By Carl Hanson

What to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon

Got meat? Then Cab wants to come over to play.

Full-bodied and rich, Cabernet Sauvignon is assertive and complex, moreso than Merlot (its gentle neighbor in Bordeaux). It has plenty of tannin and acidity and shows off flavors of blackberries, plums, and cassis, along with vanilla, cedar, chocolate, and coffee.

Bottom line, it's a great choice for big, meaty dishes and rich sauces. And it's friendly with all manner of preparations: braised, broiled, roasted, grilled, seared, stewed.

Here are some of our very favorite pairings with Cabernet Sauvignon:

1. Blue Cheese Burgers

Why it works: You can't go wrong with a grilled burger and Cabernet; it's already approaching perfection. But add a little funky blue cheese, and the Cab friendliness goes extreme.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

2. Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

Why it works: Lamb and Cab, it's kind of a no-brainer. (See also, Grilled Lamb Chops and Roasted Rack of Lamb.) What helps vault this recipe over the top is the rosemary. Cabernet just loves it. Truthfully, rosemary makes almost any dish more red wine friendly.

3. Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

Why it works: Steak and Cab are always a classic combo. But here, the rich sauce (a balsamic vinegar and red wine reduction) takes an already great match and kicks it straight through the uprights of perfection...for the win.

Photo by Ani

4. Lamb Tagine

Why it works: Well, for starters, it's lamb. And then, it's a stew. And finally, It's Moroccan. Wait, Moroccan? Yes, it's true, Moroccan spices often go great with Cabernet Sauvignon. Go ahead, give it a try.

5. Gorgonzola Sauce

Why it works: It's garlicky, it's gorgonzola-y, it's a butter sauce you spoon over steaks. The wine will welcome the richness, and reward you with each sip.

Photo by RebeccaD

6. Slow Cooker Beef Stew I

Why it works: This comfort food demands a wine with some edge. And did you know the word Sauvignon derives from the French word for "savage"? This recipe helps tame the beast.

Photo by Dianne

7. Moussaka

Why it works: Eggplant can be a little bitter. But that's a good thing when you're pairing it with a tannic wine like Cabernet. Together, the bitter veggie and the tannic wine sort of cancel each other out, making the wine rich and smooth.

8. Pan Sauce Bordelaise

Why it works: This particular wine sauce is named after Cabernet Sauvignon's spiritual home, Bordeaux. Spoon the sauce over your favorite cut of steak; you can't go wrong pairing it with Cab. It's perfect in every way.

Photo by Chef John

9. Mushroom Blue Cheese Turkey Burgers

Why it works: Remember a moment ago, when we discussed the virtue of blue cheese on a grilled beef burger? Yes, well, the point is, the burger doesn't need to be beef. Go all ground turkey on it, add some cheese, and red wine-friendly mushrooms, then call yourself a Cab.

Photo by DIZ9829

10. Short Ribs Braised with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Why it works: Well looky here, we saved the (arguably) best for last. This one includes slow braised beef ribs with earthy porcini mushrooms in a rich beef broth featuring a couple Cab-loving herbs, rosemary and bay leaves. It's a perfect pair for good King Cab.

Photo by mauigirl

11. Grilled Lamb Loin Chops

Why it works: Grilled lamb chops with herbes de provence and garlic need a powerful wine like Cabernet Sauvignon that can stand up to all that big, big flavor. "Don't let their small size fool you, these chops are packed with maximum flavor!" confirms France C. "These are best served medium to medium-rare, but add a few extra minutes per side if you prefer them a little more done."

Photo by France C