Jeff Flowers on February 4, 2015 0 Comments The next time you sit down to enjoy a juicy steak, if you want to bring out the true flavor of your cut, reach for a bottle of wine instead of a bottle of steak sauce. Pairing wine with steak might sound difficult at first, but as long as you’ve got the right information you’ll be able to pair your wine and steak like a culinary matchmaker. The Proper Balance Balance is the foundation when it comes to finding the perfect wine to go with the perfect steak. The acidity of the steak is what you truly want to focus on as well as the cut of the meat. Different cuts of meat have their very own unique texture, and the same applies to different types of wine. Some wines are light on the tongue while others are robust and full-bodied. Just like wine has notes, so can a steak. This is especially true if it is made with a béarnaise or Diane sauce, as well as crusted with pepper or other spices. Be sure to keep all of those notes in mind when composing your appetizing symphony. Different Cuts of Meat photo credit Let’s take a look at three of the most popular cuts of meat you’ll find at your favorite restaurant, and discuss which types of wine pair best with each cut. Filets: Filets are some of the most delicate cuts of meat that you can enjoy. Since they don’t have the rich marbling that ribeyes do, they have a hint more iron to them. Either a relaxed Beaujolais or a Pinot Noir will go excellent with a filet. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more sophisticated, opt for a citrusy Cote-Rotie. Cowboy Ribeye: A bold bone-in cowboy ribeye calls for a wine with acid and tannins to bring balance to your meal. Barolos are a good option because they have full-bodied fruits as well as a sour note that sings on the back of your palate along with the earthy spices. One word of caution with this particular pairing is that you might not want to indulge in a high alcohol Australian Shiraz afterwards since it can have a rather heavy flavor that you may not enjoy. NY Strip: If you’re looking to bring just as much balance to your steak as you are to your food and drink pairings, then you’re likely to request a New York Strip. What makes New York Strips so unique is that they have the tenderness of a filet and the marbling associated with ribeyes. To truly enjoy the full flavor of a New York Strip, consider pairing it with the Napa Cabs or a bold Pinot Noir. This particular wine selection has the subtle fruitiness required to wrestle the wild flavor of steak under control. Other good wine pairings with this steak include DuMol and new world Syrahs. Cooking Style & Sauces The way that the steak has been prepared is something else to keep in mind when trying to decide on the best wines for different cuts of meat. Steaks that are cooked rare won’t bring out as much of a tanning sensation in the wine. If you have a Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon that is relatively fresh off of the vine, a rare steak will give it a mellower flavor than a wine that is older. Steaks that have a lot of fat deserve a wine that is equally hefty. Grenache/syrah/mourvedre (GSM) blends, regular syrah and Rhone reds are another good match for ribeye steaks. Charred steaks carry a bitter flavor, which means that a wine with a sweet or ripe taste is what you want to pair it with. A Napa Valley Cabernet or a Coonawarra are two excellent choices. As if you didn’t already have enough to keep track of, the sauce on a steak will also alter the way that the steak tastes as well as the flavor of the wine. A rich red wine sauce requires a quality Bordeaux or Malbec to round out your meal. If you’ll be making the wine sauce yourself, it’s best to choose a drinking wine of a better quality than the wine that you use in the sauce. Peppercorn sauces don’t blend well with wines that have a high alcohol content level or an oaky flavor to them since they can add too much spice. A well-aged Rhone red of Supertuscan will strike just the right culinary chord. If you’ll be enjoying a béarnaise sauce with your steak, a pinot, Meursault or any other full-bodied chardonnay are all great matches. Anyone who is a true fan of older red wines will want to make sure that they don’t have very much sauce on their steak. Extremely well-aged vintages taste best with steaks that are cooked medium-rare. White Wines If you aren’t a very big fan of red wines, you can always have a white wine with your steak. Australian Rieslings go well with steaks such as dry-aged porterhouses or ribeyes. What makes dry-aged steaks so unique is that they are tender and mellow. Not only that, but they also have a special minerality that harmonizes well with the smoky notes found in Australian Rieslings. The high alcohol content in this type of wine gives a wonderful link between the wine and the steak built on the alcohol’s texture and body. A Montrachet Chardonnay is a vibrant and rich option for lovers of fruity wines, but they can be rather pricey at $500 a bottle. Specific Wines for Specific Cuts of Meat If you’re at the wine store and having trouble deciding which specific wine you should pair with your steak, there are a few labels that can help ease your burden. Well-Marbled Ribeyes — Balance this steak out with a high-tannin wine, such as Mastroberardino’s Taurasi Radici Riserva. New York Strips — The perfect pairing for this steak is a bold Pinot Noir, such as Lucia Vineyards Gary’s Vineyard “Lucia”. Filets — Give your senses an aromatic lift by pairing this steak with an elegant Syrah, such as Patrick Jasmin Cote Rotie. Ribeyes & Strips — A hearty red blend with acidity and dried fruity notes are the perfect complement for these steaks. We’d suggest pairing with any red from Tommaso Bussola. Steaks with Pepper Crust — The Colonial Estate “Exile” is made with rich fruit characteristics such as watermelon, pomegranate and jam, all of which are a well-balanced combination for steaks made with Diane sauces or pepper crust. Whether you’re pulling a bottle out of your wine fridge or sitting down at a fancy restaurant, you now have all you need to impress friends, dates and even yourself the next time you enjoy a nice steak and a bottle of wine.