There’s no better way to dazzle your dinner guests than by offering a perfectly-paired wine to go with their meal — especially if you’re serving steak. The right wine will elevate the entire tasting experience, intensifying the depth of flavor and cleansing the palate between bites.
If you’re new to the world of wine pairings, there’s no need to stress. You don’t have to be a seasoned sommelier to successfully pair wine with steak. You just need to know a few key tips and tricks.
H2: How to Pair Wine With Steak: Considerations
Before we share the best wine to have with steak, it’s important that you have a foundational understanding of how wines interact with and impact the flavor of beef. Once you have this knowledge, it becomes much easier to select wines that are complementary to the meal you’ll be serving.
Here’s what you’ll need to remember:
The amount of seasoning you use when cooking beef will determine the type of wine that compliments it best. If you use complex seasonings like rosemary, garlic powder, or smoked paprika, you’ll need a bold red wine to counteract the intensity of those flavors.
If you stick with a subtle seasoning of sea salt and cracked pepper, a delicate wine will be able to shine through and gracefully enhance the meat umami richness of your steak.
H3: Fattiness of the Cut
Steaks with higher fat content, like a marbled ribeye or a juicy skirt steak, demand a wine with enough acidity and tannins to cut through the richness. For this reason, it’s important to consider the marbling of your meat when choosing a wine to pair with steak. Remember that leaner cuts, like filet mignons, crave a wine that won't overshadow their reserved flavor profiles, while fattier cuts welcome full-bodied pairings.
H3: Personal Preference
Above all else, the best wine pairing with steak is one you genuinely enjoy. It doesn’t matter how many awards a wine has won or how many sommeliers recommend it — if it doesn’t delight your taste buds, it’s not the right wine for you. Experiment with different regions, acidity levels, and textures until you find your best fit.
H2: The 7 Best Wines for Steak Pairing
Indulging in a perfectly cooked steak is a sensory delight, and finding the right wine to accompany it can elevate the experience to something truly exceptional.
We’ve curated a hand-selected list of wines that span the entire spectrum of flavor, from bold and robust reds that stand up to the most marbled ribeye to elegant and nuanced selections that gently enhance a tender filet mignon — we’re confident one of these choices will become your new go-to.
H3: Cabernet Sauvignon
There’s a reason why Cabernet Sauvignon is frequently referred to as the “King of Red Wines.” It’s rich, bold, and herbaceous, with heavy tannins and a velvety mouthfeel. The luxury it provides in every sip makes Cabernet (or “Cab” among avid drinkers) a must-try red wine with steak.
We recommend pairing it with a flame-cooked New York strip. The robust notes of blackberry and currant in this wine will counterbalance the crisp, charred edge of the steak, creating a beautiful blend of smoke, salt, and sharpness. There’s no doubt you’ll remember the experience long after you’ve taken your last bite.
Zinfandel is a wine with intriguing origins. For years, experts assumed Zinfandel grapes were native to America, but further research genetically linked them to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski and Italy's Primitivo.
Regardless of where its grapes come from, there’s one unmistakable truth about Zinfandel — it’s uniquely delicious and worth a try.
Known for its inherent sweetness and fruity aromas, Zinfandel gains its distinctive flavor not just from the fermentation process, but from the eternal summer weather California has to offer. It’s this warmth that draws out the sugar in the grapes and intensifies their fruity flavor.
If you’ve been wondering what kind of wine goes with steak, you can’t go wrong with a Napa Valley Zinfandel. Look for a bottle with hints of spice like black cardamom, clove, or nutmeg. These varieties pair excellently with smokey cuts like brisket or with rich, hearty dishes like beef stew.
It’s no secret that Spain has a centuries-old legacy of winemaking excellence. The country’s vast range of indigenous grape varieties, combined with its unwavering commitment to honoring traditional viticulture techniques, make it a winner amongst wine drinkers and winemakers alike.
Tempranillo is one of Spain’s greatest and most long-standing winemaking accomplishments, with a history that dates back more than 3,000 years. Many credit the wine’s signature leathery taste, as well as its bold red-fruit flavors, for its staying power. It’s a versatile wine that pairs splendidly with anything from pasta dishes like lasagna to flame-grilled ribeye steaks.
Our advice? Try Tempranillo with juicy, butter-basted ribeye. The balanced acidity of the wine will cleanse your palate of all the richness, while the aromas of cherry and tomato further enhance the earthiness of the steak.
There’s good wine for steak and then there’s exceptional wine for steak. Syrah (also known as Shiraz) would be the latter. Beloved for its strong mineral notes, concentrated fruitiness, and high tannin levels, this is a wine that’s unapologetically bold in flavor.
If you aren’t accustomed to a substantial, full-bodied sip, you may find the multi-layered texture of Syrah to be overpowering. But if you appreciate a deep richness or the stout flavors of blackberry, plum, or fig, we’re confident you’ll love its profound, elaborate taste.
Try pairing a bottle with a strip steak for a meal that’s hearty, toothsome, and absolutely mouthwatering.
If you aren’t captivated by the dark violet hue of Malbec, its superb semi-sweet flavor profile will likely do the trick. It’s a favorite amongst wine lovers who struggle with the bitterness caused by high tannins in alternatives like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Malbec is less acidic and has a lighter overall body, making it a more palatable wine to pair with steak for buyers who are new to drinking reds, or for those who simply prefer a slightly sweeter taste.
You can expect notes of vanilla, coffee, raspberry, dark cherries, and even sweet tobacco when sipping on Malbec, which will be followed by a subtle earthiness. The jammy tartness of this wine makes it an excellent accompaniment for a caramelized sirloin steak, balancing out its savory flavor and establishing a sense of balance throughout the dining experience.
Merlot is another top contender for the title of best red wine with steak. It’s ultra-smooth texture and blissful berry flavors make it a popular crowd pleaser. It also has fewer tannins than other red wines, which means no sour aftertaste or sharp burning sensation while you sip. If you’re looking for a refined blend that’s still down-to-earth enough to be enjoyed by novice wine drinkers, this is the right choice for you!
Pair your Merlot with fatty cuts like boneless ribeye if you want to witness a culinary match made in heaven. The delicate nuances of the wine gently offset the buttery richness of the meat, providing just enough acidity to refresh the palate and excite the taste buds before they’re coated in smoky and luxurious umami flavor once more.
Customers often ask us if they should pair red or white wine with steak. There’s a bit of a taboo around the concept of drinking white wine with red meat, but there’s always an exception. The whole point of pairing wine with beef is to find a harmonious duo that delights your senses. If that means having a glass of white wine, go for it!
Chardonnay is a fantastic wine to pair with steak. Crisp, zesty, dry — it’s capable of counteracting the intense creaminess of highly-marbled meat, refreshing your palate and providing that “first taste” sensation through to your very last bite. Try pairing it with filet mignon to make the mild flavors of this cut truly sing. You’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner!
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