Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: January 9, 2024

Which Wines Go With Steak? [10 Amazing Pairings]

What wines go with steak? 10 Picks of Amazing Pairings

Steak is almost always associated with red wine.

As you know, 'red' is a generic term comprising dozens of varieties. You can choose from a sweeter to a drier one, from a lighter to a fuller body. 

And just like 'red wine', 'steak' is a generic term comprising a variety of meat cuts. We can think of New York strip steak, prime rib, ribeye, sirloin, tartare, and a host of other meats when talking about steak.

It’s easy to understand each of these meats pairs well with a different type of wine. Putting together an exhaustive list is near impossible.

That’s why I’ve put together this guide to amazing pairings, so you can choose the wine that works best with the type of steak you like.

#1 Zinfandel

Zinfandel is perhaps the best wine to pair with steak. This flavorful full-body wine complements the equally strong flavors of steak and also the strong flavor of the seasoning typically accompanying this dish. This doesn’t mean, though, that Zinfandel goes with all types of steak.

The spicy notes of this wine pair wonderfully with the strong flavors of lean steak but the lower content of tannins make it less suitable to pair with heavily marbled cuts.

The high alcoholic content, on the other hand, and the medium-high acidity also give a bold texture to Zinfandel, which works wonders with steak marinates in spiced barbecue sauce.

The best meat cuts to pair with your Zinfandel are sirloin, prime rib, ribeye, tartare, and New York strip.

#2 Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium to full bodied wine, rich in both alcohol and tannins. So, if the Zinfandel above doesn’t pair well with heavily marbled steak, but you love that meat cut, the Cabernet Sauvignon might just be your best bet.

This deep red wine withstands the bold flavors of meat and matches perfectly with the natural juices of a rare steak.

For this wine, you’d better choose a well-seasoned, spiced steak which is high in fat, such as filet mignon, T-bine, porterhouse steak, ribeye, sirloin, or New York strip.

All these meat cuts pair wonderfully with the refined flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon, such as blackcurrant, pepper, mint, and oak.   

Check out some of our favorite Cabs over a variety of price points below:

Cab Under $15

Cab Under $30

Cab Under $50

Best Cab at Costco

#3 Malbec

Going to Argentina, we find a splendid wine that makes good friends with the famous Argentinian steak. Malbec is, in fact, the most consumed red wine in Argentina, where locals pair it with the delicious traditional beef.

This versatile wine is rich in aromas and is characterized by a particular sapidity. Its tannic content goes well with stronger meat flavors and marbled cuts, such as sirloin and T-bone. It's not a million miles away from Cabernet Sauvignon in a lot of ways and the differences are sometimes difficult to discern.

The nice thing is that Malbec also comes at an attractive price point. So, if you want to impress but don’t want to break the bank, Malbec is the way to go!

#4 Syrah

French Syrah, but also the Australian Shiraz, are two wines that pair wonderfully with steak. Both varietals showcase medium to full bodies and they are both versatile and food-friendly. These wines actually pair with a wide number of foods, not only with steak.

The dominant notes are fruity, with hints of blueberry, olives, and spicy overtones which complement the natural juices and boldness of red meat.

Then, a crisp acidity and tannin content are perfect to pair with marbled cuts, complementing peppery barbecues, smoked meat, and even the traditional rare steak. Ribeye and prime rib are perhaps your best bets, but you can also pair your Syrah with skirt steak, peppered flank, or New York strip steak.

Check out some more great Syrah pairings.

#5 Barolo

Barolo is a noble Italian wine produced exclusively in the Piedmont region of the country. Its ethereal flavors and enhancing aromas make it a great choice for a garden party or barbecue gathering if you want to impress all your friends.

The silky texture of this wine shouldn’t be overwhelmed with greasy sauces. Instead, pair your Barolo with a juicy rare steak or with a grilled filet.  Tartare and raw veal prepared in the Italian way are two other meat cuts to pair with this wine.

If you’re more of a T-bone guy, however, Barolo might not be the best choice for you.

#6 Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the most delicate reds, and although it goes great with steak, it doesn’t pair with all types of meat.

This delicious wine is characterized by tasting notes ranging from sweet black cherry to raspberry blended with sweet aromas of vanilla, caramel, and clove. Obviously, the character of the wine is given by the terroir, but in broad lines, this beverage goes best with the leaner cuts.

You can see it paired with a juicy fillet steak, for example, or with a filet mignon. To add extra flavor to your dish, choose a Pinot Noir from Oregon which will impress you with its earthy truffle notes.  

Discover more amazing Pinot Noir food pairings in our guide.

#7 Sangiovese Rosé

Some meat cuts require the delicacy of a softer wine. And that’s where a good Sangiovese Rosé comes to save the day.

This wine has a slightly higher acidity and a light to medium body which pairs perfectly with leaner meats. Serve a Rosé of Sangiovese with sirloin tip side steak, top sirloin, loin, bottom round roast, or eye of round steak.

As a general rule, try to match the wine with the intensity of the dish, opting for a red Sangiovese if the meat is too flavorful.

#8 Montepulciano

Who said the steak is only beef and veal? There is excellent game mean cuts you can cook or grill and serve with a delicious wine. For instance, venison steak.

From all the wines you could choose, my favorite to go with the game is Montepulciano, the noble of the noblest.

This rich, full-body red wine goes wonderfully with fattier meat cuts and game, including sirloin, T-bone steak, New York strip steak, or venison steak. You can even pair it with wild boar or a smaller game like rabbit.

#9 Negroamaro

Okay, Negroamaro is a less famous wine. In fact, perhaps only a few enthusiasts know about this goodness produced in southern Italy. Yet, this wine pairs perfectly with fattier meat cuts, sauces, and grilled meat.

This interesting wine presents intense aromas of tobacco and coffee and has exciting flavors of blackberries.

Like all Italian wines, the Negroamaro impresses with its tenacity, while the flavor is pleasant and sweet, complementing well a sweet, tangy barbecue or a Mongolian beef dish.

#10 Lambrusco

Lambrusco is the last wine I recommend in this list but not for its importance. This splendid wine goes well with steak and will make you shine when hosting the next barbecue party or dinner with your friends.

This beverage has a light to medium body and is characterized by flavorful aromas of orange blossoms, mandarin, cherries, watermelon, and violets.

The fruity flavors of the wine and its freshness pair wonderfully with leaner meat cuts, such as loin and top sirloin, the eye of round steak, and bottom round roast, but also with barbecue sauce steak.

In the end, no matter what your choice is, remember to always pair the wine with the intensity of the dish to make sure the beverage complements your steak.


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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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