How to Pair Red Wine and Steak: 7 Cuts and Bottles to Try

How do you pair red wine with steak?

  1. Sirloin with Tempranillo or Syrah
  2. Ribeye & Bone-In with Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel
  3. Porterhouse & T-Bone with Xinomavro
  4. Filet Mignon with Merlot
  5. Strip with Bordeaux
  6. Rump with Carménère
  7. Flank & Skirt with Malbec

Knowing how to pair red wine and steak is one of the essential lessons in your wine journey. However, the world of red wine is complex and full of different textures, flavors, and aromas — and so is the world of steak cuts. 

This makes matching the right bottle with your dinner a bit more complicated than just picking out whatever red suits your fancy. 

To help you out, we’ve prepared a few suggestions for each kind of steak cut. So, fire up that grill, and let’s explore the best red wines to pair with your steak! 

What to consider when pairing red wine and steak

When it comes to choosing the right wine for your steak, there are no hard and fast rules — just suggestions. This is because there are hundreds of different ways to season and cook steak, which means there are a hundred different ways to pair your dish. 

Generally, though, steaks that have more char and smoke lend themselves to heartier wines. And, a good rule of thumb is that dry red wines go well with fatty, rich steaks, while leaner cuts of meat pair with lighter wines. Keep this in mind as you’re exploring the different pairings we’ve listed out below: 

Sirloin with Tempranillo or Syrah

Sirloin is one of the most common steak cuts you can get. It’s lean, has fair marbling, and is often prepared with a strip of fat along its edge. Sirloin steak is often prepared on the grill and can be seasoned and sauced in a lot of different ways.

To match its versatility, we recommend a Spanish Tempranillo, particularly an aged Rioja Reserva like the Vina Herminia Rioja Reserva 2014. If prepared with butter sauces, a Sirloin steak will also do well with a Syrah — like our Le Grand Noir Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre.

Ribeye & Bone-In with Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel

Ribeye & Bone-In with Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel

Ribeye and bone-in steaks are on the richer, taste-packed side when it comes to steak. It has plenty of marbling throughout and is a naturally tender cut. We often cook this cut of steak on a hot grill, seasoned simply with butter and rosemary. 

In that case, a Norton Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2018 pairs well with a rosemary-cooked ribeye or bone-in steak, as it has the high tannin content you need to cut through the rich flavor. It can also pair well with a Sonoma Zinfandel, such as our Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2014. This gives spicy and strong fruit notes that contrast against the steak’s flavor. 

Porterhouse & T-Bone with Xinomavro

The porterhouse and t-bone both have a tender filet side and a firm and flavorful strip side. These similarities mean that they generally go well with similar wines. 

While you can also pair this with a good Cabernet Sauvignon, we suggest going out of the box and trying it with a Xinomavro — like our Kir Yianni Diaporos 2016. This is a red-fruit-forward, aromatic Greek red wine. This flavor profile of this wine will complement the combination of filet and strip deliciously! 

Filet Mignon with Merlot

Filet Mignon with Merlot

Filet Mignon — incredibly lean and tender. It’s a steak cut that’s usually prepared pan-seared and not grilled. And, it often comes prepared with sauces but does just as well with a simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and rosemary. 

When cooked either way, the Filet Mignon has more subtle flavors than most other steaks on this list. So, we recommend pairing it with a Merlot like Yarden Merlot 2016. This wine stays in its lane and doesn’t overpower the steak. Instead, it delivers complimentary tannic and fruit flavors, which brings out every flavor cooked into your steak. 

Strip with Bordeaux

Strip steaks, also known as a short loin cut, are another popular steak for their value and flavor. This piece comes with more connective tissue but becomes very tender when cooked properly. It’s usually done up in a cast-iron pan, though can be prepared in several different methods of cooking.

Because this steak has a thicker grain and is a versatile steak, you need a wine that can complement a variety of flavors while also cutting through the fat. A wine with refined tannins is the best choice for this steak — like a Bordeaux-style blend. Bottles like the Cap Royal Rouge Bordeaux Superieur 2015 have the acidity, fruity and earthy flavors, and structured tannins to get the job done. 

Rump with Carménère

Rump with Carménère

Rump steaks are a bit on the rougher side. They come from a section full of hard-working muscle, which means it's a firm cut. But, rump steaks are pretty flavorful and take well to marinating. 

Your wine selection will depend largely on how you marinate your rump steak. But, a good rule of thumb is to look for something robust and flavored enough to match the really meaty flavors. Take, for example, a Carménère wine, which has all those characteristics. We suggest the Vina Maipo Vitral Carménère — it helps cut through the gamey flavors and the firm texture quite nicely. 

Flank & Skirt with Malbec

Flank and skirt steaks are another pair of cuts that aren’t quite the same — but they’re often cooked with the same seasonings and techniques. This means that they more or less go well with the same wines. 

In particular, the strong berry flavors, velvety texture, and dryness of Malbec wines complement the fibrousness of strong flavors of both flank and skirt steak. We recommend trying it with our Le Grand Noir Malbec. It’s a dry, full-bodied wine with jammy fruit, smokey oak, and tobacco. This allows it to stand up to hefty, chewy cuts and transform your meal into a savory experience.

Key Takeaway

Knowing how to pair red wine with steak is an essential skill — especially when you want to elevate your dining experience! So, don’t be afraid to delve in, learn, and try out our recommendations. These pairings are sure to be tasty. But, more importantly, they'll be a jumping-off point for discovering pairings that work best for you. 

If you’re looking for the perfect bottles to accompany your steak, head over to Ralph’s Wines & Spirits. We have an extensive red wine section, so you’re sure to find the wines you need to create a great dinner! 

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