Thinking about a nice steak dinner for Valentine’s Day? Then you’re also thinking about all those things that go with a nice steak dinner, like the perfect side dishes (a baked potato and creamed spinach if you’re asking us) and the wine. Here are a few things we think you should consider when deciding how to pair wine with steak.
Cut of the meat
If you’re a red wine drinker, you might intuitively know that red wine is an ideal pairing for steak. Why? Well, a good rule when it comes to wine and food pairing is that the weight of your wine should match the weight of your food. Steak, particularly cuts of meat higher in fat such as porterhouse, is a great match for a full-bodied wine that can stand up to such a hearty meal. You can’t go wrong with a Syrah, like our gold-rated 2016 Activist Private Reserve Syrah, a big, bold wine that’s always ready to contend with steak.
“Sparkling with steak?! That’s right … it’s a unique pairing but one made perfect with high-quality sea salt sprinkled generously on the most flavorful and fattier cuts of steak to bring out the best in the bubbles. We always say that salty and sparkling is a match made by culinary Cupid,” says Director of Sommology Leslie Sbrocco. Try ribeye or New York strip!
Our Sommology food and wine pairing tools are here to help you find the right match anytime! Just click, pair, and sip!
Some cuts of meat are less fatty, such as filet mignon or tri-tip, and pair nicely with a smoky Malbec or plummy Zinfandel. Here are a few tips on how to perfectly prep your tri-tip!
Seasoning and sauces
Seasoning and sauces impact the flavor of the steak, and, therefore, your wine choice. It’s all about balance. If the topping is creamy, such as a hollandaise sauce with a squeeze of lemon, you will want a more vibrant wine to contrast the richness. Think Sangiovese or Montepulciano for reds, or even a fruity Rosé. Loading on the sauteed mushrooms? Choose an earthy Cabernet Sauvignon. Blue cheese or gorgonzola? Merlot will be your best friend.
Personal taste preferences
Always keep in mind what you and your guests prefer when it comes to wine. There are plenty of us who can drink a classic Chardonnay or reliable Pinot Noir with absolutely anything, so you won’t want to stray too far from the familiar if you’re choosy. Just keep in mind some of the basic rules like matching the weight, and balancing the acid in the food and wine. The right wine choice, says Leslie, is always “whatever’s in your glass.”
Try before you buy with a personal wine tasting
One great way to find the right wine for your next steak dinner is to chat with your Traveling Vineyard Wine Guide, maybe even sample a few selections, and discover the flavor combinations that work best for your taste buds! Wine tasting makes a great date night in, too, so be sure and ask about our virtual wine tastings and Sip Kits self-guided wine tastings.