Wine–particularly red wine–is a natural accompaniment to grilled meat. In fact, many wines taste better paired with beef–or lamb–than they would if drunk without food. The secret is knowing which wines to drink with which dishes. Consider the following suggestions with grilled steak.



Pair a simply-grilled steak with a full-bodied red wine, such as a Californian, Australian or Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins in the wine combines with the protein in the meat to create a lush, flavorful taste. A California Merlot or a Hermitage from France’s Rhone Valley are also good choices. Open the wine 20 minutes prior to mealtime to allow for the flavors in the wine to fully develop.

Drink Chianti with a steak adorned with barbecue sauce. Chianti is the traditional wine to accompany red sauces. That’s why one drinks Chianti with spaghetti and meatballs. The high acid content in Chianti balances well with the high acid content in red sauces, such as barbecue sauce.

Serve a Red Bordeaux with grilled lamb steak. A smooth, subtle Red Bordeaux, the highly-prized product of France’s Bordeaux wine district, is the ideal companion to grilled lamb. A Spanish Rioja also pairs well with this grilled meat.

Accompany a spicy steak with a Red Zinfandel. A spicy steak, such as a “steak au poivre” or one marinated in a spicy brine, are best with a spicy wine. The full-bodied, peppery Zinfandel from California is just such a varietal.