Grape The wine profile of this Greek white grape variety varies depending on where it is grown. Assyrtiko from Santorini is much more mineral-driven and salty than fruity, whereas Assyrtiko from the mainland of Greece tends to be fruitier, with citrus and orchard fruits. The one feature that runs together, regardless of where it is grown, is the high natural acidity of this variety. For the more widely-available dry and crisp single-varietal style, expect floral and spicy aromas such as orange blossom, jasmine, and sometimes ginger on the nose. On the palette, it is not uncommon to find notes of lime, lemon, pear, passionfruit and even some salty streaks. The high minerality of this grape is what truly makes this wine unique. On mainland Greece, the wines do tend to be slightly edgier, rounder and more aromatic in character with a discreet minerality than its predecessor. What Food Goes Best With This Greek Wine Assyrtiko’s natural high acidity makes it the perfect choice for pairing with seafood and Mediterranean-style dishes. In the case of Assyrtiko, the rule “what grows together, goes together” leads the way to inspire the best food pairings. A crisp Assyrtiko from Santorini such …

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Giacomo Fenocchio: A Radical Traditionalist

Giacomo Fenocchio: A Radical Traditionalist One of the advantages of working in the wine business is meeting remarkable people from around the world who eventually become close friends. One such person is Claudio Fenocchio, a true gentleman farmer, passionate about his land, his wine and his family. This post will look at the history of the estate, wines produced and some of the great vineyard holdings. History The Fenocchio family has been making wine in Monforte since 1864. But it is in the seventies, with Claudio’s father Giacomo, that the winery started its ascension to great winemaking. Today, Claudio runs the operation aided by his wife Nicoleta and his two daughters who are attending the Alba School of Enology.   Giacomo Fenocchio‘s philosophy is one of tradition, meticulous work in the vineyard and extended macerations in large barrels. The resulting wines are stunning and exceptional, showing the elegant and delicate nature of the Nebbiolo grape. Although not yet certified, Claudio considers his 14 hectares of vines organic and participates in the European project of sustainability. Let’s look at some of his more popular bottlings. Wines Produced by Giacomo Fenocchio Arneis: Even though Moscato (Moscato d’Asti) and Cortese (Gavi) were always the more recognizable Piemontese white grapes, increased demand for white wine in the eighties led to the resurgence of Arneis. Traditionally used to soften Nebbiolo, Arneis is mostly found in Roero and Langhe, regions separated by the Tanaro river. Arneis Roero distinguishes itself by its sandy soils, to the point of sometimes being called “wine made on the beach”. The appellation Arneis Roero was granted DOC in early 1989 and promoted to DOCG in late 2004, while it remains a DOC in the Langhe. This aromatic and perfumed varietal shows best when left unoaked, giving way to a fresh nose and palate of flowers and herbs. A slightly bitter finish is also typical.   Claudio Fenocchio produces two styles, Arneis Roero DOCG, in the typical fresh style, and a skin contact orange wine, Anima Arancio (Orange Soul). The more traditional Arneis (12 000 btls/yr) is gently pressed and left on its lees for 24-36 hours. The juice is then separated and left to ferment in stainless steel tanks. The resulting wine is light hay coloured with green hues and is fragrant, soft and complex. Loaded with aromas of broom flower, chamomile and fresh fruit, the finish is pleasantly tangy and persistent.   Inspired by his long macerations of Nebbiolo and the recent popularity of orange wines, Claudio decided to produce Anima Arancio (1000 btls/yr) a few years back. We had the chance to try it at his house when a group of us visited in 2016. The same grapes as the DOCG wine are used, but the juice ferments spontaneously with ambient yeast and is left to macerate on its skins for 30 days in stainless steel. The extra-long fermentation time brings a rich orange colour with amber notes to the wine, but it remains clear and clean. There is …

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Chardonnay Wine: A Brief History

Chardonnay wine ageing in oak barrels. The only white wine that can stand up to the power of oak

  Chardonnay is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world and has garnered a reputation as an easy grape to grow, no matter the climate.  The wine that’s produced with these grapes is one of the easiest-drinking white wines available and has the ability to speak clearly of the terroir where it was produced. That’s why you can find Chardonnay grapes in almost every wine-growing region in the country ranging from Washington, Quebec, and New York to South Africa, Italy, and New Zealand. However, most winemakers agree that the grape’s real spiritual home is in Burgundy, where the chalky limestone clay gives it a pure and crisp flavour.   Chardonnay Wine: The Most Popular White Grape Varietal?  Since the Chardonnay grape reflects its growing conditions so perfectly, it’s used in many different wines all around the world. Grown in a cool climate, the grape maintains very high acidity and crispy green fruit characteristics. In a warmer climate, the wines take on riper flavours bordering on tropical fruit. No other grape has quite the same sort of range of aromas and flavours as Chardonnay. Since it’s able to showcase both terroir and technique so well, it’s become one of the most popular white grape varieties in the world. The History Of Chardonnay Winemaking  Although this grape variety has been cultivated for centuries, the biggest moment for Chardonnay wine came in the late 1980s.  In trying to emulate the style of a rich and unctuous white Burgundy, New World wineries produced big, bold, and oaky Chardonnays. For years these wines were the most popular style. Eventually, tastes changed and people reacted to the overt and obvious style of heavily-oaked Chardonnay.  The ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement was a protest against this style, but it was a misnomer. First, consumers did not flock to many other grapes but instead adopted Pinot Grigio as the new go-to variety. Secondly, Chardonnay never went away. It is still widely planted around the world and enjoyed in various styles, and it remains the main grape in Sparkling wines such as Champagne and Franciacorta from Italy. Chardonnay Wine Characteristics: Oaked vs Unoaked  One of the truths about Chardonnay wine is it is one of the few white wines that has the depth and power to stand up to oak. Burgundy perfected the fermentation and ageing of Chardonnay in oak barrels. They also permitted their wines to go through a malolactic conversion, which changes the harsh malic acid found in grapes to a softer lactic acid, similar to that found in milk. This malolactic conversion makes the palate soft and rich and can sometimes contribute aromas and flavours of butter, cream and even popcorn. This whole process was copied, albeit rather clumsily, by New World wineries in the 1980s and 90s. They aimed for extreme flavours of oak and butter, which overpowered the fruit in the wine and caused the aforementioned reaction and rejection of the style.  However, dialled back and properly done, oak ageing and …

