What Wine Goes With Steak?
When you think of a five-star wine and meal pairing, you might instantly think of wine with steak.
An intense, fruity red wine brings out the meat’s decadent flavors, but what wine goes best with steak? Is red wine always the best option for red meat?
We’re answering all your steak and wine-related questions, along with some top recommendations and a few pairings that might surprise you.
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the most popular red wines in the world, you can’t go wrong with a delicious, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and bone-in ribeye steak. The fatty cut is perfect for the wine’s dense tannins, which cause that dry taste on your palate after you drink red wine. Boasting dark fruit flavors and a burst of spices, Cabernet Sauvignon’s warm acidity is a smooth complement to buttery, marbled steaks.
Lighter Cabernet Sauvignon containing lower acidity and tannins will be perfect with softer cuts like filet mignon. A good rule to remember is that high acidity can handle more fat and a thicker cut, while lower acidity cabs favor leaner beef.
Search for robust, zingy New World varietals grown in warmer climates like Australia, Napa Valley, and South Africa when pairing with a fattier cut. Lean steaks pair well with the lower tannins and acidity associated with Old World Cabs grown in cooler climates like France and Italy.
Argentina’s flagship varietal packs serious heat with its high alcohol content and bold, juicy flavors like blackberry, plum, and cherry. Smoky undercurrents of tobacco, vanilla, leather, and cocoa add a spicy touch. Originally from France, Malbec is elegant and jammy with moderate tannins. This makes the wine perfect for various cuts of steak, from sirloin to New York Strip, as it will cut through fat and bring out the flavors of the meat.
The key with Malbec is to pair medium-bodied types with leaner meat to not overwhelm the steak’s flavors and textures. Flank steak and skirt steak are great options for Malbec. Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Old World Malbec from France is perfect for lighter steaks since its acidity and tannins are lower.
Explore a variety of steaks when pairing with velvety Malbec.
Known as Shiraz in Australia, this French wine is medium to full-bodied with peppery flavors and tart berry notes. Rhone Valley Syrah pairs well with steak with a high-fat content. This type boasts extra spicy flavors, high acidity, and robust tannins, making it a perfect partner for thick marble steaks.
Older Syrah is much brighter with ripe, fruity flavors, low acidity, and leather undertones. Pair vintage Syrah with leaner cuts of steak.
If you’d like to try a full-bodied, rich Syrah with your next steak dinner, don’t be afraid to pack on the seasonings. Syrah’s spicy, peppery structure can handle it.
4. Red Zinfandel
If you’re looking for a sweeter, fruit-forward wine and steak pairing that isn’t as acidic as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel is another delicious option. Originating in New World regions like Napa Valley, Zinfandel’s spicy and sweet flavors make it a perfect pairing wine for barbecue, including steak.
The secret to pairing Zinfandel with steak is ensuring the meat’s seasoning is spicy instead of purely sweet. The sweetness of the wine will counteract some of the spiciness and smooth out its flavors. Types of steak that are perfect for Zinfandel include fatty ribeye and New York strip as their high alcohol content will bring enough warmth to balance the density.
This lighter to medium-bodied red wine is a nice change of pace from the aforementioned wines if you’re looking for a wine pairing that’s not as heavy.
5. Pinot Noir
A light, refreshing wine, Pinot Noir is primed for tender steaks like filet mignon. It’s a bonus if the meat is doused in peppercorn sauce, as the wine’s earthy undertones will complement the seasoning nicely. Pinot Noir’s juicy black cherry, plum, and cranberry notes, along with a touch of zingy acidity, will brighten up any soft steak cut and enhance the meat’s flavors without overpowering it.
We’ve addressed a few of the top red wines with steak, but is there ever a time for pairing white wine with steak?
What White Wines Go With Steak?
While white wine isn’t the best go-to for pairing with steak, there are a few exceptions depending on the wine’s acidity and full-bodied intensity.
The best white wine pairing for steak, Chardonnay’s naturally high acidity makes it versatile for both fatter steaks and leaner, softer cuts like filet mignon.
Another good contender for its high acidity, Sauvignon Blanc adds fruitiness and aromatic intensity to grilled meats.
Get the prime rib ready! A dry, nutty German Riesling is intense enough to handle most steaks. Skirt steak, filet mignon, t-bone, and ribeye are excellent pairing options.
With refreshing citrus notes and zesty acidity, Pinot Grigio (or Pinot Gris) is perfect for bringing out the flavors in a well-seasoned steak.
Explore the Best Wines for Steak
Like with any wine and meal pairing, there are many options depending on your preference. We hope this list is an excellent starting point as you expand your palate into the delightful world of steak and wine pairings.
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