What wines go with steak? 10 Picks of Amazing Pairings - Wine Turtle

What wines go with steak? 10 Picks of Amazing Pairings

This post was updated on: December 1, 2018

What wines go with steak? 10 Picks of Amazing Pairings

What wines go with steak? 10 Picks of Amazing Pairings

Steak is always associated with red wine. While it is true that most stakes pair amazingly with reds, what wines go with steak actually?

Red is a generic term comprising a dozen varieties. You can choose from a sweeter to a drier one, from a lighter to a fuller body. Just as red wine, steak is a generic term comprising a variety of meat cuts. We can think of New York strip steak, prime rib, ribeye, sirloin, tartare, and a host of other meats when talking about steak.

It’s easy to understand each of these meats pairs well with a different type of wine. Putting together an exhaustive list is near impossible. That’s why I’ve put together this list of 10 picks of amazing pairings so you can choose the wine that works best with the type of steak you like.

Enjoy!

#1 Zinfandel

Zinfandel is perhaps the best wine to pair with steak. This flavorful full-body wine complements the equally strong flavors of steak and also the strong flavor of the seasoning typically accompanying this dish. This doesn’t mean, though, that Zinfandel goes with all types of steak.

The spicy notes of this wine pair wonderfully with the strong flavors of lean steak but the lower content of tannins make it less suitable to pair with heavily marbled cuts.

The high alcoholic content, on the other hand, and the medium-high acidity also give a bold texture to Zinfandel, which works wonders with steak marinates in spiced barbecue sauce.

The best meat cuts to pair with your Zinfandel are sirloin, prime rib, ribeye, tartare, and New York strip.

#2 Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium to full body wine, rich in both alcohol and tannins. So, if the Zinfandel above doesn’t pair well with heavily marbled steak, but you love that meat cut, the Cabernet Sauvignon might just be your best bet.

This deep red wine withstands the bold flavors of meat and matches perfectly with the natural juices of a rare steak.

For this wine, you’d better choose a well-seasoned, spiced steak which is high in fat, such as filet mignon, T-bine, porterhouse steak, ribeye, sirloin, or New York strip. All these meat cuts pair wonderfully with the refined flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon, such as black currant, pepper, mint, and oak.   

#3 Malbec

Going to Argentina, we find a splendid wine that makes good friends with the famous Argentinian steak. Malbec is, in fact, the most consumed red wine in Argentina, where locals pair it with the delicious traditional beef.

This versatile wine is rich in aromas and is characterized by a particular sapidity. Its tannic content goes well with stronger meat flavors and marbled cuts, such as sirloin and T-bone.

The nice thing is that Malbec also comes at an attractive price point. So, if you want to impress but don’t want to break the bank, Malbec is the way to go!

#4 Syrah

French Syrah, but also the Australian Shiraz, are two wines that pair wonderfully with steak. Both varietals showcase medium to full bodies and they are both versatile and food-friendly. These wines actually pair with a wide number of foods, not only with steak.

The dominant notes are fruity, with hints of blueberry, olives, and spicy overtones which complement the natural juices and boldness of red meat.

Then, a crisp acidity and tannin content are perfect to pair with marbled cuts, complementing peppery barbecues, smoked meat, and even the traditional rare steak. Ribeye and prime rib are perhaps your best bets, but you can also pair your Syrah with skirt steak, peppered flank, or New York strip steak.

#5 Barolo

Barolo is a noble Italian wine produced exclusively in the Piedmont region of the country. Its ethereal flavors and enhancing aromas make it a great choice for a garden party or barbecue gathering if you want to impress all your friends.

The silky texture of this wine shouldn’t be overwhelmed with greasy sauces. Instead, pair your Barolo with a juicy rare steak or with a grilled filet.  Tartare and raw veal prepared in the Italian way are two other meat cuts to pair with this wine.

If you’re more of a T-bone guy, however, Barolo might not be the best choice for you.

#6 Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the most delicate reds, and although it goes great with steak, it doesn’t pair with all types of meat.

This delicious wine is characterized by tasting notes ranging from sweet black cherry to raspberry blended with sweet aromas of vanilla, caramel, and clove. Obviously, the character of the wine is given by the terroir, but in broad lines, this beverage goes best with the leaner cuts.

You can see it paired with a juicy fillet steak, for example, or with a filet mignon. To add extra flavor to your dish, choose a Pinot Noir from Oregon which will impress you with its earthy truffle notes.  

#7 Sangiovese Rosé

Some meat cuts require the delicacy of a softer wine. And that’s where a good Sangiovese Rosé comes to save the day.

This wine has a slightly higher acidity and a light to medium body which pairs perfectly with leaner meats. Serve a Rosé of Sangiovese with sirloin tip side steak, top sirloin, loin, bottom round roast, or eye of round steak.

As a general rule, try to match the wine with the intensity of the dish, opting for a red Sangiovese if the meat is too flavorful.

#8 Montepulciano

Who said the steak is only beef and veal? There is excellent game mean cuts you can cook or grill and serve with a delicious wine. For instance, venison steak.

From all the wines you could choose, my favorite to go with the game is Montepulciano, the noble of the noblest.

This rich, full-body red wine goes wonderfully with fattier meat cuts and game, including sirloin, T-bone steak, New York strip steak, or venison steak. You can even pair it with wild boar or a smaller game like rabbit.

#9 Negroamaro

Okay, Negroamaro is a less famous wine. In fact, perhaps only a few enthusiasts know about this goodness produced in southern Italy. Yet, this wine pairs perfectly with fattier meat cuts, sauces, and grilled meat.

This interesting wine presents intense aromas of tobacco and coffee and has exciting flavors of blackberries.

Like all Italian wines, the Negroamaro impresses with its tenacity, while the flavor is pleasant and sweet, complementing well a sweet, tangy barbecue or a Mongolian beef dish.

#10 Lambrusco

Lambrusco is the last wine I recommend in this list but not for its importance. This splendid wine goes well with steak and will make you shine when hosting the next barbecue party or dinner with your friends.

This beverage has a light to medium body and is characterized by flavorful aromas of orange blossoms, mandarin, cherries, watermelon, and violets.

The fruity flavors of the wine and its freshness pair wonderfully with leaner meat cuts, such as loin and top sirloin, the eye of round steak, and bottom round roast, but also with barbecue sauce steak.

In the end, no matter what your choice is, remember to always pair the wine with the intensity of the dish to make sure the beverage complements your steak.

About the Author

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love 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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