Cabernet Sauvignon and a Big Sky Steak Salad

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

A nicely balanced, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon with any kind of beef is always a good choice. This wine is made for drinking with red meat. Pair a bottle of Heart of the Desert Cabernet Sauvignon with a Steak Salad using Olivelle products and you have the perfect Sunday lunch or a light, easy to make, weeknight dinner.

What is Cabernet Sauvignon?

Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape varietal known for its thick, durable skin, and the vine’s resistance to the elements. The resulting wine tends to be robust with medium acidity and tannins and flavors of rich, dark fruit. It has slightly elevated levels of alcohol for red wine and pairs well with food.

Where do Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow?

Cabernet got its start in the Bordeaux region of France. It grows very well in the Napa Valley region of California. You will also find Cab in Australia, Chile, Italy, South Africa, Argentina and even China! In the United States, outside of California, you will find it grown in Washington, New Mexico, Maryland, Texas and New Jersey.

History of Cabernet Sauvignon:

The origin of Cabernet Sauvignon was unknown until 1996 when a group of wine researchers at UC Davis discovered that in the seventeenth century in the Bordeaux region of France, a red Cabernet Franc grape plant and a Sauvignon Blanc grape plant accidentally bred.

In 1976, vintners witnessed one of the most shocking upsets in winemaking history. Prior to that year, West Coast vineyards had been producing excellent wines, but few traditional European tastemakers paid any notice to the upstart winemakers in Northern California.

A British wine merchant named Steven Spurrier organized a global wine tasting competition called “the Judgement of Paris.” In 1976, Spurrier allowed American wines to be included, but he himself believed that they would do poorly; in his shop, he only sold French wines.

However, to his surprise, a Napa Valley wine from Stags’ Leap winery outranked the top Bordeaux Chateaus at the tasting competition. During a blind tasting, California wines were rated the best in every category, shocking French winemakers—long considered the best in the world—and surprising wine lovers the world over. Napa Valley showed the winemaking world the power of the California terroir with unparalleled Cabernet Sauvignons.

Cabernet Sauvignon quickly began to spread across the world, and more and more vineyards began to grow them. However, no region revolutionized the wine industry with the creation of Cabernet Sauvignon like Napa Valley. Soon after the 1976 competition, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was launched into the world, and it became popular at steakhouses worldwide. In 1985, the well-known Bordeaux wine critic, Robert Parker, awarded the 1985 Groth Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon a perfect 100-point score.

In 1990, Cabernet Sauvignon became the 8th most grown grape in the world. By 2010, it became the most popular grape variety. To this day, there are more than 742,000 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted around the globe.

What does Cabernet Sauvignon Taste Like?

The wine is dry (not sweet) and has a healthy level of tannin, which is why your mouth dries out when you sip it. The most common aromatic and flavor components found in cabernet sauvignon are dark fruits like plum, black cherry, and blackberry along with warm spice, vanilla, licorice, and black pepper. You will frequently whiff aromas of tobacco and leather. It has high levels of an aroma compound called Methoxypyrazine which is why it’s noted for aromas of black pepper, green peppercorn, black currant and sometimes even bell pepper.

How to pair Cabernet Sauvignon with food:

Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that needs to be drunk with food, given its acidity, tannins and alcohol levels. Thanks to the tighter tannins in cabernet sauvignon, this wine is built for fat and protein. Red meat is its first love. Everything from burgers and brats to prime rib and hearty sausage dishes pairs perfectly with the red wine. Strong-flavored cheese (think Stilton, cheddar, or Gruyere) and umami-rich mushroom dishes marry well with Cab. A mushroom Swiss burger with truffle aioli would make a delicious pairing.

Decant Cabernet Sauvignon—open to let it breathe—for at least 30 minutes and serve in a red wine glass to allow its complex aromas and flavors to open up. The roomy glass also allows you to swirl the wine when tasting.

Olivelle Big Sky Steak Salad Recipe

Serves 4


1 lb Flank Steak 2 Tbsp Smoked Balsamic Vinegar
2-3 Tbsp Roasted Coffee Rub 4-6 Cups Mixed Greens
2 tsp Black Garlic Sea Salt ½ Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
½ lb Bacon 2 Tbsp Caramelized Garlic Infused Olive Oil
2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes
  1. Season the steak liberally with Roasted Coffee Rub and Black Garlic Sea Salt. Set aside while you cook the bacon.
  2. Cut the bacon into ¼” pieces and place in a large, cold skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, cooking the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Drain any excess grease off of the pan.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the steak to the hot pan and cook for 5 – 7 minutes for medium to medium-rare. Flip the steak, top with cherry tomatoes and cook an additional 5 – 7 minutes. Remove the meat from the heat and allow to rest
  4. With the tomatoes still in the pan, add the Caramelized Garlic Olive Oil and Smoked Balsamic Vinegar. Stir to coat the tomatoes and remove from the heat.
  5. Slice the steak on the diagonal into thin strips.
  6. Arrange the greens on a serving platter. Top with the blue cheese, bacon crumbles, sliced steak, and finish by drizzling with pan roasted smoky garlic tomatoes as a dressing. Enjoy!

Pair this dish with Heart of the Desert Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy a delicious salad-based meal! You’ll be doing your tastebuds a favor and feel healthy while you enjoy it—it is salad afterall! Olivelle products are available at Heart of the Desert. You can pick them up instore, online or by calling for shipment, 575.434.0035.

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.