Perfect Meat and Wine Pairings

Are you preparing for a romantic dinner, or perhaps you'll be entertaining several guests soon and are getting ready to choose the menu. One of the things you would like to present with your meal is the perfect wine pairing to complement and elevate your main dish's flavors. However, you may find yourself a bit confused about what wine will work with the meats you've chosen.

To pair the right wine with your entrée, considerations such as what meat is chosen, what cut, what sauces are used, and how lean the meat is can affect the choice of wine. This can quickly become confusing and a touch overwhelming while planning a dinner that you want to be memorable. If you're looking for a little bit of help in what meat and wine pairings to pick, we're happy to help.

Red Wine and Steak

When cooking with red meat, the most common and classic choice, especially with steak, is to opt for a glass of red wine. Specifically, a red wine that is high in tannin help clean the palate in between bites. Tannins are a group of bitter and astringent compounds found abundantly in nature. They can be found in wood, bark, leaves, and fruits of various plants like oak, rhubarb, tea, walnut, cranberry, cacao, and grapes.

Tannins are responsible for that astringent, mouth-coating feel you can experience after a sip of red wine or a drink of tea, for example. Tannins in wine often steam from four familiar sources: the grape skins, the seeds and stem, and the wood barrels used during the wine's aging process. They provide texture and mouthfeel to wine, as well as a sense of weight and structure. Red wine is created from the entire grape, and as it ferments, skins, pips, juice, and sometimes even stems are all macerated together. During that process, tannins and color leach into the wine. Tannins create a drying sensation in your mouth when you drink a glass of red wine.

Ribe Eye Steak Wine Pairing

For a pairing that is timeless and easy to pair with a medium-rare rib-eye steak, a Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent choice. This wine uses a grape with thick skins that give it an intense, cassis-flavor (an exceptional black currant character that can be described as almost a tangy blackberry.)

Suppose you have a personal preference, or you know your guests prefer a rich, ripe wine (a wine full of mature fruit character, high in extract, flavor, and intensity of fruit). In that case, a Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Napa, or Sonoma will be a delectable solution.

Filet Mignon Wine Pairing

If your main dish is the succulent filet mignon, you will want to consider painting this cut of meat with a Chianti wine, a red blend that originates from Tuscany, Italy. Chianti wines are created primarily with Sangiovese grapes that showcase flavor notes such as red fruits, dried herbs, hints of balsamic vinegar, and smokiness.

New York Strip Steak Wine Pairing

This well-marbled, full-bodied, and rich with beefy flavor steak, like the Rib-Eye steak, can be flawlessly paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon but also works perfectly with a Bordeaux. Bordeaux refers to a wine that hails from Bordeaux, France, and the majority of these wines are red wines made with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for a unique taste profile. Dominant flavors of a Bordeaux are black currant, plum, hints of cedar and violet.

White Wines and Poultry

When considering a pairing for poultry like chicken or turkey, a general rule is to note what sort of meat will be served. Chicken's dark meat is found on the drums, legs, and thighs, while turkey's dark meat is located in the legs and thighs.

White meat on turkey is found within the wings and breast, while on chickens, it is the breast meat.

White Meat Wine Pairing

As a general rule, white poultry meat pairs well with white wines. You may choose a Sauvignon Blanc, with tasting notes of white peach, grapefruit, lime, pear, passion fruit, and other tropical hints. Occasionally Sauvignon Blanc may also feature hints of cut grass, lemongrass, and tarragon or even spicy notes such as green bell pepper, jalapeno, vanilla, nutmeg, and even clove.

Another fantastic white wine to pair with poultry is a Chardonnay. Chardonnay is a dry medium to full-bodied white wine with moderate tannins. The typical flavor notes one will pick up in Chardonnay are tropical fruits like pineapple, papaya, or mango, although the wine is not sweet.

Another general rule of thumb is to match the intensity of the wine with the power of the flavors in your poultry dish. For example, if your dish is heavily flavored or spiced, you may want to pair it with a Chardonnay that has been aged in oak barrels. Chardonnay from California, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Southern France, South Australia, and Italy are often more intense and oaked.

For delicately prepared poultry, very dry white wines from Loire Valley of France or South Africa would complement the dish.

Dark Meat Wine Pairing

Surprisingly, Riesling, a slightly sweet white wine, goes much better with darker meats, including duck, than the drier, more acidic white wines. Depending on its age, a young Riesling will be filled with fruity and floral notes, and depending on where the grapes are grown, the notes can range from bright citrus to lusciously ripe stone fruits and pineapple.

Red and White Wine with Pork

With pork dishes, you have a bit more versatility in that both are rich white wines and juicy red wines can both be paired well with pork dishes. Some of the top pairings that work well with one another are:

  • Pork belly and suckling pig pair well with light red wine like Spanish Mencia, Nerello Mascalese from Sicily, and Pinot Noir.
  • Roast pork can be paired with bolder wine, such as a Grenache, Condrieu, Chenin Blanc, or a Chardonnay.
  • Pork sausages pair exceptionally well with a young Grenache-based wine or a red like Barbera.
  • BBQ Pork surprisingly pairs nicely with a dry, Rose wine.

We hope that these meat and wine pairings can help you create a memorable, delectable meal for you and your guests to enjoy. At Wholey's, you'll find that we love what we do, from providing the freshest selection of fish, meats, and seafood to delivering excellent solutions for incredible meals.