As a chef with years of experience working at Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide, one of the questions I get most is how to pair wine with steak.
It’s an art, really! You want the flavors to complement each other, not compete. And with so many cuts of steak and types of wine, it can be overwhelming.
What are the best wine pairings for steak? Pairing wine with steak depends on the cut and preparation. Bold reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah complement rich, fatty cuts like ribeye. Medium-bodied reds like Merlot or Pinot Noir are ideal for leaner cuts like filet mignon.
But fear not, my friends. In this guide, I’ll share my expert tips on how to drink wine with steak like a pro.
In This Article
Understanding The Basics
Before we dive into specific pairings, it’s important to understand the basics of wine and steak pairing.
First, let’s talk about tannins. Tannins are compounds found in wine, particularly in red wines. They create a drying sensation in the mouth and are responsible for the astringency of the wine. The tannins in wine pair well with the fat and protein in steak, helping to cut through the richness.
Another important factor to consider is the flavor intensity of both the wine and the steak. You want to pair equally intense flavors together, so a bold red wine will pair well with a hearty, flavorful cut of steak.
Lastly, consider the acidity of the wine. Wines with higher acidity will help to cleanse the palate between bites of rich, fatty steak.
Now that we have the basics down, let’s dive into specific pairings.
Pairing Red Wine with Steak
Red wine is the classic pairing for steak and for good reason. The tannins in the wine pair beautifully with the fat and protein in the steak, enhancing both the wine and the food.
Best Cuts of Steak
When it comes to pairing red wine with steak, you want to go for bold, flavorful cuts of beef.
Here are some of the best cuts to pair with red wine:
- Strip steak
- Filet mignon
Best Types of Red Wine
Not all red wines are created equal, and some pair better with steak than others.
Here are some of the best types of red wine to pair with steak:
- Cabernet Sauvignon: This full-bodied wine has bold flavors of black currant, black cherry, and spice, making it the perfect pairing for a ribeye or a T-bone steak.
- Syrah/Shiraz: This wine is known for its bold, peppery flavor and pairs well with a flavorful cut of steak like a strip steak or a porterhouse.
- Malbec: Originally from Argentina, this wine has bold fruit flavors and pairs well with a filet mignon or a ribeye.
- Merlot: This medium-bodied wine has smooth tannins and pairs well with a tender cut of steak like a filet mignon.
Pairing White Wine With Steak
While red wine is the classic pairing for steak, don’t count out white wine just yet. With the right pairing, white wine can complement steak just as well as red wine.
Best Cuts of Steak
When it comes to pairing white wine with steak, you want to go for leaner cuts of beef.
Here are some of the best cuts to pair with white wine:
- Flank steak
- Skirt steak
Best Types of White Wine
Not all white wines are created equal, and some pair better with steak than others.
Here are some of the best types of white wine to pair with steak:
- Chardonnay: This full-bodied wine has a buttery flavor and pairs well with a lean cut of steak like a skirt steak.
- Sauvignon Blanc: This wine has high acidity and pairs well with a lean cut of steak like a flank steak.
- Pinot Grigio: This light-bodied, refreshing wine pairs well with a sirloin steak.
What Is The Best Way To Prepare Steak For Wine Pairing?
The best way to prepare steak for wine pairing is to keep it simple. Season the steak with salt and pepper and cook it to your desired level of doneness. You don’t want to add too many competing flavors that will take away from the wine.
Can I Pair White Wine With A Fatty Cut Of Steak?
While white wine is generally better paired with leaner cuts of steak, you can still pair it with a fatty cut. Just make sure to choose a white wine with high acidity, like a Sauvignon Blanc, to cut through the richness of the meat.
Can I Pair Red Wine With A Lean Cut Of Steak?
Absolutely! While red wine is typically paired with a bold, flavorful cut of steak, it can still pair well with a leaner cut. Just make sure to choose a delicate red wine, like Pinot Noir, to compliment the steak without overwhelming it.
Savor The Pairing
In the end, the key to a successful wine and steak pairing is to experiment.
Try different cuts of steak with different types of wine to see what you like best. And don’t be afraid to ask your server or sommelier for recommendations.
Just remember to savor the pairing and enjoy every bite and sip.