It’s one of the most classic pairings and it’s also the subject of one of the most popular questions we get asked: “What wine do you recommend with steak?” The traditional answer: a dry red wine. But why not go deeper into it? After all, everyone has their choice cut of steak and not everyone will love a Cabernet Sauvignon. So that’s what we’re going to do in this blog post: pair wines depending on the cut and preparation of the steak and give a glimpse into the world of pairing white wine with steak.
For those who just want the general guidelines, your best bet is lighter wine with lean cuts of meat and high tannin red for fattier cuts. But if you read to the end, you’ll get that much closer to mastering the art of pairing wine with steak.
One of the most common steak cuts, sirloin is fairly lean with light marbling and often has a strip of fat along the edge. French Syrah is a great option, especially if you’re cooking your sirloin with a butter sauce. However, if you’re not a fan of French Syrah other great options include Spanish Tempranillo and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Whichever you choose, just remember to take into account how you’re preparing your sirloin. If you’re just using salt and pepper you can pair it with nearly any wine, however, if you’re using lots of spices then go for a wine that is lighter and maybe even slightly sweet.
Rich and tasty, the ribeye has lots of marbling and is naturally very tender. It’s because of its higher fat content, we recommend a high tannin wine to cut through the fat or a wine with strong fruit flavors for a contrast. The classic go-to is a Cabernet Sauvignon and it's particularly fantastic if you opt for a rosemary pan cook for your ribeye. Alternatively, if you prefer cooking on the grill, you can go for Sonoma County or Napa Valley Zinfandel. Another great option is Amarone with its rich, smoky, and cherry-driven palate.
Often with a tender filet side and a firmer strip side, the porterhouse (as well as the t-bone) cut is fairly lean. For the ideal pairing you should look to an aromatic and flavorful red that complements the combination of filet and strip. A Nebbiolo, or Barolo, is a style and aromatic option with grippy tannins. However, if you’re looking for a unique experience in how pairing wine with food can change flavors of both, look to an Aglianico: a rich red from Italy’s south that on its own is very meaty, but paired with steak brings out plenty of fruit.
The filet, or the Cadillac of steak cuts as some may call it, is lean, tender, and flavorful. Often served with sauces but it’s also fantastic with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. We recommend opting for a wine that has complementary flavors and will assist in bringing out all of the filet flavors without stepping on its toes. Some of our favorites include a Merlot from Bordeaux or Washington State and Touriga Nacional which is fantastic for steak au poivre.
A popular value choice, whilst the strip has more connective tissue than other steak cuts it is still tasty and tender when cooked the right way. Since it is a thicker grain cut, it will need a wine that can complement the flavor and cut through the fat. In other words, it needs a wine with high acidity and strong tannins. That’s why one of our favorite pairings is a GSM Blend. Made up of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, some of the best GSM wines come from the Rhône Valley in France. However, other fantastic options are Blaufränkisch, a fantastic red wine that can be found in Austria and Germany, and South African Bordeaux-style blends that can be fruit-forward and earthy at the same time.
Firm but highly flavorful, rump steaks will benefit from marinating. However, this can throw off your wine selection so you have to be mindful of what sauces or ingredients you’re using before choosing your wine. If you know your rump is going to be very meaty in flavor, Mourvèdre from France or Spain will do great as it’s often a peppery and robust wine that can stand up to those flavors. On the other hand, if you’re opting for something like a chimichurri sauce then a Chilean Carménère will be fantastic. Another good choice for a marinated rump steak is an Italian Dolcetto with dark berry flavors, soft acidity, and high tannins.
Most often prepared by cooking slowly and over low heat, your wine pairing with brisket will likely be informed by the type of fuel used in the smoker as well as by the sauce. We love a good Australian Shiraz as it's a smoother option with slightly less tannin that can bring out smokiness and has blueberry-blackberry notes. Petite Sirah from the US is another great option with strong tannins that cut through the richness of brisket and barbecue.
Whilst red wine and steak is the traditional pairing, and often still the best way to go for very fatty cuts, there’s no reason a well-chosen white wine can’t pair with your steak. If you like dry-aging your steak, you might notice that it can have flavors of buttered popcorn, which actually makes it great for pairing with white wine. Our recommendation? Chablis: it has enough acidity to accentuate the flavors rather than compete.
