Molly's Meal Match: Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is currently the most widely planted wine grape variety in the world. This heat loving grape originated in Bordeaux, and can be found in just about any hot/warm climate region. Although...we are starting to see some come from cooler climate regions, due to the effects of global warming.
Cabernet Sauvignon is clearly a ubiquitous grape and attempting to consolidate all of the regions in which it grows, into one blog post would be a massive undertaking. I have decided to narrow my scope and focus on Cabernet Sauvignon produced by Chateau St. Michelle Winery.
As one of the first wineries in WA, Chateau St. Michelle is the most well known and largest wineries in the state. They can be regarded as the original taste makers for Cabernet Sauvignon and other well-known Washington grape varieties. Because Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the first varieties they produced, their expertise with this grape is even more noteworthy.
Washington Cabernet Sauvignon is sure to provide extraordinary, full bodied wines with concentrated black fruit aromas. The high heat from the Eastern Washington growing regions and the irrigation techniques utilizing the Columbia River, contribute to the high alcohol in these wines. It's important to note the anatomy of this small thick-skinned grape, results in a skin to pulp ratio responsible for its high tannin levels. All of which are components needed for a delicious wine, suitable for ageing (concentrated fruit, high alcohol, and high tannin).
When pairing meals with a wine like this, look for recipes with fat, acid, and salt. These components of the meal will make the wine seem less tannic, more sweet/fruity, and sometimes appear to give the wine more body. Another great pairing rule is to pair like, with like. Bold foods, go great with bold wines.
Check out these recipes for Cabernet Sauvignon pairing inspiration.
Flavors + Aromas:
Primary (grape and alcoholic fermentation): black fruits, blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, cherries, black cherry, black currant, black plum, dark cassis, herbaceous, mint, green bell pepper (capsicum)
Secondary (post-fermentation winemaking): cream, yogurt, cedar
Tertiary (maturation/aging): tobacco, leather, dried fruit
Molly Mac with Bacon
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
The massive amounts of cheese and bacon in this dish, hold up to the meal structure Cabernet Sauvignon demands. The high fat components in every bite, smooth any harsh tannin and acidity in the wine.
This wine is the perfect representation of delicious WA, Cab Sauv. It has pronounced aromas of blackberry and plum, that are complimented by dried herbs. Similar flavors are found on the palate and are balanced by the wine's high tannin.
8 oz macaroni noodles
1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
1 lb bacon
1 sweet onion diced
1/2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tbsp thyme
2 cups of whole milk
1.5 cup of heavy cream
1 lb of white cheddar
8 oz of gruyere
4 tbsp Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter
2 tbsp of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of flour
salt & pepper (to taste)
1. In a large frying pan, cook your bacon. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain off some of the grease. Chop into small pieces.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and follow the cooking instructions on the package of the macaroni.
3. In a large sauce pan, melt 2 tbsp of unsalted butter on medium. Add in diced onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add in the flour.
4. Once the flour is browned, add in the milk and heavy cream. Whisk together, making sure anything stuck to the bottom of the pan is combined.
5. Add in the white cheddar and 4 oz of the gruyere cheese, stirring occasionally.
6. Add chopped bacon, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper to taste, to the vat of cheese. Then add the cooked noodles to the mixture.
7. In a small bowl combine melted 4 tbsp of Kerrygold Pure Irish butter, 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs and the remaining gruyere cheese. (Crust Topping)
8. Place the noodle and cheese mixture into a cast iron skillet or into casserole dish. Add a layer of the crust toping to the top.
9. Broil in the oven on high for 3-5 minutes, be sure to check it periodically to make sure it does not burn.
10. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Loaded Chili Bowl
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Not much is better than a big bowl of chili on a cold, lazy afternoon. This is a staple pairing everyone should indulge in, before the heat of summer consumes us. It's the perfect pairing to fill your belly. Be careful not to over spice the chili, because nothing is worse than a high alcohol wine with mouth-ripping spice.
