Food & Wine

Paired Perfectly: Best Wine with Ribs

There is nothing quite like ribs. Whether you’re cooking them at home or ordering them at your favorite barbecue restaurant, ribs are always a treat. And what goes better with ribs than wine?

It’s a question that has been debated for centuries. There is no definitive answer, but we can give you some guidelines on the best wine to pair with ribs depending on the type of ribs and the sauce or seasoning used.

Stay tuned for our recommendations!

Fall off the bone ribs taste best with red wines such as Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Baco Noir, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir.

You’ll want to avoid using too many spices or sauces on your ribs since this might overpower the distinct flavors you’ve worked so hard to develop.

As a result of this, medium-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are perfect partners for beef-short ribs cooked slowly over time.

In an acidic tomato sauce, high-acid wines such as Pinot Noir, Barbera, Chianti Classico, and Zinfandel are fantastic wine pairings.

Rustic red or herbal red wines like Chianti, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Pinotage are delicious with savory braised short ribs that include earthy herbs and spices such as rosemary, pepper, and parsley.

Finally, Spare Ribs are pork that has been marinated and braised. They need a low tannin and acidic red wine with a little sweetness, such as Pinot Noir, Lambrusco, Zinfandel, Beaujolais Villages or young Ribera del Duero.

If the Spare Ribs are hot and spicy, go for an off-dry Riesling or Rosé instead.

wine with ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Braised beef short ribs are slow-cooked ribs that are full of flavor. The best wines to pair with these ribs are medium-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

Pork Spareribs

Pork spareribs are a type of rib that is usually taken from the lower part of the pig’s ribs.

Pork spare ribs are a bit sweeter than beef ribs, so they go well with red wines that have a little sweetness to them. Pinot Noir, Lambrusco, Zinfandel, and Beaujolais Villages are all great choices.

Pork Baby Back Ribs

Pork baby back ribs are a type of rib that is taken from the upper part of the pig’s ribs.

Pair them with a robust red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.

Tomato bbq sauce ribs pair well with high-acid wines, like Pinot Noir or Barbera.

Herb ribs go great with rustic red wines, like Chianti or Syrah.

Spicy ribs are best paired with an off-dry Riesling or Rosé.

California Zinfandel and Grilled BBQ Ribs

A ripe and fruity California Zinfandel is the holy grail for many BBQ rib fans. Grilled ribs, which are finished over an open fire quickly, have a wonderful charred and caramelized flavor that goes great with the smoky tastes of Zinfandel.

Meanwhile, the black cherry, plum, and other jammy elements of Zinfandel provide a delightful contrast to the grilled taste of your ribs.

Furthermore, the spices used in your BBQ Rib sauce enhance the Zinfandel’s black pepper, cinnamon, smoke, and chocolate characteristics.

It’s a win-win situation since the wine and ribs complement each other so well.

If you decide to barbecue your ribs in a tomato-based sauce, Zinfandel’s bright acidity will complement your BBQ sauce’s tangy, sweet, and smoky tastes.

Red wines high in tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux, would clash with the BBQ sauce since the tomato sauce’s strong acidity makes tannin taste flat and metallic.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Grilled Ribs

With ribs, an aged Cabernet Sauvignon is fantastic since the tannin in the wine is soft. Cabernet Sauvignon is robust and fruity, with notes of cassis and black currant that provide a nice contrast to the savory and meaty rib tastes.

You’ll get flavors of chocolate, vanilla, black pepper, leather, smoke, and tobacco in your dish that complement the charred grilled flesh of your ribs.

The ribs’ flavor will be overwhelmed by the Cabernet Sauvignon, as it is a fatty and flavorful meat, therefore, you should choose an aged or mild Cabernet Sauvignon.

The tannin present in Cabernet Sauvignon enhances the taste of the ribs by breaking down protein molecules in the meat to make it softer.

Because tannin destroys protein molecules in wine, it makes them feel soft and silky.