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Why is Champagne the most luxurious sparkling wine on the planet?

Sparkling wine “sparkle” because when wine yeasts convert sugar to alcohol, they give off carbon dioxide as a bi-product. Trapping this carbon dioxide is what creates bubbles. But all bubbles are not created equal. There are two major ways of creating the bubbles: In the bottle and in a tank. The price of a sparkling wine is usually a function of the way these bubbles are created. In the Bottle — Traditional Method The traditional way of creating carbonation, and the method that Champagne invented, is to let the wine ferment in the bottle. A finished wine is bottled, and then small amounts of additional sugar and yeast are added to the bottle before it is corked and laid on its side. For 6 to 8weeks, a second fermentation takes place and the carbon dioxide dissolves into the wine. The wine can then rest anywhere from 6 months to many years depending on what sort of flavours the winemaker is after. The longer a wine ages in the bottle, the more contact it has with the yeast, which creates bready, brioche or toasty notes. The bubbles also become more integrated and finer the longer a wine sits”on the lees”. Once a wine finishes aging on its lees, the final task is to extract the yeast from the bottle. A complicated process is then undertaken to slowly turn the bottle to an upside–down position before freezing the neck and extracting the sediment. Voila! a bottle of sparkling wine is born. This whole process is complicated, time consuming and capital intensive, and is why Champagne costs what it does. But other countries, such as Italy(in Franciacorta) and Spain (in Penedes) have created a reputation for producing traditional method sparkling wine. They typically do not have the same aging requirements and toasty or biscuity flavours, but theyare well worth a look. Pierre Gobillard Champagne Brut Authentique$59.50 btl / $357.00 cs (case of 6 x 750ml) Majolini Franciacorta Brut$37.00 btl / $444.00 cs (case of 12 x 750ml) Franciacortais not usually on people’s radar since only about 20 producers export Franciacorta In recent years it has gained recognition amongst top wine critics and is often described as Italy’s answer to Champagne. The main difference is that it ages on thelees longer than Champagne, making it even more complex and offering outstanding value.  Majolini is a small yet prestigious producer in the region. Their non-vintage version is 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. There is a lightly earthy, slightly bruised apple note that is lovely. In the mouth it is quite full with palate-filling freshness, and again that touch of the bruised apple and pear. Nice hints of sweetness here, in a wine that is long and quite complex. Food Pairing: It is an excellent aperitif and fine accompaniment to oysters, cold seafood platters, creamy cheeses such as brie and delicate first courses Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Brut Reserva$19.05 btl / $228.60 cs (case of 12 x 750ml) Produced using the traditional method, and aged for …

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What could be better than a 95 point wine for under $20?


A 95 point wine for under $16, that’s what! 2013 Vidal Fleury Cotes du Rhone $15.95 per bottle / Available at Vintages 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre. Enjoys a deep nose with white pepper, graphite notes and bright red fruits. The palate is powerful and intense with black cherry and dark, muscular berry fruit, crisp acid and some neat, grippy, slightly salted tannins. The finish is long with berries and spice. Score – 95. (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2016) This historic house was founded in 1781, when Joseph Vidal bought his first vineyard in Ampuis. Even back then the house had a reputation for quality and enjoyed visits from connoisseurs such as the future president of the United States Thomas Jefferson. This long history makes Vidal-Fleury the oldest firm in the Rhone Valley, well-recognized for the quality of its wines. The house continued in family hands until 1984, when it was purchased by Guigal. Today it operates independently, but with continued emphasis on quality. Vidal-Fleury still owns its original vineyards in Cote-Rotie, and has long-term contracts with growers in many other appellations of the northern and southern Rhone to produce this impressive list of wines. Robert Parker has “a prediction to make for the next several years – look out for Vidal Fleury! With a brand new, state of the art winemaking facility, tucked beneath the Cote Rotie vineyards of the Cote Blonde, and a new management team, this famous estate, owned by the Guigal family, looks set to turn a page in a positive and dramatic fashion…Run by Guy Sarton du Jonchay, Vidal Fleury is a perennial source for high quality wines that won’t break the bank”


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