Jeans and t-shirts, peanut butter and jelly, burger & fries, these are some of the many iconic pairings imprinted into our collective consciousness. However, one pairing seems to beat them all – wine and steaks!
Whether you are celebrating an anniversary, job promotion, or some other special occasion, indulging in a premium piece of steak is an excellent choice. Furthermore, pairing it with great wine can turn your meal into an unforgettable experience.
The only issue here is how to choose the right wine.
Well, fortunately for you, you don’t have to be an experienced wine aficionado or a sommelier to make the right call. What you need to do is stay with us for a while, and you will learn how to pair any piece of steak with the right wine.
About the Steaks
Two main factors determine how to make the pairing. Those are the seasoning and the fattiness.
Steak that has been flavored with just peeper and salt can be paired with almost any given wine. But if the steak has been flavored with sweet ingredients, it shouldn’t be paired with sweet wine. Then there are heavily seasoned steaks that should not be paired with spicy and robust wines. Instead, it is best to go with light and fruity wine.
Any fatty steak goes nicely with wine featuring high acidity. Also, any less robust wine can accompany a fatty steak. Ideally, when it comes to fatty steak, the wine should be both robust and have high acidity.
Top Wines with Steak
First and most important – don’t just jump into it before you learn the basics.
White wine is served with fish or chicken. On the other hand, it is the red wine that accompanies red meat such as steak. Then there are certain types of meat such as pork that can be paired with any kind of wine.
So, our point is, before you start breaking the rules, you need to learn them.
In any case, here is a list of wine styles that can go along perfectly with steaks.
Can’t make a mistake with cabernet, which is also known as the “people pleaser.” Cabernets are characterized by high acidity, which can cut through the umami and fatty of the steak. That gives you certain tanginess that’s amazing with a premium steak.
If you like sweeter wines, then Zinfandel should be your first pick. Just don’t combine it with steaks with sweet seasoning- for example, steaks with a brown sugar glaze. Instead, pair it with steaks that have a zesty and spicy flavor. Plus, clear your palate in between bites.
For the same reasons Malbec can be a wonderfully bold pairing cheese pairing, Malbec plays perfectly with flank steak or top sirloin. It is a wine featuring bold scent and fruity flavor. Most people avoid combining it with fattier cuts because it can overwhelm the flavor of the steak.
If you plan to cook or order a steak with some extra fat on it, like ribeye, Syrah is the perfect wine to go with it. Steaks like ribeye cuts can be matched only with a robust wine. Keep in mind that sometimes Syrah is also sold as Shiraz. The typical Syrah/Shiraz is high in acidity, as well as in tannin. At least when it comes from France.
We’ve already explained why that matters when it comes to steak pairing.
On the other hand, Syrah/Shiraz from Australia tends to feel somewhat softer. Spanish Syrah/Shiraz sits somewhere in between in terms of tannins and acidity. So again, it comes to your preferences and habits.
Pairing your wine
Now you know the basics. You know which types of wine can accompany which stakes. But keep in mind that this is a large map of all things steak and wine, and not a blueprint written in stone.
Remember, fine dining is all about enjoying yourself and not impressing wine snobs. Use our guides to navigate this tasty world, but be free to experiment with certain red wines we haven’t mentioned above.
Heck, you can even try some white wine with your prime steak. You never know how that will turn out until you give it a shot. But above all, enjoy the process as much as possible. Everything is just a sideshow in your flavor story.