Steak is the ideal foil for a good red but is there a perfect match? You could simply say the one you most enjoy but it also depends on the cut and the way you cook it.
- The rarer a steak is the more it will lessen the sensation of tannin in any accompanying wine. So if you have a young or comparatively young cabernet sauvignon or Malbec, for instance, a rare steak will make it taste mellower
- The fattier a steak is the more robust a wine it needs. Rhône reds or other syrah or GSM (grenache/syrah/mourvèdre) blends are perfectly suited to ribeye steaks while a leaner fillet steak pairs better with a pinot noir.
- The more charred (and therefore bitter) a steak is the more ripeness/sweetness you want in your wine. A Coonawarra or Napa Valley cabernet for example or a Stellenbosch cabernet sauvignon.
- Sauces make a difference. A rich red wine sauce like my Essential Steak Sauce will need a wine that can stand up to it like a Malbec or a good quality red Bordeaux. (If you’re making the sauce yourself drink a wine of slightly better quality than you used to make the sauce)
With a peppercorn sauce you don’t want a wine that’s too oaky and/or high in alcohol or it may make each mouthful too spicy. A ripe Rhône or Languedoc red such as a Minervois should work well… With a béarnaise sauce a pinot again is a good match or you could even drink a rich white like a Meursault or other full-bodied chardonnay. With an Argentine chimichurri sauce a Malbec is the obvious go to.
- If you’re serving an older red ease back on the saucing and serve the wine with its natural juices. If it’s a very old vintage you might even want to serve the steak medium-rare.
My top 5 wines for steak
- Malbec (especially Argentinian Malbec)
- Cabernet sauvignon
- Shiraz/syrah and syrah blends e.g. with grenache and mourvèdre
- ‘Super Tuscans’ and other modern Tuscan reds