You’re in the mood for steak and you’ve heard that steak and wine were made for each other. You go grab a random cut from the market, a bottle of red wine, and you feel like you’re set. The question is, are you really though?
If you’re like most people, you probably grabbed any cut of steak and paired it with a bottle of your favorite wine. Maybe you grabbed a cut of angus sirloin or top round and paired it with your go to cabernet sauvignon. No matter what you picked, if you didn’t take into account the type of cut, the tannin level of the wine, and how you plan to prepare the steak, you may be shorting yourself of better food experience.
The Cut Matters
When you’re buying steak and pairing it with wine, you want to be conscious of the cut. This is because different cuts of steak have different textures, different percentages of fat, and different flavors. The texture of the steak and the fat composition help determine the best way to prepare the steak. It also determines the best wine to pair it with.
Fat Composition and Marbling
Fatty cuts of steak such as filet mignon and ribeye are great cuts for wine pairing. This is especially true when the steak is Japanese wagyu, a luxury beef with unparalleled marbling that causes it to melt in your mouth. Marbling refers to the white intramuscular fat in each cut of meat. The marbling and richness of wagyu beef makes it perfect for wines that are more tannic such as cabernet sauvignon or petit sirah. The tannins in these bolder wines help cut through the fatty richness of the beef and compliment the flavor without overpowering it. Be sure to avoid lighter red wines such as pinot noir and gamay which lack the tannin to match the richness and intensity of the steak.
Preparation Plays a Role
How the steak will be prepared should also weigh into your decision on what wine to pair it with. Will it be pan seared with butter, salt, pepper, and rosemary? If so, maybe a merlot or cab sauv will do the trick. Is it smoked low and slow over mesquite wood chips? Australian shiraz would probably be a great pairing. If you’re planning to use a sauce or marinade, consider what wine can complement those flavors while simultaneously complimenting the fat composition and texture of the steak.
In short, creating a perfect steak and wine dinner can be much more complicated than you probably expected. Cut, preparation, fat composition, and marbling all play a role in creating the perfect steak dinner experience. If it seems like too much, don’t worry, just enjoy it. Eventually, you’ll figure out your preferences and nail it every time. In the meantime, feel free to join us for one of our exclusive wine dinners and let us take care of it for you. Our next dinner, Dinner With Pur is August 28, 2021. CLICK HERE for more details.