What’s the Best Wine With Steak?

What’s the Best Wine With Steak?

A glass of your favorite red wine can complete any delicious steak meal. But if you want to bring out the complex and rich flavors in your meat, you may want to know what wine pairs best with your steak cut. 

Check out some of our helpful tips on pairing wine and steak to create a truly decadent meal for you and your friends or family. 

Steak and Wine Pairing

Red wine and steak are a harmonious union because of the tannins in the wine that pair well with red protein. Different red wines can bring out subtle textures and flavors when matched with the right type of cut. There are a few things to consider when pairing wine and steak, such as the way your meat is cooked, how fatty the cut is and whether or not you use a sauce with your meal. 

best wine with steak

Fat on the Steak

Fattier steaks, like ribeyes, pair well with a more robust wine. The high tannins cut through the fattiness and juices while complementing the natural flavors of the meat. Fruitier wines also pair well by balancing out the textures of a fattier steak. 

Rare vs. Charred 

How you cook the steak undoubtedly affects its taste. The best red wine pairing can bring out those rich and tender flavors in a rare steak or complement charred meat. The tannins in a newer malbec or cabernet sauvignon will often become more mellow when paired with a rare-cooked steak. Older vintage wines also pair well with rare meat and bring out a richer flavor. 

Charred steaks have a crunchier outer crust that almost looks burnt. Since they are grilled at a higher temperature, the outside often tastes bitter while the inside remains tender and juicy. For charred steaks, pairing it with a sweeter wine balances out the bitterness.

Sauce or No Sauce?

The richness of a sauce can change the type of wine you pair with your steak. A richer red wine sauce pairs well with a wine of similar boldness but higher caliber. A smoother and milder wine pairs well with a spicier sauce. For spicy sauces, avoid oaky wines or ones with high alcohol content. These flavors of wine will make each bite too spicy. 

The Best Wines to Pair With Steak

Regardless of how you cook and season a steak, the cut makes an enormous difference in flavor and juiciness. The right wine should have flavors that complement those tastes and create a harmonious union in your mouth. Here are the best wines to pair with various types of steak.

best wine with steak

Best Wine for Ribeye: Cabernet Sauvignon

As the name suggests, ribeye comes from the cow’s rib area. It is the juiciest and fattiest steak cut, containing richer flavors unlike other types of meat. A full-bodied cabernet sauvignon pairs very well with a ribeye steak because it is high in tannins. The intense notes help cut through the fattiness of the steak and balance out the meatiness. 

The fruity notes in a zinfandel also complement the robust flavors of the ribeye. Though it is somewhat less robust, it adds some sweetness to the juicy steak.

Best Wine for Filet Mignon: Pinot Noir

Filet mignon is a tender cut from the thicker part of the tenderloin. It contains the least amount of fat, giving this lean meat a delicate taste. It is often served with sauces to give it a bolder flavoring. However, a high-quality cut goes well with simple seasoning, and its delicate flavor can be enhanced with pinot noir. 

The pinot noir complements a filet mignon well because it has subtle oaky tones and a nice fruitiness that does not overpower the meat. It also is lower in alcohol content and higher in acidity, complementing the steak with a lighter taste. 

Best Wine for New York Strip: Cabernet Sauvignon 

New York strip is a versatile cut that pairs well with various types of wine. The meat balances texture and tenderness quite well. A younger cabernet sauvignon with higher tannins contrasts well with the more robust New York strip. Be sure to avoid pairing this cut with a wine with higher alcohol content as it may overshadow the meat’s flavor. 

If you want to serve your steak with a lighter wine, pair it with a pinot noir or even a rosé. A side salad can also add some freshness to the heavier meal. 

best wine with steak

Best Wine for Porterhouse: Syrah 

A porterhouse steak, also known as a T-bone steak, is from the short loin region of a cow. The porterhouse steak contains the T-shaped bone which separates the filet mignon and New York strip cuts, The loin area carries both filet mignon and New York strip cuts. A T-shaped bone separates the two cuts, making up the porterhouse. 

T-bone steaks pair well with medium-bodied wines like Syrah. The refined tannins and earthy notes of black fruits harmoniously unite the two different cuts. 

Final Thoughts

The right red wine can enhance the delicate and often robust flavors of a steak. We’ve laid out the various types of cuts and the best wines to pair with them. Nonetheless, the way you season a steak may affect the type of wine you want to drink with it. 

More flavorful sauces or seasonings may go better with a more robust wine, while a sweeter sauce can go with a fruitier or lighter wine with less alcohol content. A simple salt and pepper seasoning is the most versatile and matches well with almost any wine.

The sides you eat with your meat are important to consider as well. The most common sides for steak are potatoes, salad, or other vegetables. These can affect your palate and may be better with a lighter or more robust wine to bring these flavors together. However, the best way to figure out the best pairing for yourself is to experiment with diverse types of wine and see what you prefer. 

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