The Best Wine with Steak: Thinking Outside of the Box - Wine Turtle

The Best Wine with Steak: Thinking Outside of the Box

This post was updated on: July 1, 2020

best wine with steakIf your love for beef is so strong that you cannot live without your weekly steak or if you can’t just resist the juiciness of a medium rare fillet, then carry on reading because this post is exactly for you. Here you will find a good selection of the best wines to drink with steak, but contrarily to what you would normally find on the web, this time I intentionally decided to give you my suggestions not based on the cooking style or the particular meat cut. Indeed I am going to propose you different wines to match with your steak based on your preferences.

Obviously different cuts and preparations will all have a specific perfect match but, instead of looking at this, I would like to give you some advice that can help you to choose the perfect wine for your taste. Who said that only big red wines should be served with a steak? Who said sparkling wine lovers can’t have their favorite wine with their steak?

Even though it is important to follow some food and wine matching rules, to make sure that both can reach the maximum expression of their gustatory value, however we should never forget to adapt them to our taste, because wine (and food, of course) should first of all be a pleasure.

If the fact that certain marriages are more successful than others is beyond dispute, the criteria of subjectivity in the choice of matching is equally important to fully enjoy the experience.

Let’s start from the most unusual match… Champagne!

For Champagne fans, those that always need a bit of a fizzy feeling in their mouth when drinking wine, or simply those who really want to drink a special sparkling wine on a special occasion, matching their favorite nectar to a steak is not an easy task.

Most experts or sommeliers will stick up their nose to this food and wine match. They would surely say that the structure of elegant Champagne or the light body of a New World sparkling cannot stand in front of a succulent piece of grilled beef. They may be right, but there are times in life when you need to be fearless and try even the most unusual things.

And you may even be surprised…

My sparkling suggestion for steak: Berlucchi Franciacorta Rose, Italy

Berlucchi FranciacortaAbout the wine: This is a wine that can prove that not all excellent sparkling wines come from Champagne and that, yes, you can match sparkling wines with steak. This harmonious blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay is produced with classic method in the area of Franciacorta, in Lombardia, in a natural amphitheatre overlooking the Iseo lake which produces a microclimate particularly favorable to the production of bubbles. The resulting wine shows an elegant bouquet of berries and ripe fruit, well mixed with subtle nuances of yeast and bread crust. The mouth is fine and elegant, with good body and good acidity which can surely support a lean piece of slowly grilled beef.

If you can’t drink red wine…

It’s common knowledge that red wine is a perfect match for red meats and as a plus it has a lot of beneficial effects on health. But if you are one of those people that cannot drink or just don’t like red wine (for any inexplicable reason!), do not worry too much because indeed you can match white wine with steak and this match can actually work pretty well!

And if most white wines may lack of intensity when drunk with a steak, this unusual pairing may be more appropriate depending on the steak dressing or side, for example, if your steak is marinated with a white wine sauce and served with spring vegetables and may even be appreciated by the most traditional sommelier if you are having a steak tartare.

The best choice would certainly be for a white wine that has a round body, for example an oaked Chardonnay or a Viognier.

My white wine suggestion for steak is: Cristom Viognier 2013, Oregon

Cristom Viognier 2013About the wine: Balance is the most relevant word to describe this wine that has exotic fruit in the nose to then surprise the drinker with a round and velvety feel in the mouth and a lively acidity. Long and well structured.

If you are up for pink…

Or if you had enough of the hegemony of red wines with steak but are not fully convinced about the match with a white wine, the amazing wine world can offer you an interesting compromise: rose’ wine will be your choice. And trust me you won’t be disappointed!

My pink wine suggestion for steak is: Las Rocas Rose 2013, Spain

Las Rocas Rose 2013About the wine: This dark colored pink wine is based on 100% Garnacha from Spain. It has a medium body, a fantastic fruit spectrum and a lively crispness. Now imagine being in the sun in a big garden having good time during a Sunday BBQ with friends; can you think about a better wine to match with your steak than this juicy and refreshing rosé?

The most traditional match

And finally let’s come to what it’s considered the most conventional and effective wine match for steak: red wine. If you are either a traditionalist who doesn’t like to experiment too much when it comes to wine or if you love to have `your steak rare and your wine bold and powerful`, there is plenty of choice for you! This time I chose something that is a real classic in Tuscany: Sangiovese.

My red wine suggestion for steak is: Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo 2011, Italy

Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo 2011About the wine: A great wine and a real treat for you and your steak, this wine comes from the land of the Fiorentina steak and it’s its most traditional match. With just a little touch of Cabernet Sauvignon (5%) it is produced from over 30 years old vines of the Vigna del Sorbo on galestro soil. It is powerful, full bodied, rich in ripe dark fruit and it’s complex with layers of smokiness, robust tannins and a long aftertaste. A feast or the senses especially if you are having a rib eye, T-bone or Fiorentina!

If you like it softer…

Even among red wine lover, there are differences in taste and not everyone appreciates those big and full bodied reds. Plus if your steak cut is quite lean and delicate, for example if you are having a sirloin, or a thin-sliced prime rib then you may not need high tannins and you may consider going for a softer and smoother kind of red like a Pinot Noir.

My suggestion for a Pinot Noir for your steak is: Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2012

2012 Joseph Jewell Russian RiverAbout the wine: This wine is the result of a blend of 3 different vineyards. It has charming wild roses on the nose, cherries and vanilla. Its acidity is balanced by a good texture. There are hints of earthiness and a long lingering fruity aftertaste

My final suggestion…

Once said all this, you may have understood that, although there are rules that may be useful to match wine and food, sometimes we should try to escape these fixed ideas in order to follow personal tastes.

Trying different matches can bring an awful lot of delicious surprises, so always experiment and let me know your results.

About the Author

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love of wine and interest in anything related to it ever since he was a little kid. Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it and has been addicted ever since. Having traveled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa and tasted a large selection of their wines, it is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here and take you along on the journey.

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