Cabernet Franc wine and food pairing – Veal saltimbocca

What goes well with Cabernet Franc wine?

Cabernet Franc is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the world-famous Bordeaux red style.

On its own, here are the characteristics of Cabernet Franc wines:

  • Cabernet Franc is a fruity red wine with raspberry, cassis and violet aromas
  • Cabernet Franc is characterised by vegetal aromas like green bell peppers
  • Cabernet Franc is a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, but in contrast has lower tannins and a smoother mouthfeel
  • Cabernet Franc makes a bright and pale red wine

The question of what goes well with a 100% Cabernet Franc wine depends on the wine terroir and winemaking style.

Below, we will deconstruct an exquisite food and wine pairing with UMAMU Estate 2016 Cabernet Franc grown in Margaret River, Western Australia.

Sparkling wine and food pairing

There are three methods to pair wine with food:

  • Pair body and texture
  • Pair beneficial flavours
  • Pair aromatic compounds

We’ve had a Cordon Bleu trained create a perfect pairing for UMAMU Estate 2016 Cabernet Franc. Let’s run through each of the three methods.

Pair body and texture

UMAMU Estate 2016 Cabernet Franc spent 10 months in second-use French oak. Since Cabernet Franc tends to have less tannins and be paler than Cabernet Sauvignon, the red wine has a medium-body. It probably wouldn’t match with a rich dish of roasted or stewed meats – but is perfect for pan-fried saltimbocca.

Pair beneficial flavours

A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with high tannins would likely end up overpowering if paired with veal saltimbocca. But the lighter fats and proteins soak up the fine tannins in Cabernet Franc and all its fruity aromas to shine.

Pair aromatic compounds

Eucalyptol is the dominant aroma molecule in eucalyptus. It’s also a dominant compound in various varieties of sage. Saltimbocca is a classic Italian dish featuring veal wrapped in prosciutto and sage, and the eucalypt aromas of the sage pair successfully with eucalyptus and mint aromas in UMAMU Estate 2016 Cabernet Franc.

Asparagus is often an enemy of food & wine pairing. But expert sommelier François Chartier discovered that 3-alkyl 2-methoxy pyrazine is a key aromatic element and is also found in green bell peppers. This latter aroma is a dominant compound found in Cabernet Franc and makes it one of few red wines that pairs successfully with asparagus.

P.S. – You can read our complete guide to understanding food & wine pairing here.

Cabernet Franc with Veal saltimbocca


Veal Saltimbocca:

  • 8 thin slices of veal
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 8 toothpicks
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons vinocotto
  • 1/4 cup Cabernet Franc
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pan-fried asparagus and baby tomatoes:

  • large handful of asparagus (400-500g)
  • pot of cherry tomatoes (300-350g)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Flatten veal slices and wrap a slice of prosciutto around each. Pin a sage leaf to the veal and prosciutto with a toothpick. 
  2. Season the flour with salt and pepper and lightly dredge each slice of veal in the flour. Shake off the excess flour.
  3. Add olive oil to a fry pan and heat. Fry the veal slices in the hot pan for a minute or two on each slide until cooked through. Remove cooked veal and set aside to rest.
  4. Deglaze the frypan with the vinocotto and Cabernet Franc, adding any meat juices from the resting veal back into the pan. Turn off the heat, add veal back to the pan to coat with the pan juices.
  5. Serve with pan fried asparagus and baby tomatoes.


P.S. – You can UMAMU Estate 2016 Cabernet Franc here.