The key to pairing is to think about your favorite elements of steak and find a complementary pairing. For instance, if you like a crispy exterior that’s a bit salty, a white Rhone Valley wine will do great as will a Blanc de Blanc Champagne. Another great white wine that can pair well with steak is a Chardonnay. However, avoid those oaky and buttery styles from California. Instead, look to those from Australia that have a higher acidity.
Remember, it’s all about experimentation. Everyone's taste is their own; we recommend using our suggestions as a jumping-off point to discovering your favorite wine pairings. After all, there are no wrong answers especially if you enjoy it.
If you want to hone in your cooking skills when it comes to steak, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite places to buy steak in Metro Manila.
If you love ribeyes this is the place to get them. Primebeef has a fantastic array of aged Angus steaks depending on your preferences and you can easily order it online. They also have a great selection of wagyu beef, grass-fed beef, as well as ribs and lamb.
Co-owned by Erwan Heusaff and Nico Bolzico, Chingolo Deli has a distinctive beef flavor in its cuts of ribeye and tenderloin. They also carry Nico Bolzico’s own brand of grass-fed and organic Angus beef from Argentina. You can order from them directly or through Grab Food, Food Panda, and Pickaroo.
The SoLo Meat Group handpicks their meats to guarantee their quality and carry 100% grain-fed Australian Wagyu, O’Connner beef, and black Angus tomahawk steak. They also have a retail-ready range together with Harvey Beef so that you can enjoy organic medallion steak, natural ribeye steak, as well as other types of meat like lamb.
On the more expensive side, Kitayama Meat Shop specializes in Wagyu. However, if you’re willing to spend, you won’t be disappointed with their Wagyu ribeye, Wagyu ribeye cap, and Wagyu sirloin strip. You can browse their products on both their Facebook and Instagram pages and order through their Viber which you can find through their social pages.
Meat Depot has multiple branches where you can buy steaks from or have them delivered to you. They have an array of options such as ribeye, t-bone, porterhouse, prime rib, whole slabs and more.
If you’re looking to go out on a date or just enjoy a great steak out in the city, these are some of our favorite steak houses in Metro Manila — but we’re sure you’ve heard about most of them already.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse was established by Wolfgang Zweiner who worked for 40 years in Peter Luger Steakhouse and now has multiple branches around Metro Manila. While a bit pricey, the steaks will never let you down, and if you aren’t convinced you should know that Zweiner purchased a million peso aging room for his dry-aged steaks, so you know that quality is a priority. However, with that comes some pricier steaks but nevertheless, it’s a great restaurant for special occasions.
For many people, Elbert’s Steak Room is one of their number one steak houses and definitely one you should check out if you’re in the Salcedo area. They specialize in prime-grade and USDA-certified premium meats imported from Wisconsin. Other than their meat, people also love Elbert’s because of the privacy of their restaurants - so if you’re someone that prefers that environment, definitely give them a visit.
Whilst Raging Bull has their burger restaurant on the first floor of Shangri-La at the Fort, they also have Raging Bull Chophouse and Grill where casual and fine-dining meet. Specializing in dry-aged and grain- and grass-fed beef, they have suppliers from all over the world. Some of the bestsellers include the Tomahawk Wagyu from Australia and the Robbins Island 22 day dry-aged Wagyu.
You’ll find I’m Angus Steak House along Yakal Street in San Antonio Village, Makati. It’s managed by Werner Berger with the aim of raising the standard of excellence when it comes to steak houses. When you eat here you’ll get to experience the freshness of their food as there’s clear glass to the kitchen.
A classic date night and family dining restaurant, Mamou is known for its steak and the consistency of its juicy, dry-aged steak. But it’s not only the food that people rave about when it comes to Mamou: it’s also its casual ambiance that makes you feel at home. A winning combo is their steak with their truffle pasta.
If you’re a fan of Argentinian grilling, then La Cabrera is the steakhouse to check out if you haven’t already. Run by Chef Augustin Figuero, their grilling technique is kept under lock and key. In terms of cuts, they have the usual ribeye as well as more unconventional cuts such as picanha, skirt steak, and short ribs.