Food & Drinks

What Wine Goes With Steak? (Simple & Detailed Guide)

What Wine Goes With Steak?

One wine and food-matching truism that is unlikely to go out of style is the fact that red wine and steak are perfect partners. While we are great believers in breaking the rules and shaking things up, we also contend that there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.

So while we are sipping, eating, and conversing at home or our favorite steakhouse, a response occurs in our tongues that enhances the pleasure of mixing two of our favorite things. Now, you may wonder what wine goes with steak.

Red wine and steak go well together because of the chemicals that interact with the taste buds when we combine them — fat, protein, and tannins — to form an unbeatable trinity. The top dry red choices include Malbec, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. White wine options are limited, but you can consider an oak-aged Chardonnay or even Pinot Grigio and Chablis.

First, we’ll review some general guidelines before diving into the red and white wine options you can pair with steak. In the end, we’ve included a little cheat sheet paired with different cuts, the type of wine we’d recommend, and why the pairings work well together. 

General Guidelines

General Guidelines

Generally, when you pair steak with wine, you’d go for a dry red wine. Lean cuts and lighter wines go together, while fattier and richer cuts can stand their ground against high-tannin wines. The wine also cuts through the fattiness of the meat — a win-win taste combination if there ever was one!

You’ll need to research pairing different cuts with particular wines to make the most of pairing steak and wine. Or, you can read on and see what we’ve got in store for you.

However, before we delve into the classic cuts and wine pairings, keep in mind that when you’re faced with a lean cut, cook them medium-rare to retain their tenderness and flavor.

Pairing Steak and Wine

Pairing Steak And Wine

Let’s go on a journey of discovery and examine the zen one feels when the steak and wine are in perfect balance — Nirvana at the dinner table — whether at home or your favorite steakhouse. But before we delve too deep, have you ever considered where your steak comes from?

Fiona Beckett has some surprising insights about how beef is raised in this article (don’t worry, it isn’t one of those ‘do-this-not-that’ articles). What’s more, there are links to fantastic beef suppliers in the USA and UK so you can pick out the best for your next dinner.

The suggestions below are just that. Suggestions. You can pair your steak with any wine you feel happy with, and whatever brings you joy will be the right wine to go with the steak.

Red Wine Pairings for Steak

Whether you like your steak grilled, pan-seared in butter, marinated and grilled, or even with a sauce, nothing compares to the taste of a fresh steak. Whatever cut you prefer, there will always be something for everyone.

Likewise, a glass of quality wine is hard to beat too! So when you pair steak and wine, you’ve got a match made in heaven.

Before you open the first available bottle of wine, look at the recommended wines below. If your steak and wine are mismatched, you’ll have an unsatisfying dining experience. You might even feel cheated out of a good meal…

Below are some excellent choices for your next steak dinner to take it to the next level.

Argentinian Malbec

Argentinian Malbec

The Argentinians are well-known and highly regarded for raising beef cattle of high quality. They are also known for their excellent wines. Malbec is frequently matched with steak and is famous worldwide.

In fact, Malbec is the most popular wine in Argentina, where it is the preferred wine to pair with beef. Another reason Argentinian Malbec is a favorite choice is that it is reasonably inexpensive compared to other wines but still offers quality in every drop.

There are rich and exquisite Malbec wines manufactured all around the world. Still, some of the most popular (and best) Malbec wines originate from Argentina and Chile.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon, also known as the “King of Red Wines,” is one of the best choices for matching with steak meals. Given the intense characteristics of some steak cuts, it’s critical to select a wine that complements those robust flavors.

Cabernet sauvignon works well with steak because of its full-bodied character. Whatever steak you choose, the wine’s strong fruit notes and powerful aromas are ideally matched for intense sensations with each bite.

Furthermore, considering the high-fat content of some cuts like ribeye and bone-in steaks, the high alcohol and tannin levels complement each other nicely. The steak’s fattiness can also improve the taste of the wine, leading to the wine tasting less bitter and smoother.

Californian Zinfandel

Californian Zinfandel

Because steak is often fat-heavy, California Zinfandel (especially from Sonoma and Napa Valley) is a fantastic pairing choice. This is because of the wine’s firm acidity and mild tannins.

First, however, you must select the appropriate steak to pair with California Zinfandel — Ribeye, T-bone, and Porterhouse are all excellent choices. Because these steaks have a lot of taste, pairing them with a wine with many diverse flavors to savor on your palate is crucial.

Many people enjoy Zinfandel because of its robust flavor with grapey spiciness and richness.



Merlot is an excellent wine that goes well with a variety of meats. Ribeye is one of those steaks that have a lot of juicy taste.

Ribeye, after filet mignon, is one of the most tender and tasty varieties of steak. Merlot is an excellent choice for ribeye steak seasoned or rubbed with mild spices.

Still, it combines even better with paprika-seasoned meat. The smokey spice of paprika complements the exquisite aromas of merlot.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is an excellent wine accompaniment if you like higher-end steaks, such as filet mignon. Because filet mignon is derived from the thicker part of the tenderloin of a cow, it is exceptionally lean and low in fat, resulting in a highly unique and delicate flavor.

