Wine and steak are an important match-up in your wine tasting experience. With so many distinct steaks and preparations to choose from, you may discover a few go-to dry red wines, or you might delve into the nuances of wine pairings. Read on to discover our recommendations for wine with steak.
Everyone has their favorite cut of steak, and we’ve got the wines to go with it. Tuck your napkin into your shirt collar and grab your knife; it’s time to have a look at the greatest steak-friendly wines.
Wine and Steak Pairing
Dry red wines, according to the rule of thumb when matching with steak, are preferable – leaner meats prefer lighter wines, while richer, fattier cuts prefer high tannin wines that may cut through the fat.
However, the more tailored your pairing is to the cut of steak you’re preparing, the more sophisticated and elegant your dining experience will be. We’ve listed all of the classic cuts, as well as their corresponding wines, for you.
To keep leaner meat dishes such as steak and fillet mignon tender, cook them to rarer degrees. The extra time on the grill or in the pan will dry out these cuts, so they are best enjoyed with fruit-forward wines that can rehydrate and refresh the palate.
Pairing wine with a more fatty steak like a ribeye is where you can start to have some fun. The increased marbling on these cuts means they can handle more tannic wines without drying out. If you’re looking for an upgrade from the classic red wine and steak pairing, try a wine with higher acidity, like a Barbera d’Asti.
Sauces and seasonings can also affect your wine choices. A simple steak with little more than salt and pepper is going to need a different wine than one that’s been rubbed with spices, or one that’s been smothered in a creamy sauce.
For the simplest steak preparation – salt and pepper only – you’ll want to look for a wine with bright acidity to cut through the richness of the meat. For a spiced steak, go for a wine with lots of fruit to balance out the heat, like an Old Vine Zinfandel. And if you’re drowning your steak in a decadent sauce, find a wine with enough body to stand up to it, like a Cabernet Sauvignon.
No matter what your preferred cut or preparation, there’s a wine out there that’s perfect for pairing. So fire up the grill, open a bottle and enjoy!
Sirloin is a popular steak cut, and it’s quite lean with minimal marbling and frequently has a fat strip along the edge. Sirloin can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried, but it’s best when cooked on the grill.
- Rioja Reserva: An exquisite, complex red with hints of blackberry and spice. It’s perfect when served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
- Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Look for Colline Teramane’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo if you want better quality.
- Frech Syrah: Saint-Joseph or Crozes-Hermitage for greater value and Cornas or Côte-Rôtie for excellent quality
Why they pair: The Sirloin is a versatile steak that can be seasoned or sauced in a variety of ways, so we’ve aimed to provide adaptable wines that compliment whatever path you’re going in, but keep an eye on how your spices impact the meal and choose appropriately.
Ribeye & Bone-In
The best cut of steak, with a lot of marbling and naturally delicate. The Ribeye is delicious on the drier heat of a hot grill, with plenty of marbling and lubrication. The Bone-in version follows all the same guidelines, but because it’s cut to the width of the still connected rib bone, it’s more difficult to cook properly.
Diners who savor a bone-in rib eye’s high marbling will be rewarded with a delicious, powerful taste.
The increased protection and natural connective tissues, on the other hand, produce a somewhat more succulent overall product at higher temperatures.
Because there is less surface area on bone-in cuts, the degree of caramelization decreases. The bones extend the cooking process by slowing it down, but steaks end up soft and juicy-particularly when grilled-because of them.
We advise removing the cap from the eye of boneless cuts in order to optimize their cooking times.
If you can’t find dry-aged meat, use a marinade or rub instead.
To decrease the cooking and resting periods, temper the steak in hot, clarified butter. Before moving it to a cooler area of the grill to finish cooking, sear the meat over high heat on a wood-fired grill.
Brushing it with compound butter as you cook and while resting will enhance the flavor dramatically.
Remember that when cooking large rib eyes over high heat, they need to rest considerably longer than smaller ribeyes cooked at lower temperatures.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious red wine with aromas of dark berries and violets. It complements the flavor of foods, especially those made with rosemary.
