Expert Guide to the Best Wine With Steak Pairings
Ready to learn how pairing the best wine with steak can take your dining experience to the next level?
When it comes to palate-pleasing culinary combinations, wine and steak are a hard team to beat. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion at your favorite steakhouse or cooking yourself a ribeye on a Tuesday night, indulging is all the better when you’ve found the best wine to pair with steak.
Choosing the best wine with steak isn’t as simple as choosing between red or white. So which wines are best with which cuts of steak? Read on for steak and wine pairing suggestions that will make you look and feel like an expert the next time you’re enjoying a five-star steakhouse dinner.
Jump to Section
- What Wine Goes With Steak?
- What Wine Goes Best With Filet Mignon?
- What Wine Goes Best With Porterhouse Steaks?
- What Wine Goes Best With a New York Strip?
- What Wine Goes Best With Ribeye Steaks?
What Wine Goes With Steak?
When considering what wine goes with steak, the simple wisdom of “red wine with red meat” certainly works, but a little more attention to detail will ensure you pair the best wine with steak.
Remember to consider the entire dish, not just the meat, when choosing the best red wine to pair with steak. A steak’s cut, seasoning and degree of doneness can change its pairing options. Outside of learning the basics in a virtual wine tasting, here are a few things to consider when choosing the best wine to pair with steak:
Fattiness: Consider the cut when choosing the best red wine with steak. Fattier cuts pair better with full-bodied wines. High acidity is also nice to pair with a fatty cut of steak, as it helps counterbalance the richer, savory flavors. The leaner your steak, the lighter your wine selection should be.
Seasoning: The best wine with steak that's only been seasoned with salt and pepper can vary. Steaks flavored with sweet ingredients should be accompanied by a drier wine. Conversely, heavily seasoned or spiced steaks should be paired with a more light, sweet and fruity wine.
Degree of doneness: A rare steak will lessen the sensation of tannins in any accompanying wine. For instance, it will make a young cabernet sauvignon or malbec taste more mellow. On the other hand, a well-done steak has enhanced bitter notes, so you’ll want more ripeness and sweetness when choosing the best wine with steak.
A Note on Red Wines
According to Forbes, red wine pairs nicely with red meat due to the harmonious combination of red wine tannins and red meat protein. The protein and fat in beef binds the tannins and smooths even the driest wines. The goal when choosing the best wine with steak is to enhance the flavor and aroma between the two extremes.
A Note on White Wines
Don’t write off white wine with steak, however; this is still a food and wine pairing that works. While reds are usually considered to be the best wines with steak, sommelier Mariette Bolitiski told Eater that the acid in white wine also cuts beautifully through rich, fatty cuts of beef. Since whites are generally served best chilled, they provide a great contrast to a hot sizzling steak.
What Wine Goes Best With Filet Mignon?
When choosing the best type of wine with steak, filet is sure to be top of your list. Filet mignon is a tender, melt-in-your-mouth cut that comes from the middle of the tenderloin. Because filet mignon has a more delicate, refined flavor, look for a light pinot noir that isn’t going to overwhelm the cut.
Pinot noirs have a fruitiness about them that complements the subtle flavor of the meat without being overpowering. An Argentinian malbec is also an excellent choice for pairing with filet mignon. The malbec's velvety tannins are a good match to the texture and flavor of the filet.
Best wine with filet mignon: Pinot noir
What Wine Goes Best With Porterhouse Steaks?
Porterhouse steaks contain both filet mignon and New York strip cuts separated by a T-shaped bone. This steak tends to pair well with medium-bodied red wines. A syrah is an excellent choice because of the refined tannins and notes of hearty black fruits.
If you plan on enjoying your porterhouse with a rich sauce such as béarnaise, a full-bodied, high-tannin red, such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot, are also good choices as the sauce will help balance out the intensity of the wine's mouthfeel.
Best wine with porterhouse: Syrah
What Wine Goes Best With a New York Strip?
Another popular cut for pairing the best wine with steak, New York strip boasts a robust, steaky flavor, a tight grain and a medium tenderness. The perfect wine for a New York strip is one with a good balance of acidity to cut through its substantial marbling and complement the flavors of the beef.
A cabernet sauvignon is a common wine pairing for New York strip steaks, as its juicy fruity notes provide a harmonious contrast to the cut. The tannins also help balance out the fattiness that lingers on the palate.
Best wine with New York strip: Cabernet sauvignon
What Wine Goes Best With Ribeye Steaks?
Ribeye is the juiciest, most flavorful cut of steak. As the name implies, it comes from the rib region. Generally, ribeyes pair well with full-bodied, unabashedly intense wines. Many chefs and sommeliers recommend pairing a California zinfandel with ribeye for one of the best wine with steak pairings.
Zinfandel’s characteristically bold spiciness and high acidity make it a fitting match for a ribeye. A cabernet sauvignon is another great choice, as the high tannins help cut through the juiciness and fattiness of the steak.
Best wine with ribeye: Zinfandel
Now that you have a better idea of how to pair the best wine with steak, it’s time to try your hand at different combinations and preparation methods. Enjoying fine dining is about finding your personal preferences and favorite flavor profiles. The only way to discover the best wine to pair with steak is to experiment!
For even more insight into pairing the best wine with steak, check out other gourmet experiences happening on Cozymeal.