The Best Red Wines to Pair with Steak

What are the best red wines to pair with steak?

Nothing is quite like going out to eat or having someone special over to enjoy a nice steak. The energy and time that goes into a nice meal with steak is often something that people recall any time they need to think back on a fond memory. 

We have all had those steaks that we will never forget and will always use as the gold standard going forward. 

As important as it is to craft the perfect steak, there is one critical factor you miss out on if all you think of is the steak. 

That factor is creating a harmonious flavor that both highlights the steak and brings its true taste to the surface. There is really no better way to do that than with a perfect glass of wine.

Why does steak and wine go well together?

Before we dive into the importance of a good steak and how to approach your wine selection process, we first need to understand why wine pairs best with steak. 

Everybody knows that steak and wine pair together, but not everybody realizes that there are reasons other than initial flavor at play when you take a bite or drink. 

When you are eating a great steak with a great wine, there is an internal balance being created in your mouth. As the tones of the steak hit your tongue, your taste buds recall that last sip of wine that was a completely different flavor experience. 

The opposite flavors that exist in a great wine and great steak work in an unusual harmony to create a meal experience that is hard to describe with words.

The importance of a good steak

While you could be the biggest wine fan on the planet, you won’t enjoy it if the steak itself is not up to par. 

A steak that doesn’t have the right amount of fat or the right seasoning can turn you off from wanting to finish it, let alone enjoy it with a perfectly complementing wine. A steak with higher fat levels will need a lighter wine to make sure the flavors do not clash in a negative way.

You will also want to make sure that your steak is seasoned to help enhance your preference in wine. A simple yet effective steak seasoned with traditional salt and pepper will be able to taste great with just about any wine. 

If you reach for your favorite wine with a steak covered in excessive seasoning, you will likely be disappointed again as the flavors do not pair well together.

Best wine and steak pairings

What wine pairs best with filet mignon?

The filet mignon is a notoriously difficult cut of steak to make taste great as it has a flavor that takes some real work to unlock. 

Filet mignon comes from an area where there is not much fat and means that there is a flavor characteristic that is more tender and prone to overcompensating with added sauces and seasoning. 

While there are many ways to create your perfect cut, many believe that the best filet mignon is one that is kept simple. When enjoying a filet mignon with a conservative cooking style, you will likely want to try a wine that offers a lightness that does not come in and obliterate the flavors created by the meat. 

This means that the natural choice is a fresh pinot noir, as the wine’s fruitfulness will not make so much of an impact to take away from the naturally presented steak. 

For many people, a filet mignon is best enjoyed with a lighter sauce to bring out more flavor in the meat itself. If you are incorporating a sauce, you will want to look to a chardonnay or merlot that will really help to keep the boldness contained between the wine and the meat.

What wine pairs best with ribeye?

When it comes to flavor and a cut that embodies the word juicy, the ribeye is what comes to mind for many. The ribeye is a cut from the rib of a cow that comes with the signature bone attached to it for the cowboy ribeye. Other variants come without the bone for serving purposes. 

Something to keep in mind when pairing wine with this cut of steak is that it has a higher fat content than many other cuts and will need a wine that complements that base flavor. What would really make a cut of ribeye pop is something like a Zinfandel, that has some fruitiness to contrast the fat in the ribeye in an exciting way.

When you are bringing more flair into the steak itself with added seasoning, try to reach for a Bordeaux or Merlot to help balance out the newly added flavor.

What wine pairs best with New York strip steak?

Many people have their first experience with steak through a New York Strip as it is a very versatile cut packed with that rich beef flavor and the sense of tenderness that is commonly associated with steak. 

The cut comes from the short loin of a cow and lends itself well to having some added flavor that would otherwise ruin other cuts of steak. 

If you ask most wine and steak enthusiasts, they will say that the right Cabernet Sauvignon will make a New York Strip really come to life. This wine pairing almost seems made for the strip as it provides a complement to the fat and rich flavors of the meat itself. 

With many people adding some fun sauces and flavors to their strips, you will want to find a wine that helps to balance the new additions in a way that enhanced the entire dining experience.

What wine pairs best with porterhouse steak?

For many people, the porterhouse steak cut is one of the best options as you can get a mix of flavors and meat that is otherwise hard to find. Also known as the T-bone steak, this cut includes a cut of filet and strip that are connected together by the bone between them. 

With its mix of meats and textures, you want to find a wine that complements both meat profiles without harming the other. 

To reach that middle ground with a conservatively prepared steak, try something like a syrah to help keep both portions of meat tasting great without adding too much of an aggressive flavor. 

Since many people like to add some additional flavors to their porterhouse cut, we can also recommend that you try the classic pairings of a merlot or cabernet sauvignon that are always there to please.

Experiment with different wines and cuts

Who cares if you prefer a merlot over a cabernet with a certain cut of steak if it is what tastes best for you? Experiment with different cuts of meat, and you will eventually find that harmonious pairing of meat and wine that will stay with you forever. 

If you’re just getting started with wine pairing, then we say your best bet is to keep it simple with a fattier piece of meat and a red wine. From there, follow your taste buds to find the exact pairing that speaks to you.

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