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How to Serve Cabernet Sauvignon: 3 Simple Steps

Red wine bottle on its side with a corkscrew and 2 corks next to it.
Photo by Compuinfoto

You’ve painstakingly researched and selected the perfect Cabernet for your dinner pairing. Now, you want to serve that Cabernet Sauvignon with the respect it deserves. There are just a few things to do that will ensure the wine tastes its best.

STEP 1: Serve Your Cabernet at the Optimal Temperature

Temperature gauge identifying Too Cold, Just Right, and Too Hot.
Photo by Robert Hyrons

Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, red wine. It’s important that this type of wine isn’t served too warm or the alcohol can overwhelm the wine and the structure will be out of balance. This type of wine should be served at 59-64 degrees Fahrenheit (15-18C). This is much cooler than our typical room temperatures and much warmer than our refrigerators.

So, what’s the best way to obtain that perfect serving temperature without harming the Cabernet? Just place it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes prior to decanting. This accounts for the “warm-up time” that will happen while the wine is decanting.

STEP 2: Decant Your Cabernet Sauvignon

Red wine being poured into glass decanter.
Photo by Silberkorn

Decanting a Cabernet Sauvignon will help to soften its strong tannins. Most Cabernets should be decanted 30-60 minutes. For Cabernet that has been in the bottle longer than 15 years, only decant for 30 minutes. That older wine will be more fragile and will react to oxygen more easily.

For more information on decanting check out: The Decanting Wine Guide: How & When to Decant Wine

STEP 3: Use Wine Glasses Shaped for Full-Bodied Reds

Red wine being poured into red wine glass.
Photo by Panyacharoen

The ideal Cabernet Sauvignon wine glass will have a wide bowl and narrow rim. This allows the right amount of oxygen to touch the surface and allows room to swirl the wine which helps to infuse more oxygen into it. This larger shape helps to funnel the aromas to the rim of the glass where your enjoyment of the wine starts.

For more on wine glass selection check out: How to Choose the Right Wine Glass

Serving Cabernet Sauvignon Summary

Just remember that a slightly cool temperature, a bit of oxygen, and a large bowled glass is all you need to enjoy the complex flavors and aromas of your Cabernet. You can even pour a glass at the time you decant and see how the wine evolves. Enjoy! Cheers!


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