- If you’re grilling ribeyes, we recommend a red from the Sonoma or Napa Valley region: Zinfandel from California’s Central Coast or Carignane from the Russian River Valley in Northern California.
The Amarone grape, along with the Valpolicella and Superiore are winemakers’ favorites. Rich and smoky yet fruity thanks to cherry notes.
Why they pair: The higher fat content lends a rich, buttery flavor and necessitates either high tannins to cut the fat or more powerful fruit notes for contrast.
Porterhouse & T-Bone
The T-Bone and Porterhouse steaks are cut from the same piece of cow. They’re both excellent in a combination of a delicate filet side and a firmer, more flavorful strip side. Can be prepared in a pan, but it’s generally simpler to maintain the cook even while grilling.
- Nebbiolo or Barolo: Northern Italian red with a stylish and aromatic profile. Definitely the high-roller choice.
- Aglianico: Fabulously rich and meaty from the south of Italy. When paired with a hearty steak, this wine offers only fruit!
- Xinomavro: (“Ksee-no-mah-vroh”) A flavor-driven aromatic Greek red with a strong taste of fruit. Find wines from Naousa and Amyndeon if you’re seeking something special.
Why they pair: Both the Porterhouse and T-Bone steaks are juicy, though somewhat lean. Reds that have a rich fragrance and flavor, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, would go well with their filet mignon/strip combination.
The Cadillac of steak cuts, which are extremely lean but tasty and delicate. Frequently served with sauces, but also a simple salt-and-pepper preparation. For the win, pan-seared and butter-basted.
Despite being somewhat flavor-neutral, filet mignon’s luxurious texture thoroughly makes up for it.
The most delicate and lean cut is the filet. It is, however, also the most expensive.
To keep the excellent tenderness, Hamde recommends removing any fat and connective tissue from the filet before cutting it to the desired size. Leave small fillets in the refrigerator until they’re ready to grill, then brush them with sweet unsalted butter and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Place a rack on top of the grill and cook them on alternating sides, using different rates of charcoal to create temperature variations on the grill. If your steaks are overcooking, move them around. To keep the outside from burning, small cuts require lower heat levels than larger ones.
Turn the steak over and repeat, rotating it at small angles to allow it to caramelize before each turn. This will provide an even crust across the entire steak. Repeat the procedure with the steak turned over.
Allow five minutes for the fish to rest before serving, and then enjoy it solo, or with a rich sauce like Hollandaise or Béarnaise.
- Merlot-based red blend: Choose from Bordeaux or Washington State to see which one suits you best.
- Touriga Nacional: From Portugal, this deep dark red has subtle violet floral notes. A wonderful choice for steak au poivre.
- Mencía: (“Men-thee-yah”) is a beautiful choice from northern Spain with sour red berry scents and minerality.
Why they pair: The subtle flavor of the Filet is complemented by wines that stay in their lane, delivering complimentary tastes that complement the meat without trampling on its toes.
The Strip is a popular choice for value and taste, which explains why it has many names (New York Strip Steak, shell steak, Kansas City strip). There are slight variations in the cuts depending on whether there’s still bone-in. You’re receiving a short loin cut, all in all.
It’s a little more fibrous than the last, but it’s still a delicious and delicate cut when cooked correctly. Seasoned with salt, basted in butter, and left to rest for a few minutes in a cast-iron pan.
The crowd-pleaser New York strip balances exquisite softness and marbling-derived character with enticing tenderness.
The filet is delicate yet uninteresting, whereas the rib-eye is full of flavor but not as juicy. The best of both worlds is the strip.
A bone-in strip has a more appealing appearance, but it takes longer to cook and is larger than other breasts. Don’t be scared; you’ll remove approximately five ounces from the table with this technique.
When it comes to overcooking, the New York strip is forgiving. However, Dritsas recommends cooking it to medium doneness. The internal fat will liquefy, resulting in an extremely juicy final product.
Béarnaise, classic Béarnaise, or robust Bordelaise sauces are all delicious additions to grilled meats. However, simply seasoned with salt and pepper is best; a compound butter, traditional Béarnaise sauce, or powerful Bordelaise sauce are also welcome accoutrements.
