Red wine has always been the classic beverage to enjoy with a nice steak dinner. Wine experts say red wine pairs well with red meat, while white wine pairs well with white meat, like chicken or fish. While we typically enjoy a good beer with our beef, we wanted to explore wine pairings with beef as well.
A molecule found in red wine called tannins, which come from grape skins, seeds and stems, softens the fat in the meat, giving you a bolder (and yummier) taste of beef! In turn, the meat’s fattiness cuts through the wine’s dryness, creating a unique taste on your tongue. The fact that they are opposites also contributes to why we use red wine in our beef recipes.
The key to pairing wine and beef is choosing a wine that won’t overpower the flavor of your beef but compliments it nicely. Leaner cuts pair better with a lighter and juicier wine. Fattier cuts complement the rich, deep flavors a drier wine can bring.
Dig into these classic pairings so you can show off at your next dinner gathering!
Filet Mignon & Pinot Noir
Filet mignon is known for being incredibly lean and tender, so a lighter red wine like Pinot Noir will pair nicely with it. Lighter in body and easy to drink, Pinot Noir is an excellent entry into red wine drinking if you’re a novice with reds. We recommend light seasoning to let the filet mignon shine. If you prepare your meat with a heartier sauce, pair it with a richer wine like a Merlot. A drier wine, Melot can be a little fruitier than a cabernet, with notes of berries and overtones of earthy flavors like vanilla, clove, and mocha.
New York Steak & Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with a New York steak due to its dark fruitiness and oak notes. The fruitiness of the wine will complement the tender, flavorful qualities of a New York steak, which is a beefier-tasting piece of meat. Cabernet Sauvignon is a bold-tasting wine with high acidity, robust tannins, and a whole-mouth feel, and it is rich in dark fruit like cherry, blackberry, and blackcurrant with notes of tobacco and vanilla.
Skirt Steak & Cabernet Franc
Skirt steak comes from one of the beef’s more flavorful and fattier parts. Cabernet Franc, a medium-bodied wine often blended with other varietals in a Bordeaux-style wine, is of medium acidity and leaves raspberry, blackberry, and bell pepper notes. It would be an excellent wine to pair with it. If you’re looking for more of a sweet, fruity, or smoky flavor.
Beef Stew & Cabernet Sauvignon
A hearty beef stew filled with potatoes and carrots is typically a crowd-pleaser, and we love to serve up a big beef stew after a long day on the ranch. Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with the richness of beef stew, once again for its rich, dry flavor. Try our Old-Fashioned Beef Stew recipe!
The pairings of wine can also depend on how you season your steak or any sauces you might incorporate. The richer the seasoning or sauce, the bolder the wine should be!
And let’s not forget dessert!
Now that your tummy is full of ranch-fresh beef and you have a nice red wine glow, let’s talk dessert.
Since red wines are bitter, we like chocolate paired with a nice port for after dinner. With truffles, we like a ruby port, so called because it is fortified and aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve its rich red color and fruity taste, with Ashley Bordeaux chocolates or non-liquor-filled truffles from the Chocolate Shoppe. If you’re a dark chocolate fan, go for a tawny port, especially if you add nuts and dried fruit. Tawny port is a nutty-flavored sweet wine made from red grapes aged in wooden barrels, giving it a golden-brown color. A good rule of thumb for wine with dessert (yes, please!) is to choose a wine that is sweeter than the dessert.
Whether you’re enjoying your meal with a $7 bottle or a $40 bottle of red, we hope you can try these pairings for your next Sunday night dinner or a nice meal at home. Shop for a variety of beef cuts and chocolates in our online store!