What says fine dining better than a perfect wine and steak pairing? Drinking your favorite drink with your favorite steak is always a good choice that is often more than enough for an enjoyable meal. But if you want to know how the professionals pair meat and wine together, then keep on reading to learn the most important rules in terms of body, flavor profile, and acidity.
#1 Red versus White
The general rule is that white wine pairs best with white meat, while red wine is excellent for red meats. The tannins in red wine bind with the red meat protein, making the steak go down smoothly.
There are exceptions to this rule, and chefs love to break them for some refreshing combinations. If red is not your favorite, go for a full-bodied oaked white wine like Chardonnay or Muscat.
#2 Light-bodied versus Full-bodied
The cut of your steak will influence the amount of alcohol you want in your red wine. For a lean cut like top round steak, sirloin, or filet mignon, you want to opt for a light or medium-bodied wine. Some great choices include Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.
On the other hand, if you prefer a fatty cut, then go for a full-bodied red like Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Bordeaux.
#3 High-tannins versus Low-tannins
Similarly to the body of the wine, the amount of tannins is determined by the steak’s cut. For leaner cuts, you want a red that will not overpower the meat. As for fatty and marbled cuts, rich wine full of tannins is recommended to balance out the fat.
You can take into account the preparation of the meat as well: well-done goes well with low-tannins reds, while rare pairs better with high-tannins wines.
#4 Spicy versus Fruity
The rule of thumb to follow when pairing flavors is: opposites attract. Pair a sweet sauce or a brown glazed steak with a spicy glass of wine with hints of clove, cinnamon, and pepper. In case your steak is charred or heavily seasoned, then a fruity wine will balance out the umami flavor perfectly.
Regardless of the flavor profile, make sure to choose an acidic wine that cuts through the fat and cleanses the palette.
Our Top Two Recommendations
If all this information is a little overwhelming and you just want to find a good wine to serve at dinner, we recommend buying Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pinot Noir is a light or medium-bodied red with high acidity, which combines perfectly with a lean cut. This wine has an interesting mix of earthy and fruity flavors, like cherry, raspberry, and mushroom. Whether you pair it with a sweet or spicy steak, Pinot Noir will accompany your meal beautifully.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine that can pair up nicely with fatty cuts, and its complex flavor profile is highlighted by the proteins in the steak. This delicious red wine has medium tannins, medium acidity, and a variety of fruity and spicy flavors, making it quite versatile.