How to Choose the Best Wine Pairing With Steak

How to Choose the Best Wine Pairing With Steak

Whether you’re at a steakhouse or cooking at home, savoring a delicious dish with the right wine can enhance your experience.

The classic pairing is red wine, which goes well with beef because of its pronounced tannins. However, whites also pair well with meat because their acidity produces the same effect on beef as the tannins.

Red Wine

If you’re a seasoned steak lover, you already know that a glass of red wine with your meal is an essential part of the culinary experience. It can complement the beef’s texture, flavor, and aroma.

But pairing the right wine with your dinner isn’t as simple as choosing a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. Instead, it’s a matter of finding the perfect match for the type of steak you’re eating and the sauces you’ll be enjoying it with.

‘The best wine to pair with a steak is one that can withstand the pronounced tannins in the meat, and can cleanse your palate of its fattiness,’ says Cedric Nicaise, sommelier at Eleven Madison Park in New York. ‘A high-tannin, full-bodied red with acidity is ideal, as well as one that has a good balance of tannins and fruity notes.’

For those who prefer a lighter, more fruit-driven wine, Zinfandel is a great choice. It has moderate bitterness and acidity, which helps wash away the salty, fatty flavors of the beef while still providing a little bit of fruitiness to accentuate its natural flavor.

Another great option is Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a rich, complex flavor and the natural tannins needed to absorb the savory flavors of the beef. If you’re looking for a wine with a more earthy character, Portuguese reds are also good choices.

You can also try a Cabernet Sauvignon from a cooler climate, like the Moon Mountain District in Sonoma. “A cooler-climate wine will have a more delicate, subtle flavor that won’t overwhelm the steak,” said McCrossin.

If you’re looking for a more bold, tannic red wine to go with your steak, consider a Malbec. This wine has jammy dark fruits, oak, tobacco, and vanilla on the nose, and it pairs especially well with grilled or charred steak.

Lastly, Pinot Noir can be a great match for a leaner cut of meat. The berry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors in this wine make it easy to sip while your dinner cooks.

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While there are many different types of red wine to choose from, the most popular option for those looking to enjoy a good steak with a glass of wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon. With its balanced acidity and fruitiness, a Cabernet can be an excellent complement to almost any cut of steak.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular wines in the world and is a classic choice when it comes to pairing with steak. Known for its dark fruit flavors and balanced acidity, this grape is often found in wines from Bordeaux, France.

Cabernet is an extremely versatile wine and can be paired with a wide variety of foods. Its high concentration and tannins make it a good match for rich grilled meats, peppery sauces, and dishes with high flavor.

The best way to determine the right cabernet for you is to take a few moments to taste it, focusing on acidity and sugar before moving on to tasting notes like berries, spices, and wood. It’s also important to choose a wine that has a balance of tannin and alcohol, so you can enjoy a well-balanced meal with your favorite steak.

If you’re looking for a big, bold wine to pair with your steak, look no further than Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a full-bodied wine with plenty of dark fruit and tannin, so it will complement fatty, hearty cuts like ribeye.

A powerful California cabernet is a good choice for grilled steaks as the chargrilling on the meat will help to mask some of the wine’s tannins. It will also pair beautifully with a steak sauce or red wine reductions.

Another favorite wine to pair with beef is a Super Tuscan. These wines are rich and complex with a deliciously layered story from the first aroma to the last sip.

For the best results, try a wine that has been aged in oak barrels. This will add to the subtle nuances in the wine and enhance the flavors of the steak.

Typically, a lighter style of Cabernet will pair with leaner cuts of beef. These include filet mignon and hanger steak.

Younger Sonoma cabernets will also be a good match for a grilled ribeye steak. These young cabernets tend to have lower alcohol and firm tannins, which can soften the wine and highlight its savory baking spice flavors.

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Choosing the perfect wine to pair with your next steak dinner can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little knowledge, you’ll be able to find the best wine to pair with your favorite cuts of steak and create an amazing meal.


Malbec is a rich, bold red wine that’s well-suited to pairing with beef steak. It’s a good choice for leaner cuts of meat, such as filet mignon and flank steak, but it may be overwhelming with fattier cuts like ribeye.

When choosing a Malbec, look for one that’s fruit-forward, with plenty of cherry and blackberry flavors. It should also have a moderate amount of acidity to keep the wine refreshing, and a hint of vanilla and chocolate.

In general, warm-climate Malbecs, such as those from Argentina or France, have more intense dark fruit aromas and flavors. Those from cool-climate regions, such as Australia or South Africa, tend to have less ripe fruit and more freshness.

It’s important to note that while most Malbecs are tannic, the level of tannins will vary depending on where they’re grown and what vintage they come from. If you’re shopping for a bottle that has been aged in oak, it will probably have more robust tannins and a higher tannic intensity.

Because of its tannic characteristics, Malbec is best served slightly cooler than room temperature and from a wine glass that allows for vigorous swirling. This will help open up the wine and expose more of its complexities.

Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec does not have a very long finish, so it’s ideal to pair with a wide range of foods. However, it’s important to avoid bitter greens and fish when pairing with this wine, as they will make it more tannic and upset the balance.

Another wine that pairs particularly well with a beef steak is Zinfandel, which has more moderate levels of tannin and acidity. This is the perfect wine to match with a medium-done New York Strip or ribeye, as the tannins will wash away some of the beefy flavors while leaving a little more of the fruit in the mouth.

Alternatively, you could try an earthier, more tannic Pinot Noir that’s been aged in oak, such as a Californian or Oregon Pinot Noir. These wines are usually light-to-medium bodied, but they can stand up to a medium-rare steak, as long as they’re made from high-quality grapes.

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White Wine

Whether you’re at your favorite steakhouse or cooking your own ribeye, wine and beef are one of the best combinations for a palate-pleasing dinner. But what’s the best way to go about finding the perfect pairing?

While red wines have long been a staple of the dinner table, white wines are also great with steak. Steak’s fatty nature can easily overwhelm the acidity of wine, but a good dry white is the perfect way to balance out the flavor and texture of your favorite cut.

Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Riesling are all well-made wines that pair with meat dishes like steak. They’re light-bodied and usually have a citrusy taste that pairs perfectly with steak.

They’re great with appetizers, main courses and even desserts, as long as the dish doesn’t contain sugar or too much fruit. These dry whites’ pair with a variety of flavors, including spicy and herbaceous.

If you’re looking for a white that’s bolder than your average Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, try a Cabernet Franc or Syrah. They’ll bring out more of the beefy flavor to your steak and can be paired with anything from a smoky barbecue to a charcuterie plate.

Another great white that goes with beef is Tempranillo, which has been praised for its ability to complement meat. The lower acidity and well-integrated tannins in a good Tempranillo can help keep the flavor of your steak intact.

In fact, many sommeliers agree that this grape can be particularly useful for steak dinners because it pairs so well with grilled meats. The fruit-forward and juicy characteristics in a Tempranillo can help balance out the flavors of your meat while keeping it tender.

Zinfandel is another excellent choice for a steak dinner. This California wine has a deep, dark ruby hue and is teeming with juicy fruit characters that are perfect for pairing with your favorite cuts of beef.

You can find great examples of this wine in almost any state, with styles ranging from Sonoma to Fresno. If you’re going to be drinking it with your steak, opt for a bottle that is at least a few years old because it will have more ageing potential and can improve the wine’s flavor over time.

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