Making the right wine pairing can be the difference between simply enjoying a great meal and creating a wonderful dining experience that is totally unforgettable. Certain types of grape simply lend themselves better to enhancing the flavour of different foods.
In order to create a culinary experience where both the wine and the food consumed are enjoyed to the fullest, you need to gift a wine that is the perfect match. Steak is one meal in particular that can be greatly affected by the wine it is served with.
Although it can be easy to rely on a few established rules, really getting into the details will allow you to elevate your dining to the next level. Here are the six best wines for steak dishes:
1. Best wines with steak ribeye
Due to the fact that ribeye is about the juiciest cut of steak you can get your hands on, you need something with high tannins to help cut through all that delicious juiciness and fattiness. For this reason, the natural choice is a Cabernet Sauvignon.
A good Cab Sav will be able to hold its own against the meat and can even stand up against bold seasoning. If you’re looking for something a little different than the standard Cabernet Sauvignon, the spiciness of a Zinfandel is another good choice. Between its spice and fruitiness, you can trust it to provide a nice contrast to ribeye’s strong meaty flavour.
2. Best wines with filet mignon
A tender, delicate, and much beloved cut of meat, filet mignon is the opposite of ribeye in terms of its fat content. For this reason, you’ll often see cuts of filet mignon served with a sauce or strong accompaniment. In this case, you’ll have to take the other flavours into consideration when selecting the right wine.
On the other hand, if starting off with a simply seasoned cut of meat, Pinot Noir is a nice choice thanks to its light fruitiness and subtle oak tasting notes. Alternatively, if eating filet mignon with a rich, heavy sauce, Chardonnay can actually serve as a nice counterpoint thanks to its strong oakiness.
3. Best wines with New York strip
One of the most versatile cuts of meat out there, a New York strip is loved for its rich, beefy flavour and medium tenderness. Here is another instance when you’re likely to be presented with Cabernet Sauvignon as the natural pairing choice, but again, it a good idea to consider the meal as a whole and remember to think about the other components when selecting a wine. If you’re eating your New York strip heavily seasoned, an aged Bordeaux could be the perfect complement to appear alongside a rich, spicy dish. Merlot and Zinfandel are also good wines to serve with a steak of bolder flavour.
4. Best wines with porterhouse steak
A porterhouse steak, or T-bone as they are also known, is essentially a filet mignon and New York strip combined into one and separated by the namesake t-shaped bone. With these large cuts of meat, you’re likely going to want something of medium-body that has more refined tannins. A Syrah offers all of this and also contains notes of black fruit that go very well this type of steak. Alternatively, if you’re serving your porterhouse with a rich sauce, you want to serve a wine of fuller-body and higher in tannins. This is when a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot is probably your best bet.
5. Best wines with flank steak
Generally speaking, if you decide to go for budget-friendly skirt or flank steaks, the cut doesn’t matter as much as the overall dish. You are probably best advised to simply follow your preferences and to opt for a medium- to full-bodied red when you’re not sure. Always account for any sauces or strongly flavoured side dishes that will also be on the plate and aim to pick something will complement some aspect of all of them. For wines that are a little more interesting, and might even offer a better value, look for Cabernet blends (sometimes called Bordeaux-style blends) from less-known regions. Blended wines tend to be more forgiving and will likely pair well with any steak.
6. Best wines with any steak
At the end of the day, finding the perfect wine and steak pairing is a lifelong journey that you can enjoy every moment of. Don’t be discouraged if a pairing doesn’t turn out quite as well as you expected. Simply make note of what you were disappointed by and try to correct it in the future. Ultimately, wine and steak just about always make for a pleasant dining experience, so enjoy the process of discovery and learning exactly what works best for you.