Red Russian and Beef Short Ribs Pairing

Another popular wine with beef ribs is Red Russian. The wine’s jammy blackberry and toasted vanilla notes go wonderfully with the savory and grilled tastes of your ribs, while the ripple of black pepper that merges with those wonderful rib aromas provides a nice ying/yang.

Northern Rhône Syrah and Braised Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs are ribs from a pig that have an intriguing smoky flavor and go wonderfully with the smoky, peppery, and bacon tastes of Norther Rhône Syrah from France.

Although both varieties of Syrah are derived from the same grape, a Norther Rhône Syrah is going to be fruit-free and have deeper meaty, herbal, and spice components than a Syrah.

The refreshing fruit notes remain intact, so look for sherry, raspberry, and blackberry flavors among the wine’s other scents.

If your Baby Back Ribs are in a tomato-based BBQ sauce, a Norther Rhône Syrah should be fine as long as the ribs aren’t swimming in it.

Argentina Malbec and Short Ribs Pairing

Because of their shared passion for Malbec and beef, it should come as no surprise that these two compliment one another so well.

Medium in tannins and acidity, Malbec won’t overpower the delicate and slow-cooked flavors of your beef short ribs with its fruity undertones of black cherry and plum.

You may go two routes with Malbec from Argentina. You can get a reasonably priced Malbec for under $20, or you can invest in an oak-aged one for around $40.

When it comes to smoking ribs, there are several options open to you. The more expensive Malbec will offer flavors of chocolate and vanilla that will complement the grill marks on your meat.

In addition, expect leathery notes, violet, tobacco, earthiness, and licorice in the more pricey bottle.

A Malbec, on the other hand, will seem less complicated but will complement Short Ribs because it has contrasting fruity tastes that finish with a brief smoky kiss.

Pinot Noir and Dry Rub Ribs Pairing

A delicate Pinot Noir is the ideal wine to complement ribs dusted in an earthy dry rub. Dry rub ribs require a subdued, elegant wine like Pinot Noir, as boisterous red wines will destroy their delicate tastes.

Pinot Noir has bright flavors of cherry and strawberry that are just strong enough to compliment your delicious ribs without overpowering them. You’ll also notice an earthy or forest floor scent from Pinot Noir, which goes well with the seasonings in your dry rub.

The ‘Pinot Noir’ wine’s bright acidity also elevates the meat and spice tastes of your ribs, making them seem even more delectable.

I have one caution for Pinot Noir: never go cheap.

Anything less than $25 will not do Pinot Noir justice. Because it is a difficult grape to produce, Pinot Noir has a high price tag. Try Baco Noir or Pinotage with your Dry Rub Ribs if you’re on a budget.

Beaujolais Villages and Spare Ribs Pairing

The acidity of Beaujolais-Villages is comparable to that of Spare Ribs, which makes it a good match for the red wine. Pork has a sweet flavor to it, and the Beaujolais’s cherry and strawberry dreaminess complement the pork tastes without overpowering them.

The spare ribs I prefer are from Chinese takeout and are submerged in a soy-garlic honey sauce. Earthy tones of mushroom, black pepper, and cloves compliment the soy sauce, while the sweet raspberry and cherry characteristics of Beaujolais keep you refreshed after the garlic smells.

wine with ribs

Can you pair White Wines with Ribs?

With ribs in a spicy hot rib sauce, an off-dry Riesling is a fantastic choice. As a result, if you enjoy ghost peppers or habanero peppers on your ribs, an off-dry Riesling is the way to go.

The sweetness of Riesling melds with the heat in your mouth, allowing the faint earthy notes of the peppers to peek through their fiery curtain.

Sparkling wines, such as Prosecco, Champagne, and Cava, go well with sticky and saucy ribs because the bubbles help to clear away the BBQ sauce and fatty greasiness.

Riesling and sparkling wines, on the other hand, are not appropriate for your ribs due to their zippy acidity and crisp citrus flavors of peach and pear.

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