As a result, these filets are frequently served with sauces. Pinot noir has a delightful fruitiness to wine, and the faint wood tastes complement the meat’s soft characteristics wonderfully. After all, you don’t want a wine that overpowers the exquisite taste of your steak.

A delicate pinot noir is great for complementing the rich flavors of a fine filet mignon.

White Wine Pairings for Steak

Pairing white wine with red meat, and even more so, steak goes against everything many wine enthusiasts and gourmands stand for. But, sometimes, breaking the rules is fun and an excellent way to go against the mainstream, and we’re here for it!

Oak-Aged Chardonnay

Oak-Aged Chardonnay

A white wine with steak? No, we haven’t lost our minds. Oak-aged Chardonnay has a buttery and creamy finish with hints of baking spice, vanilla, cedar, and some smoky notes.

Considering oak-aged Chardonnay’s tasting notes, a chargrilled steak is a perfect partner to oak-aged Chardonnay. The Chardonnay’s tastes will compliment the smokiness while bringing some balance to the bitterness of the char.

Serve the chargrilled steak with a Bearnaise sauce (foolproof recipe here!) as in high-end restaurants and steakhouses in France.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio from northern Italy is known for its high acidity and can easily ruin a fine filet steak. So how on earth can you then serve Pinot Grigio without wasting the whole dinner?

The short and easy answer is to match the dish’s acidity with the wine. You can easily add acidity to your steak dinner by adding fruits like pink grapefruit segments or pomegranates to the plate.

Alternatively, you can drizzle the resting meat with lemon juice or vinegar. Sherry vinegar is a good choice because it isn’t as sweet as balsamic vinegar nor as sharp-tasting as white or cider vinegar.



Frequently Chablis is described as having white flower and citrus aromas. You’ll be able to identify tastes of pear, citrus, salinity, and mineral on the palate.

The long, tingly acidic finish can be a challenge when pairing it with steak. We recommend adding some acidity to the meat (as with Pinot Grigio) to match the wine’s acidity.

Additionally, cold cuts of steak will be less contrasting when served with a chilled glass of Chablis. 

Further Options

Apart from the options listed above, here are some more ideas and wines you could pair with your steak. We’ve broken it down by cuts and recommended wines and a reason why we suggest the particular wines. Think of the below as a cheat sheet for excellent pairings.

We’ve summarized and adapted the recommendations from, which offers a deep dive for the curious and uninitiated in the world of steak cuts.

Steak CutRecommended WinesReason Why It Works
BrisketAustralian Shiraz
Petite Syrah
We know brisket isn’t a steak, but bear with us. Almost every method of preparing a brisket will produce a smoky taste, and these wines will complement and enhance that flavor.
Skirt and FlankCabernet Franc
It’s critical not to overcook these cuts, but even when done perfectly, these slices are harder to chew. These selections are designed to enhance the tasty-but-chewy meat, transforming it from a chewing chore into delightful enjoyment.
StripSouth African Bordeaux-style blends (Merlot-Cabernet)
German Blaufränkisch
GSM Blend (Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvèrde)
The Strip is a tasty and coarser grain cut of beef that can be used in various ways, but it requires a wine that can match the flavor and slice through the fat. These selections include powerful fruit paired with acidity and tannins that accomplish the job.
Filet MignonMencía
Merlot or merlot-based blends
Touriga National
Filet Mignon has a subtle taste, and these wines will complement the flavor without overpowering the meat. Touriga Nacional, a Portuguese wine, is the perfect accompaniment for steak au poivre.
Ribeye and Bone-InCabernet Sauvignon
Amarone della Valpolicella or Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso
Zinfandel (Napa or Sonoma Valley)
The greater fat level results in a buttery, greasy flavor that necessitates a higher fruity taste or tannins to complement and cut through the fat.
Porterhouse and T-BoneAglianico
Barolo or Nebbiolo
Porterhouse and T-Bone are tender cuts but also relatively lean. Aromatic and flavorful reds are the go-to options.
SirloinFrench Syrah
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Spanish Tempranillo (Rioja Reserva is an excellent choice)
Sirloin can be prepared in a variety of ways. The recommendations are versatile wines that can complement whatever route you’re pursuing while cooking, but pay attention to how your seasoning modifies the meal and pick appropriately.
RumpChilean Carménère
Italian Dolcetto
Monastrell or Mourvedre
Rump steak can be cooked in various ways to compensate for its tough texture. Carefully consider the sauces you’re serving to complement and not inadvertently overpower the wine.


As the adage goes, red wines pair with red meats. While we agree with this, not all red wines will pair perfectly with each cut of steak. For example, Pinot Noir is far too light-bodied and contains too few tannins to stand up to the fattiness of ribeye or strip steak.

Similarly, a Zinfandel will overpower the subtle taste of filet mignon; thus, your cut will influence the wine you’d serve with the steak. White wine and steak may seem like anathema to most cooks and steak lovers. Still, an oak-aged Chardonnay does exceptionally well with a chargrilled steak.

Due to its acidity, Pinot Grigio benefits from a steak that was ‘treated’ with an acidic agent like lemon juice or vinegar so that the acidity can match one another.

Whatever you choose, make sure it is what you enjoy, and don’t bother too much with the rules.