Rules for Steak and Wine Pairing

Paring Wine and Steak can be a bit trickier than you might think. Most people will automatically grab the big Napa Cabernet with any Steak off the grill and that can be a big mistake. What factors affect your wine pairing? How do you select the best wine with steak?

How you prepare your steak or meat can drastically change what kind of wine you should use. Grilling or Broiling vs. Braising or Stews change the game.

While all Red Wine is aged in oak, some are aged in neutral oak and gives no real oak characteristics to the wine. Wines ages in non-neutral oak will mimic the characteristics of grilling, broiling or roasting which makes them better for meats prepared that way. If you’re braising, boiling or making some kind of stew, you want softer wines because the meat is softer, gentler and and not as intense in flavor.

The Cut of Meat
The cut of meat you choose also affects the wine you pair. The rule of thumb to follow is the fattier the meat, the bigger the wine, the leaner the meat the medium-bodied you want.

Ribeyes – Amarone, Shiraz, Napa Cabernets
Filet Mignon – Red Burgundy, Russian River Pinot, Merlot-Based Bordeaux, Barbera

Sauces and Spices
If the meat or steak has a sauce or heavy spice, you need to consider which flavor is more dominant: the sauce/spice or the meat and pair with that.  Intense spice or sauce, you want robust wines and the opposite is true.

Safety wines to go with a wide range of cuts are Merlot, Oak-Aged Barbera,and Cotes Du Rhone.

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