- Blaufränkisch: One of Austria and Germany’s most important red wines, this odd-named grape is one of the country’s and nation’s most important. Good acidity, a pleasant smoky finish, and black cherry highlights distinguish good quality examples.
- The GSM Blend: A combination that includes Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre and other red wines from the Rhone Valley in France, particularly Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The “Bordeaux” style blend produced in South Africa’s 500-million-year-old terroir features distinctive dusty qualities thanks to refined tannins. At the same time, they have a fruit-forward and earthy flavor.
Why they pair: The Strip is a flavorful and thicker-grained cut of beef that’s ideal for a variety of culinary techniques, but it needs a wine with both flavor and fat reduction capabilities. Our red wines have rich fruit flavors as well as acidity and tannins to get the job done.
Rump comes from a more active muscle, resulting in a firm yet flavorful cut. Marinating it may help, but this might alter your wine selection.
- Monastrell (aka Mourvedre): Look for Bandol, France or Spain if you’re looking for something from that area. It’s a great peppery wine that’s robust enough to handle some meaty tastes.
- Chilean Carménère: A traditional with steak frites or a steak served with chimichurri sauce.
- Italy’s Dolcetto: A rich dark berry-flavored wine with smooth acidity and high tannins. If you marinated your rump steaks, this is the wine to use.
Why they pair: Because Rump has a hard texture that can be difficult to break through, we’ve gathered some options for you to utilize. Keep steak sauce in mind when matching dishes and throughout the rest of the meal.
Flank & Skirt
Both Flank and Skirt can be cooked in the same way, although they aren’t identical. They’ll marinate nicely, making them perfect for fajitas, but if you only want to eat Steak, they may be grilled with salt and pepper to enhance.
- Chianti Classico, Vino Nobli de Montepulciano, or Montefalco Rosso are good choices in the Sangiovese family. – Acidity and red fruit flavors cut through the chewiness, while Chianti Classico
- Cabernet Franc: The United States and Argentina are good places to look for a more fruity, smoky style. If you’re serving with greens, visit France’s Chinon region for an herbaceous Cabernet Franc.
- Garnacha: Another Spanish red that delivers more berry flavor complexity and zest as well as being capable of neatly slicing through tough steaks.
- Malbec: The more fibrous cut of the meat is complemented by the bolder berry taste and velvet texture, while lower acidity wines won’t be harmed by the lean cut.
Why they pair: A braising liquid is made by combining the dried onion, bouquet garni, and wine. The sliced peppers are browned in butter before adding them to the saucepan with the garlic and chicken stock. Although these cuts are delicious when cooked properly, they are more difficult to chew. Our wines seek to complement flavorful yet chewy beef by turning it from a chore into a pleasurable experience.
Brisket, on the other hand, is not a typical example of steak. Even though it isn’t a popular steak pairing, Brisket is still worthy of consideration. This is one cut that benefits greatly from slow and low cooking, particularly when smoked. Maybe you should get one!
What kind of fuel is in the smoker will determine your wine selection. Wood chips are a good idea, but there are many options to pick from, each of which adds something delicious and distinctive. The most frequent recommendation for brisket is hickory.
- Sagrantino is a red from the Italian province of Umbria. Wines are near-opaque with strong black fruit and mouth-coating tannins. Sagrantino will transform your brisket dinner into an elegant occasion.
- Petite Sirah: A delicious smoky and rich variety from the United States with big tannins that cut through the meaty richness of brisket and barbecue without hesitation.
- Australian Shiraz: The most expensive red wine to produce in Australia, pressed from hand-picked grapes grown across the nation’s Barossa Valley. Its rich texture and powerful fruit flavors are complemented by a hint of smokiness and blueberry-blackberry notes.
Why they pair: Smokey notes are most prevalent in the making of a Brisket, and these wines go well with and augment smokiness.
Perfection is not possible in these pairings – because everyone has their own unique flavor.
Don’t be scared to utilize our suggestions as a starting point for developing your own wine pairings. There are no wrong answers if you’re having fun.