Wine has been steak’s partner for so long. It provides a nice balance, especially with the mix of delicious vegetables. However, what wine goes with steak? Well, we are here to let you know.
Why is Wine Served with Steak?
Wine and steak are among the classic pairings in the fine dining setting. But why do most high-class restaurants serve these two combinations together?
The reason why wine is served with steak is that they balance out the flavors of each other. The acidity of the wine and the fat from the steak goes well together.
It also helps that wine has tannins which help the fats to break down and release much purer flavors from the beef. It lessens the number of fatty acids on the palate and makes the meat more tender to the taste.
The steak, on the other hand, helps with the astringency of the wine. It helps minimize the bitter flavors from the fermentation. You can elevate your fine dining experience to a new level through the blend of wine and steak.
However, how can we know the best wine to go with steak? Let’s dive deeper and get into the nitty-gritty of the steak and wines combo.
What are the Best Wines to go with Steak?
Although we can argue that wines are pleasurable, some are made better than others. This guide will tell you the right cuts and wines to pair up.
Red wines are the best type of wine to go with steaks. Most red wines have a higher amount of acid, making them a suitable steak option. They also have a drier and much bolder flavor compared to white wines.
Here are some red wines you should look out for:
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet is among one of the most accessible wine varieties in the world. Through its balance of acidity ad fruitiness, the wine is the perfect one for steak. It cuts through the fatty acids of the meat and turns to release its delicious umami.
Having a cabernet with steaks does not require any acquired tastes. It’s amongst the most popular and easy to introduce wine to most people. It can provide a nice balance between the fat cut of steak and the fruitiness flavor of the wine.
Fat cuts such as ribeye steak and New York Strips are one of the most recommended cuts for the cabernet. Whether the steak is seasoned with salt and pepper or marinated, the wine can cut through the flavors without much problem.
2. Pinot Noir
The next wine recommended is Pinot Noir. It has a lighter flavor profile than the cabernet, making it the perfect match for more delicate cuts. Pinot Noir also has a lower level of tannins but with higher acidity.
Filet mignon is the recommended pairing for Pinot Noir. It provides a mildly fatty cut while maintaining a good amount of meat.
When pairing filet mignon with Pinot Noir, ensure that the steak is lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Opting for a milder sauce and marinade can let the flavors of Pinot Noir shine through.
The Pinot Noir is also an excellent palate cleanser, especially with brisket cuts. It cleans your palate with every bite to get the pure flavors from the steak.
Zinfandel is among the sweeter varieties of red wine. It’s nowhere near white wine’s sweetness but is considered precious by red wine standards. The zinfandel is lighter on the palate and provides zesty notes.
With zinfandel, some of your best bets are a good slice of rump steak or some ribeye. It will provide a good mix of savory and tangy flavors that blends with the zinfandel wine. Since most ribeye and rump steak is seasoned and slow cooked, it gives bolder flavors from the marinade.
Avoid sweeter glazes such as brown sugar when choosing steak for this wine. It can easily overpower the sweetness of the wine and result in too much flavor.
The zesty note of Malbec is very popular with skirt steak and flat iron steak. The slightly fruity flavors of the wine can complement the coarse cuts of the steak. Malbec’s fruit notes and acidity make it a popular choice with a leaner cut of meat.
The wine is known for its deep aroma and rich red color. It almost appears violet due to its deep red hue.
With Malbec, having your meat seasoned generously or not should not be a problem. Its bold taste and fragrance can cut through easily with any steak cut.
Syrah or Shiraz can be trickier than the other wine on this list. Since the wine thrives on older age, you can have many flavors even if the Syrah has the same label.
This wine is perfect for fattier cuts such as wagyu and ribeye. It has more tannins that can break down the delicious marbled fat. Syrah’s variations can also have much more acidity, perfect for complementing fat.
To know which perfect Syrah wine is for you, you should look at where it came from. Those that are from Europe have higher acidity and more tangy flavors. However, those made within Australia and hotter climates tend to be lighter and fruity.
It can also help cleanse your palate as fats coat the tongue. It can block the natural flavors from your meal from being enjoyed.
Although last on the list, Merlot showcases many great qualities when paired with steak. It can work great with leaner cuts of meat such as flank steak.
Since Merlot is bolder and more decadent than other red wines, it’s also great for cooking steak. The wine has soft notes of chocolate and cedar, making it the perfect marinade for steak cuts.
As a complementary wine, Merlot has no problem with deeply seasoned cuts of meat. Its bold flavors can easily cut through the seasoned steak’s deep flavors.
What are the Effects of the Wine on the Steak?
Now that we know the right wines for your steak, what effects does it have on your steak? If you don’t have the idea, here are some benefits of having wine with your steak.
Softens the Meat
When wine is used in cooking or as a complementary drink, it can do the same. Wines soften the meat, making it more tender. This effect is more noticeable when the wine is used in cooking.
As stated, the mixt of wine and meat can remove the astringents and lead to a more tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Although subdued, this effect can also happen when drinking wine and eating steak.
Richer Flavor on the Meat
Tannins are the most critical substance in the blend of steak and wine. Other than the astringency that tannins bring, it also softens up the fats around the meat.
Through the softer fats, the aroma and flavors of the steak can shine through. This is also why red wine is a common ingredient when cooking steak.
The vibrant red color of the wine is due to anthocyanins. This substance is an excellent flavonoid that can enrich the steak. It can elevate the taste, but anthocyanins also have beneficial antioxidants.
Excellent Palate Cleanser
Palate cleanser is one of the most common reasons wine is served with steak. This benefit is very noticeable among lighter red wines. Taking a sip between taking a bite of your steak can restart your tongue.
You can get most of the delicate steak flavors without overwhelming your taste buds. The tannins from the wine can also remove the fatty acids from your tongue in between the bites.
How to Know What is the Best Wine for your Steak?
Now that you know the effects and the wines you can choose from, how can you know that it’s the best wine for your steak? Well, here are some things you should consider.
With most wines, the acidity levels can tell you a lot about their taste. When the wine is more acidic, it’s mostly suited to fatty cuts of steak. Wines with lower acid also go the same way with lean steak cuts.
Much like with many things in this guide, it’s connected with the tannins and astringency. If you want your steak cuts to be softer, having wine with higher acidity is the perfect match for you.
If no wine can suit your taste perfectly, mixing some can lead you to the perfect wine to partner with your steak.
Cut of the Meat
Although the acid is essential when choosing your wine, the cut of the meat makes the other half. You can find the best wine to pair it with based on the steak meat.
You can also go the other way around. If you already have the wine, you can choose your steak cut to pair with it.
We hope we answered the question: what wine goes with steak? Try some of the recommendations in your next wine and steak combo, and enjoy. Whether you have some Cabernet, Merlot, or Pinot Noir, there is a steak that can go along with it.