Cabernet Sauvignon-Soaked Cherry Pickle Relish

Cabernet Sauvignon-Soaked Cherry Pickle Relish
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About This Recipe

In the heart of wine country, Napa Valley thrives with vineyards that stretch across its rolling hills, producing some of the world's most cherished wines. Among these, the deep and robust Cabernet Sauvignon stands out, not just for its drinkability, but also for its versatility in the culinary world. Today, I'm thrilled to share a unique fusion, blending the richness of wine with the zest of pickles: the Cabernet Sauvignon-Soaked Cherry Pickle Relish. If you've ever wondered about pickle how to make with a twist, this is your answer.

This relish was conceived during a summer in Sonoma, when the local cherry harvest was bountiful, and a wine barrel tasting at a friend's vineyard had me considering the marriage of wine-soaked cherries with the sharp bite of pickled relish. The outcome? A delightful medley of flavors that makes a simple yet sophisticated addition to any cheese platter, grilled meat, or sandwich.

As with many great recipes from this region, the secret lies in the quality of the ingredients. When you begin with ripe cherries from local orchards and immerse them in a high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, the transformation is magical. The cherries absorb the wine's complexity, and when pickled, retain a burst of wine flavor with each bite, offering a balance between sweet, tangy, and deep wine undertones.

Now, any wine enthusiast knows that a recipe isn't complete without the perfect wine pairing. For our Cabernet Sauvignon-Soaked Cherry Pickle Relish, the choice of wines needs to complement its rich profile. A natural selection is, of course, the Cabernet Franc. Known for its vibrant red fruit character, this wine not only enhances the fruity cherry notes but also dances gracefully with the spice elements in the relish. If you're looking to savor this pairing, head over to Frog's Leap in Napa or the iconic Chateau Montelena. Both wineries offer Cabernet Francs that promise to delight your palate.

But for those who seek a bolder accompaniment, the Zinfandel varietal is your answer. With its black fruit flavors and hints of spice, it resonates with the relish's deeper wine-soaked elements. For an unforgettable Zinfandel experience, you must visit Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma or take a trip to Seghesio Family Vineyards. Their wines are a testament to the rich history and expertise that the region brings to the world of viticulture.

Whether you're a Napa local or planning a visit to our beautiful wine country, integrating wine into dishes adds an element of sophistication and surprise. Our valleys, from Napa to Sonoma and beyond, are not just about wine tasting; they're about experiencing wine in its myriad forms. From the vineyard to the table, wine has woven its way into our local culture, cuisine, and celebrations.

Incorporating the flavors of our cherished wines, like in this pickle relish, is an ode to the land and the passionate vintners who've made Napa and Sonoma renowned globally. When you bite into the Cabernet Sauvignon-Soaked Cherry Pickle Relish, you're not just enjoying a condiment; you're savoring the essence of Northern California, one cherry at a time.

So, the next time you're looking up "pickle how to make," think about adding a splash of wine country to your recipe. The blend of traditional pickling methods with the rich flavors of wine country is a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of our local chefs, home cooks, and vintners. And if you find yourself wandering the streets of Napa or Sonoma, always be open to the fusion of flavors that our region offers. After all, wine country is not just a place; it's an experience, a taste, and most certainly, a way of life.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon is renowned worldwide for its deep ruby hue, rich tannins, and complex notes of blackberry, cherry, and plum, often underlined by hints of vanilla, leather, or even green bell pepper. Hailing from Bordeaux, France, this grape variety has found a second home in Napa Valley, producing wines that stand amongst the finest in the world. But its potential doesn't stop at the glass. Its robust flavor profile makes it an exquisite ingredient in cooking, especially when looking to elevate sauces, marinades, and in this case, relishes. When cherries, a fruit with natural sweetness and tartness, soak in this wine, they imbibe its intense flavors, creating a delightful fusion that's truly unique.

How To: Pit Cherries Like a Pro

  1. Using a Cherry Pitter: This tool is specifically designed to remove the pit while keeping the cherry mostly intact. Place the cherry in the holder, press down, and the pit pops out cleanly.
  2. The Straw Method: Position a straw at the stem end of the cherry and push through. The pit should pop out from the other side.
  3. The Paperclip Method: Unfold a paperclip halfway and push one end into the cherry until you touch the pit. Hook the pit and pull it out.

Remember to always pit cherries over a bowl to catch the juice and prevent mess.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use frozen cherries instead of fresh ones? Absolutely! Thaw them before use and drain any excess liquid to maintain the recipe's balance.
  2. I don't have Cabernet Sauvignon. Can I substitute it with another wine? While Cabernet Sauvignon offers a unique flavor, other dry red wines like Merlot or Shiraz can work as substitutes. The final taste may vary slightly.
  3. How can I store the leftover relish? Store the relish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ensure that the relish is completely cool before sealing to retain its freshness.
  4. Is this relish gluten-free? Yes, the ingredients in this relish are naturally gluten-free. However, always check wine labels, as some might have additives or processing agents containing gluten.
  5. What other herbs can I use for garnish apart from parsley? Fresh basil, mint, or even cilantro can be used to add a different aromatic touch to the relish.

Tips for Success

  1. Quality Matters: When selecting Cabernet Sauvignon wine, opt for a decent quality. Remember, if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it!
  2. Let it Marinate: For a deeper flavor, let the cherries soak in the wine overnight. This allows them to absorb more wine complexities and results in a richer relish.
  3. Consistency is Key: As the relish simmers, keep an eye on its consistency. It should be thick but not too syrupy. If it's too thin, let it simmer a bit longer; if too thick, you can add a touch of water or wine to adjust.

Recipe Overview

Cabernet Sauvignon-Soaked Cherry Pickle Relish
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional for garnish)

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, soak cherries in Cabernet Sauvignon wine for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the soaked cherries (with wine), red wine vinegar, brown sugar, red onion, garlic, ground mustard, ground cloves, and ground allspice.
  3. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cherries are tender and the mixture thickens slightly.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the relish to cool down.
  5. Once cooled, transfer the relish to a jar or an airtight container. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving if desired.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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