photo collage of wine-friendly appetizers

Wine and Appetizer Pairing Guide: Cabernet Sauvignon

While planning an evening of wine-friendly dishes, we traditionally start with bubbles, move to a crisp white and then finish off with a bold red with dinner. But, at the dinner parties we throw at Jordan, guests often ask if they can start with cabernet sauvignon instead. If you love red wine, there is nothing wrong with bucking the status quo. Pairing the king of grapes with any food can be daunting since tannins, acids and alcohol levels all play into this delicate dance. A food-friendly cabernet sauvignon with a balance of all these elements is the first step, plus a little pairing knowledge can go a long way to crafting a cabernet-only appetizer course that will impress everyone. To help you along, we’ve assembled several recipes in our wine and appetizer guide for cabernet sauvignon to make pairing a breeze.

Wine and Appetizer Pairing Guide: Cabernet Sauvignon

strip steak on sushi rice with mushroom jordan winery

Beef Nigiri

For a passed or plated appetizer, you can’t go wrong with sushi. We’ve created our own rendition of this classic Japanese dish with beef instead of fish, and trust us, we’ve found the ultimate beef sushi for cabernet lovers. By using grilled New York strip steak, we arrive at the ideal texture for nigiri its fatty texture often softens the tannins in an elegant red wine. Cabernet lovers will enjoy the less-acidic vinegars in this recipe, which creates a bridge to the acidity in the wine. Another prominent flavor is savory wild mushrooms, a classic pairing for the earthiness in the king of red wines, especially for a balanced Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon.

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lamb with quinoa and mushrooms on small plates with wine glasses

Smoked Lamb with Quinoa, Fennel and Royal Trumpet Mushrooms

An elegant and hearty appetizer, this unique dish can satisfy the most discerning palate. Tender, smoked lamb teams up with exotic spices, wild mushrooms and gluten-free quinoa to create a recipe that’s rich in flavor and texture. The smoky flavor, coupled with a Mediterranean rub, accentuates the subtle, spicy-oak nuances in a balanced cabernet.

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grilled vegetable fall salad on white plate

Sunchoke Salad

No wine and appetizer pairing guide for cabernet is complete without a vibrant and refreshing salad. This elegant showstopper features lightly smoked sunchokes and tender acorn squash over exotic mixed greens. The umami-ladened miso vinaigrette and grilled, savory vegetables make this a delectable pairing with the ripe, red plum flavors of cabernet sauvignon of any age.

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truffle cheese appetizer in small bowl wine recipe

Smoked Fromage Blanc

This vegetarian appetizer pairing for cabernet performs a waltz of smoke, earth and bitterness, brought into balance by both a subtly acidic Mediterranean-inspired vinaigrette and the bright, fruity notes of the wine. You should definitely try this recipe. The Australian truffle is the luxury addition; richly perfumed and now more widely available, it is an excellent value. A little more work goes into this recipe pairing, but it’s absolutely worth it.

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charcuterie salame and cheese board with bread and wine

Cabernet Sauvignon Friendly Wine and Cheese Pairings

Almost every event in wine country offers a cheese and charcuterie platter as an appetizer. It’s an easy, wine-friendly choice that any crowd adores. To make it easy for you, we’ve assembled our top varieties for cheeses below, as well as one for cabernet-friendly salumi.

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View cabernet friendly charcuterie >>

If you have a recipe to add to our cabernet sauvignon wine and appetizer guide, please let us know!

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Growing up in Hawaii, Todd Knoll developed a strong connection to the land and the ocean at an early age. As executive chef at Jordan Winery, he grows hundreds of heirloom vegetables, fruits and herbs, cooks hors d’oeuvres and meals for guests, makes olive oil, and tends to the estate’s honeybees and chickens. A visual artist at heart, Chef Knoll spends his free time with his son and wife, Nitsa Knoll, exploring the diverse terrain of Sonoma County with camera and pencil in hand, capturing moments in nature to inspire his next recipe.

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