The dynamic duo of steak and Cabernet Sauvignon
We’ve all heard the “red wine with red meat, white wine with fish” rule. Such basic logic ruled the day in a universe where television sets had a channel knob that went from 2 to 13 and the Frisbee was a cutting-edge toy.
Today we know better. We drink Pinot Noir with our cedar-planked salmon and play Frisbee on our Nintendo Wii gaming systems. We know food is colour-blind — a wine’s pigment is largely insignificant when it comes to successful pairings. Its structure and body are much more important considerations when it comes to conjuring a magical food and drink combination.
But then you’ve served a prime, dry-aged steak and a killer glass of Cabernet and red wine with red meat suddenly sounds sacrosant. The same could be said of steak and a serious Syrah, Tempranillo, Malbec or any other hearty, full-bodied tannic red wine that was aged in oak barrels.
Why it Works
The process of grilling enhances the meat’s original flavour with smoke, spice and other secondary flavours, which call for concentrated flavours and fuller-bodied wines. The tannin, naturally occurring compounds that provide structure and texture, in the Cabernet, bonds to the fat and protein in the steak and the wine is perceived as softer.
Serve your steak rare, if you’re serving a young or more fruity red wine. That way the protein can soften the wine’s more aggressive tannins. Medium-rare or welldone steak is better matched to softer, more mature reds. Simply roasted meat or game will work with most good red wines.