This Cabernet Sauvignon was beautifully complex with aromas of rose, black cherry, and plum. Notes of cedar complimented the high levels of tannin. It's both delicate and robust.
15 oz black beans
15 oz light red kidney beans
15 oz red kidney beans
28 oz diced tomato
12 oz can of dark beer (Stout or Porter)
1.5 lb ground beef
1 sweet onion diced
1/2 - 1 jalapeño diced (depending on how spicy it is)
diced red onion (garnish)
diced pickles (garnish)
green onion (garnish)
shredded sharp cheddar (garnish)
sour cream (garnish)
cheese dip (Tostitos is a good option - garnish)
salt & pepper (to taste)
hot sauce (to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp oregano
miscellaneous spices that sound good (to taste)
1. Brown ground beef in a large Dutch oven, once browned add in your dry spices. Be sure not to over spice your chili. (When pairing with a high alcohol wine, the spice will only exacerbate the level of alcohol and will destroy your taste buds: spice=burn.)
2. Once the meat is browned and seasoned, add in the diced jalapeños and onions, sauté for 3-5 minutes.
3. Dump in all of the canned items. Don't strain anything.
4. Add in your can of 12 oz of beer.
5. Add in hot sauce to taste - remember not to add too much heat.
6. Bring to a light boil, turn down the heat and allow the pot to simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, uncovered. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the pan.
7. Once the chili has reached your desired consistency (the longer you simmer, the thicker the chili will be) build your delicious bowl full of chili.
8. Put on sweatpants. Something that will allow your stomach to grow, without discomfort.
9. Put a dollop of cheese dip in the bottom of the bowl, fill the bowl with chili, top with shredded cheese, sour cream, diced red onion, diced pickles, chopped cilantro and most importantly: Fritos.
Blackberry Chicken Salad with Fried Goat Cheese
Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend 2017
We have deviated from Cabernet Sauvignon and have entered into a red wine party, with all of our favorite black grape varieties and a splash of the white grape -Viognier. This blend of powerhouse grapes, has aromas of jammy fruit and heavy leather. It has a good balance of tannin, acidity and complex fruit forward flavors.
The reduced balsamic vinegar and warm blackberries compliment the black fruit flavors in the wine. Continuing with this flavor seizure, the peppered chicken highlights the peppery flavors of the wine - while the hearty goat cheese balls ease the tannin on the palate. It is a deliciously savory and refreshing pairing.
panko bread crumbs
2 chicken breasts
mixed greens lettuce
salt & pepper
1 cup flour
1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F / turn the grill to high heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Once to temp, cook the chicken for 30-35 minutes. Flipping half way through if using a grill.
2. Meanwhile, put flour into a bowl, crack eggs into another bowl and whisk, pour the panko crumbs into a third bowl.
3. Roll goat cheese into balls smaller than one inch. Place the rolled balls back in the refrigerator to cool prior to frying, otherwise the cheese will be too warm from your hands and will not withstand the heat from the oil. (They will melt, before fully frying.)
4. Roll the ball in the flour, cover in egg wash, and roll in the panko crumbs.
5. Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a large pot to 375 degrees. If a pinch of flour sizzles when dropped in the oil, it is ready. Gently drop the balls into oil and fry until golden brown.
6. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
7. Simultaneously, in a sauce pan heat about 1/2 of a cup of balsamic vinegar and a handful of blackberries on low, to reduce. This will take roughly 5-10 minutes. You can always reduce more balsamic vinegar if you would like.
8. Once the chicken is done, build your salad: couple handful of greens, topped with chicken, almond slices, fried goat cheese, drizzled with reduced balsamic and blackberries.
I hope you enjoyed learning about WA, Cabernet Sauvignon and checking out these pairing suggestions. If you have feedback, comments, or questions please feel free to comment below, post to The Wine Tails Facebook Page, or message me on Instagram.
Thank you Wine Simple, Wine for Normal People, The Wine Bible, and Wine Folly for providing me with amazing research materials. Follow along with The Wine Tails Pinterest page to see what gets me motivated and gives me inspiration for these pairings.
Cheers and happy sipping!