The Best Wine That Goes With Corned Beef And Cabbage

Originally a beloved pork bacon and cabbage recipe Irish immigrants brought from their homeland, corned beef and cabbage is a delightfully salty American dish typically associated with St. Patrick's Day traditions. Because the dish is fairly simple to prepare, it has become a popular dish to put together for a family meal. New Englanders make a version dubbed boiled dinner that is enjoyed year-round. And like many other meals, nothing compliments this comforting meal like the perfect wine to go with it.


Pairing wine with corned beef and cabbage can be tricky because opposing flavors in the dish demand your taste buds' attention simultaneously, and finding a wine that compliments them all is tough. While choosing a wine with corned beef or cabbage alone wouldn't be incredibly challenging, the combination creates an interesting dilemma. The flavor profiles of a few varieties of wine make a decent case for uniting nicely with the richness of this briny meal, but one stands clearly above the rest. With a medium body and subtle earthy flavors, the best wine to accompany your corned beef and cabbage is Cabernet Franc.

Why Cabernet Franc pairs the best

The corned beef in this classic dish is made tender through the process of curing the brisket, and when it's cooked, the fat doesn't cook out like some other cuts. This leaves you with a delightfully salty, fatty piece of meat. Alone, it would balance well with a Beaujolais because the high acidity will cut through the richness and saltiness of the protein. But cabbage has a unique bitter flavor that can sometimes taste slightly sulfuric. Wines like Merlot with a full-bodied flavor can taste a bit off when confronted with the taste of the cabbage.


A Cabernet Franc is the best pairing for this combination because its fruity notes and high acidity will stand up to the saltiness of the corned beef while also complimenting the cabbage with subtle bell pepper and earthy notes. Because a Cabernet Franc isn't as heavy as a deeper red wine, it won't overwhelm the cabbage flavor as it refreshes your palate with hints of raspberry, cherry, and currant. But while this wine is handily the best to unite with corned beef and cabbage, you may have to shop around a bit to find it.

Sometimes it's hard to find a good Cabernet Franc

Although the best pairing for corned beef and cabbage is usually quite affordable, it may be hard to find because not all shops will have a bottle on hand. Its famed black grapes are often utilized for blending in other varieties of wine like Bordeaux. Single varietals of Cabernet Franc can be challenging to make, and winemakers sometimes have trouble getting the complex flavor profile in a Cab Franc to shine.


Whether cooking it for a St. Paddy's Day celebration or a Sunday New England boiled dinner, you know you're in for a treat with corned beef and cabbage on the horizon. But even if you have to visit a couple of different locations to acquire it, be sure to pick up a bottle of Cabernet Franc before the big feast. You'll appreciate how well it compliments the dish, and your friends and family will be amazed at your impeccable sommelier-like knowledge about wine pairing as they experience the perfect combination for themselves.