Everyone knows that a good steak dinner is best accompanied by a good red wine, only how does one make the right selection? Of course we could simply go by the one we most enjoy, but a lot depends on the cut and the way the meat is cooked.
According to Fiona Beckett, food critic, there are a few wines that are staple steak partners. Malbec, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, Shiraz/Syrah and Syrah blends with grenache and Mourvedre. Lastly, ’super Tuscans’, that is red wines from Tuscany are also very good.
So, now we have the wine list, lets look at a few things in order to make the best wine pairing for specific steak dishes:
Rare steaks dampen the sensation of tannins in wines, so serving a rare steak with young wine will make it taste more mellow.
Fatter steaks demand more robust wines. Rhone reds or Syrahs are well suited to ribeye steaks. Leaner fillet steaks are better with a pinot noir.
The more charred a steak is the more ripeness it needs in the wine in order to balance the bitterness in the steak. Cabernets from Coonawarra or Napa Valley or Stellenbosch are such prime candidates.
Sauces accompanying your favourite steak can be very tricky. Rich red wine sauces need wines that can stand up to them, like a Malbec or a good quality Bordeaux. On the other hand, if you are making a peppercorn sauce you don’t want a wine that is too high in alcohol because it will make the taste too spicy. For such occasions, a ripe Rhone is more appropriate. With a bernaise sauce a pinot is a good match. If you want to be adventurous you could also try it with a rich white wine like a full bodied Chardonnay!
If you have been saving an older red wine in your cellar for a special occasion, then hold back on the sauces and serve the wine with the steak’s natural juices. And one last tip: keep in mind that very old vintage wine usually pairs better with the steak medium rare rather than rare.