When I get asked about pairing wine with food, I always start by telling people the rule of thumb to keep in mind is that red wines go with red meat. (most of you already know this!)
It’s more complex than just that, though. I’ll dive right in and tell you what you need to know – which cuts of meat go with what types of reds.
You need to keep in mind that as the cut of meat you’re serving becomes leaner, the type of red wine you pair with it becomes lighter. (super important!)
Wine with Steak:
High tannin red wines like Cabernet Sauvingon or Petite Syrah go wonderfully with rich cuts of meat like prime rib, New York strip, or filet mignon.
The reason why these steakss pair so well with dark reds, is because the tannins in dark reds cut the fat and cleanse your palate between bites. Just reading that makes me hungry… and ready for a nice glass!
(You can grab our free Food & Wine Pairing guide – its a fun print out for the side of your refrigerator)
Beef & sirloin are usually leaner than the steaks listed about. So if you’re serving a top sirloin, or beef stew, a more medium wine such as a Sangiovese is a much better choice.
…Of course there’s more to red meat than just steak.
Wine with Lamb:
Lamb dishes go well with red wines, but the unique flavors of lamb require a nuanced approach to wine pairings.
I love to pair lamb with a lighter red.
The more delicate and lighter flavor of lamb dishes need wines that match that; additionally, with lamb taking on the flavor of whatever sauce it’s cooked and served in, you’ll need to keep that in mind as well.
Regardless, a medium-bodied wine or a bold red with a smoother tannin is usually a good choice – Petit Verdot, Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Malbec are always solid starting points.
Wine with Game:
You should pair gamey dishes like venison can be paired with reds as well.
Wine with Venison:
While venison can be rich, it’s usually quite lean, and that means a medium-bodied, rustic red is the best choice – a good Chianti with a venison dish makes more than Hannibal Lecter happy.
Make it easy for yourself:
Steal our free Wine & Food Pairing Guide. Easy to access on your phone while planning your meal… Or like me – At the grocery store doing a last minute dinner & wine shopping.