Add Cherries To Your Cabernet For A Sensational Wine Experience

As Judy Garland famously noted, "Life is just a bowl of cherries. Don't take it serious." While "serious" might not be quite the word we'd choose, if you take a cue from the classic Manhattan cocktail, a well-placed cherry can make a huge difference in flavor. In the same way that pork chops and pinot noir are a gastronomic match made in heaven, cherries belong in your Cabernet Sauvignon.

As a general rule, the darkness of a fruit should match the darkness of the wine you choose to pair it with. Some wines even list their fruity infusions on the bottle, like Wild Vines Blackberry Merlot or Fresita Sparkling Wine with its dominant strawberry flavor. With this pairing principle in mind, a full-bodied cabernet matches the deep, rich red of cherries. Cabernet is a layered and complex wine, making it a natural complement to a myriad of different foods. The addition of cherries elevates the dark fruits already present in the wine. Cherry-cabernet brownies are already a thing.

To make the most out of the fresh cherry flavor in your wine, make the cherry syrup yourself, or just toss in some fresh fruit. Hitting your vino with a hyper-sweet, artificial store-bought syrup will be doing your cabernet a tremendous disservice. (Does that make us sound like wine snobs? So be it...) We've rounded up some incorporation ideas to help get your boozy brainstorm rolling.

Like a stripped-down sangria

For a richer, more decadent sipper, you could make a shrub-meets-simple-syrup concoction of "cherries in wine." Just boil some water, brown sugar, lemon zest, and (of course) your cabernet together in a saucepan until it reaches a thick saucy consistency. Then, chill it to set up, allowing the flavors to intensify, and add a scoop of this jammy treat to the bottom of your wine glass to serve as you please. Pour your cab over top and you've got a yummy after-dinner cocktail or fancy brunch drink.

Alternatively, you could drop a few fresh cherries into your glass of cabernet and allow them to infuse as you sip. Rather than thick, syrupy maraschino or Luxardo cherries, opt for fresh Bing, Rainier, or Lambert cherries. For an extra bright sip, chill your bottle of wine first.

Since we're going to be adding cherries to it, there's no need to splurge on a top-shelf wine for our purposes here. Substance Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is a solid budget-friendly option; a full-sized bottle typically costs around $15. It features dark fruit, violet, and pipe tobacco, the cherry brings out the dark fruit already present and lends a welcome note of sweetness and brightness to the deep floral profile. Or, Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 totes cocoa and vanilla notes that would be rounded out deliciously by some cherries for a dessert-like sipper — and a bottle costs about $16.