For years diners have been stifled by over-generalized, over simplified rules of food and wine pairing: “Drink white with white meat. Drink red with red meat.”
Red wine is a natural accompaniment to grilled meat. The secret is knowing which wines to drink with which dishes. Many classic examples exist of food and wine pairings that are tried and true: grilled steak and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or grilled lamb and red Rioja.
The hearty flavor of steak is always enhanced by the right wine, and many reds taste better paired with beef than they would if consumed without food.
A simply-grilled steak pairs beautifully with a full-bodied red wine. A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with black currant, coffee and dark chocolate notes and a long finish would balance nicely with the steak. The tannins in the wine combines with the protein in the meat to create a lush, flavorful taste, as the steak’s proteins soften the Cabernet’s tannins. Summers Adrianna’s Cuvee from Napa Valley, Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon from South Australia, or Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, from Chile are all affordable good choices.
Not in the mood for Cabernet? A California Merlot or an Hermitage like E. Guigal Crozes Hermitage 2006 from France’s Rhône Valley are also good choices.
Although Cabernet Sauvignon will pair well with one of the most delicious steaks available— Ribeye or a Delmonico Steak, a Merlot would be better suited. A favorite is Twomey Merlot 2005 — a voluptuous, robust and balanced concentration of black cherry, blackberry essence, wild game and freshly ground black pepper. This is a full-bodied and velvety wine, with fine-grained tannins and an extremely long finish. Twomey Merlot is a BIG, rich, flavorful wine that will more than delight you and your dining companion.
To add a little spice to your ribeye or cajun-style ribeye, a spicy Zinfandel with its blueberry and blackberry flavors is a match made in heaven for this gorgeous marbling and mouth-watering selection of beef at its best. Try The Phantom, Bogle Vineyard’s Zinfandel blend. This succulent full-bodied blend combines lush blackberries and blueberries with the fierce spiciness of black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.
These are reliable, low-risk ventures that will likely result in an enjoyable overall dining experience. Just remember to open these wine 20 minutes prior to mealtime to allow for the flavors in the wine to fully develop.