steak and glass of red wine

A luxury steak dinner simply isn't complete without a quality wine.

However, selecting the perfect steak and wine pairing can be overwhelming with so many different options. For example, you have to account for your own taste preferences, the type of steak you choose, and how you plan to cook it.

This guide will give you all the answers you need to select the best steak and wine pairing.

General Rules of Steak and Wine Pairing

Before we dive into each wine, there are a few basic rules to help guide your decision.

First, red wines tend to pair better with steaks than white wines. This is mainly because red wines tend to have higher tannins than white wines, which helps release the steak's flavor by dissolving the fat. However, there are some exceptions. For example, chardonnays also have relatively high tannins.

In addition to choosing a wine with high tannins, choosing one with a slightly higher alcohol concentration will also add to the bold flavor. For example, zinfandel red wines are known for being bold and have a slightly higher alcohol concentration level of about 14 to 17 percent ABV.

However, if you have a lighter steak, like a filet, you can generally go with a more fruity wine with a slightly lighter body.

Best Wines to Pair With Steak

Now that you know some of the basic rules, here are a few recommendations to help you select a great wine and steak pairing. 

Zinfandel

Zinfandels pair well with steak as they contain a relatively high alcohol concentration (between 14 and 17 percent) and moderate tannins. This gives them a bold taste to match any fatty steak such as a T-bone or ribeye. Nonetheless, they are also relatively sweet, making them a great match for steaks cooked in spicy seasoning. 

Malbec

Malbec is another famous steak and red wine pairing. It has a rich, fruity flavor, moderate tannins, and medium acidity, making it a perfect complement to a top sirloin, flap, or flank steak. In addition, malbecs have a relatively high alcohol concentration that adds to their bold nature. Argentina is known for producing high-quality malbec wines, though you'll also find irresistible versions from France and even the United States.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The cabernet sauvignon is ideal if you're hosting a dinner or party as it's quite popular among beginners and connoisseurs alike. Nonetheless, the medium to high tannins and acidity make it one of the bolder red wines and ideal for steaks like a New York strip or ribeye steak.

As this is a bold wine, consider adding some fresh pepper to embolden your steak's flavor and make it match well with the wine.

Merlot

A final choice that will do your steak justice is the merlot. Merlots have medium tannins and acidity, as well as a moderate to high ABV of 12 to 15 percent. Therefore, it's no surprise that this rich and oaky wine pairs well with a variety of steaks. It's also a fine wine to accompany creamy sauces or side dishes, like mashed potatoes, as it's bold yet not overpowering.

Pairing Wine with Different Steak Cuts

Now we’ve covered some general wines to pair with steak, let’s dive into the specifics for different steak cuts:

Ribeye Steak Wine Pairings

Wine Pairing: Bold, full-bodied reds like Shiraz or Bordeaux blends. These wines complement the rich marbling of a ribeye.

Tasting Notes: Look for wines with notes of dark fruit and a hint of spice to enhance the steak's natural flavors.

Filet Mignon Wine Pairings

Wine Pairing: Elegantly structured reds such as Pinot Noir or a lighter Chianti. These wines are not too overpowering and match the delicacy of a filet mignon.

Tasting Notes: Choose wines with subtle berry flavors and a smooth finish to complement the tender texture of the steak.

T-Bone Steak Wine Pairings

Wine Pairing: Robust wines like Cabernet Franc or Tempranillo. These wines can stand up to the rich flavor of a T-bone.

Tasting Notes: Opt for wines with a balance of fruit and oak to match the meaty and fat components of the steak.

Sirloin Steak Wine Pairings

Wine Pairing: Medium-bodied reds such as Grenache or a fruity Merlot. These wines provide a nice balance to the leaner sirloin.

Tasting Notes: Look for wines with a mix of red fruit and a hint of earthiness to complement the steak's texture.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re planning a special date night and filet mignon or an outdoor cookout with ribeye steaks, you can’t go wrong with any of these steak and wine pairings. Each wine is a classic steak pairing and popular among virtually all people.

If you’d like an expert’s opinion on your particular steak or occasion, feel free to reach out to us today.