There’s no doubt about it — steak and wine are two of the finest things in life. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with simply pouring whatever vino you have on hand to complement your steak dinner, taking the time to balance the cut and preparation of the steak with the characteristics of a specific wine will truly elevate your meal. Most of us know that red wines are traditional for beef dishes, but with hundreds of reds from which to choose, where does one start?
Richer steaks tend to pair best with heartier wines. Among the fattier cuts are Delmonico, rib-eye and chuck steaks. When paired correctly, the meat and the wine balance one another out. Look for Syrah, the red wine known for its high tannin content. Those tannins “cut” the richness of the steak, while the fat content of the beef mellows out the wine. Rioja and Cabernet types are also good choices.
Whether it’s for health reasons or because a certain recipe calls for a leaner cut, non-fatty steak may well be one of your household staples. Good choices include filet mignon, round eye, sirloin tip, top sirloin and top or bottom round roasts. For these, look for an acidic, light-bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Grenache, Counoise or Chianti.
Narrowing the Choices
If there are several different available reds that will go with your steak, for example, a rich cut, thinking about the ingredients in your side dishes might help you settle on the wine. The bottle’s label also lists flavor notes, and a knowledgeable shop owner can also help. If you think of the wine in terms of “berry-like” or “nutty,” it’s more likely that you’ll have an instinct for how it will blend with side dishes.
A glass of Grenache, for example, contains hints of citrus and floral. This makes it perfect to pair with a filet mignon and a salad containing spring greens, orange slices and even a few nasturtium petals. But for a fatty steak that will have a hearty gravy and starchy sides, Rioja’s plummy-cocoa notes might make for a better balance.
Are you doing a “blackened” theme with charred steak and roasted vegetables? A cabernet is ideal because its sweet notes help counter the bitterness of all those crispy, blackened bits.
Have Wine. Seeking Food.
Of course, there are times when it would be nice to simply select an intriguing wine for a special evening while leaving the cooking to someone else. Whether you’re hosting an event at a banquet hall or having special friends to your home, Panosh Kosher Catering is here to help you prepare an elegant dinner of tender steak and elegant sides. We'll work with you to best suit your wine selection.