16:31 PM

Six Things to Remember When Pairing Beef and Wine


Trying to decide what wine to serve? Don't panic! These six simple tips take the mystery out of Beef and wine pairings.

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Beef and wine are a classic match; the meaty, complex, rich flavor of Beef pairs well with the equally complex, savory, and rich quality of wine. But how do you decide what wine to serve? Here are six tips to help you pair your Beef selection with a great wine, and perhaps impress your friends and family!

1.The cut of Beef you choose DOES matter—Certain cuts of Beef like flank steak and chuck are often very flavorful and need a medium red like Merlot or Zinfandel. Cuts from the rib and loin—think tenderloin, strip steak, and prime rib—are best with more sophisticated, complex wines. A full red like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec is a good choice.

2.Yes, cooking method impacts wine selection—Gilled steak and Cabernet Sauvignon seem made for each other because the flame-seared flavors and crusty texture imparted by grilling are echoed by the toasty oak of the wine. But what about something like a stir-fry? Thai Beef salads and stir-fries pair well with a Riesling. Steak salads with greens and vegetables are terrific with a Sauvignon Blanc.

3.Don’t forget about the seasoning—Think of seasonings and spices as a bridge to wines. Sprinkling Beef with cracked black pepper works well with Syrah/Shiraz, which has a pepper-like flavor of its own. By comparison, hot peppers and fiery Beef dishes do best with a white wine like Chardonnay. A garlicky Beef dish pairs well with a dry rosé.

4.Marbling makes a difference—Marbling gives Beef richness, and the more marbling the Beef has, the denser and more concentrated the wine should be. A well-marbled piece of Beef should be paired with a wine that’s “muscular” enough to balance the richness.

5.Pair great with great, humble with humble—Try matching food and wine with the same “status.” Serve aged prime rib with a wine of commensurate greatness. Is pot roast on the menu? A juicy, humble wine feels just right.

6.Pair complex wines with simple preparations—Many of the greatest Bordeaux or California Cabernet Sauvignons are best enjoyed with a high-quality but simple dish, like a fine steak.

Got it? Then choose your cut, invite your friends, open a bottle, and enjoy!