9 Best Wine Pairing with Prime Rib


Quick Answer: Wine Pairing with Prime Rib

Prime rib is a dish that predominantly goes well with red wines. It tastes its best when paired with wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Primitivo, Merlot, Syrah, Barolo, Rioja, Grenache, and Gamay. Pair any of these wines with prime rib for a wholesome dining experience.

Here’s an ultimate guide, prepared after putting in hours of intensive research & backed by my personal experiences, that you’ll ever need to find the best wine to suit your prime rib dish and satisfy your craving for good food.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

But first, let’s get to know a bit more about prime rib before we get to know the details about the best wines to pair it with.

About Prime Rib

Prime rib is a section from a cow’s rib rack consisting of the sixth to the twelfth rib.

It weighs approximately around 20 pounds and is further segmented into the first cut comprising ribs 10 to 12 and the second cut including ribs 6 to 9.

In the US, the term “prime” is used for the highest quality of beef available.

So, drooling over prime rib already? But before that let’s find the perfect wine match for it.

Best Wines That Go With Prime Ribs

Here are my top wine picks that go well with Prime Ribs –

1. Cabernet Sauvignon

NameCabernet Sauvignon
TasteDry and fruity
Primary FlavorsBlackcurrant, cedar, oaks, herbs
AcidityHighly acidic
Serving Temperature (C)59-68 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux / Standard red
Storage (years)7-10 years
Wine BodyMedium to full
Alcohol % (ABV)Over 13.5%

Cabernet Sauvignon comes with a dark fruity taste of black cherry, blackberry, and blackcurrant with hints of vanilla, wood, and spice.

It comes with a medium to full-bodied texture, medium levels of acidity, and moderate to high tannins.

The acidity of this wine helps to cut the fats present in prime rib. It excellently strikes a balance with the flavors and heaviness of the food.

Click on the below-given link to know more about Cabernet Sauvignon:

2. Malbec

Primary FlavorsRed plum, blackberry, vanilla
AcidityMedium- low acidic
Serving Temperature (C)15- 20 degrees C
Glass TypeUniversal
Storage (years)5-10 years
Wine BodyFull-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5- 15 %

Malbec is a red wine that comes with a great structure and a chocolatey feel on the tongue. It comes with a soft and smooth texture, leaving you craving for more.

It’s lower in acidity than most wines, has moderate tannin levels, and has a full wine body. It’s a great option for people who’d like to avoid bitterness.

Malbec pairs exceptionally well with meaty dishes like prime rib due to its moderate tannins and medium acidity levels.

To better understand the nuances of Malbec, check out this quick video:

3. Primitivo (Zinfandel)

TasteSmoky and fruity
Primary FlavorsJam, blueberry, licorice
AcidityHighly acidic
Serving Temperature (C)60-65 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux
Storage (years)3-5 years
Wine BodyLight
Alcohol % (ABV)15-16%

Primitivo is a red wine that comes along with black and red fruit flavors coupled with spicy pepper notes for that much-needed zing. It comes with low tannin levels making it an easy-to-go option for roasted dishes.

Its moderate acidity and medium-bodied texture make it an excellent pair with prime rib as its spicy taste gets perfectly balanced.

Get insights regarding Primitivo through this video:

4. Merlot

TasteDark and fruity
Primary FlavorsBlack cherry, blackberry, plum, raspberry, vanilla and mocha
AcidityModerate acidity
Serving Temperature (C)60-65 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux
Storage (years)3-5 years
Wine BodyMedium to full
Alcohol % (ABV)13-14%

Merlot has a soft sensual texture that makes it a versatile beverage to go for. It comes with low tannins, while its flavors range from plums to black cherries with notes of vanilla, clove, and cedar.

You can either go for a full-bodied or light-bodied Merlot to relish along with a prime rib dish as either of the two options work well for meaty meals.

To better understand the details of Merlot, check out this quick video:

5. Syrah

OriginRhone Valley, France
Primary FlavorsBlueberry, black plum, milk chocolate
Serving Temperature (C)15-20 degrees C
Glass TypeUniversal
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyFull-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15%

Syrah is a dark-skinned grape primarily used to produce red wine. It is also known as Shiraz. It consists of meaty, spicy, and fruity flavors that suit any kind of meaty dish.

It’s an opaque wine with moderate tannin levels.

Syrah is a chewy wine with notes of tobacco and smoke making it a perfect pair for prime ribs. Also, its acidity levels are perfect to cut through the fats.

To better understand Syrah traits, check out this quick video:

6. Barolo

Origin Piedmont, Italy
Primary FlavorsRaspberry, cherry, rose
Serving Temperature (C)15-20 degrees C
Glass TypeAroma collector
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyFull-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15 %

Barolo is produced from the grapes of Nebbiolo. It is a red dry wine with fruity flavors and earthy and coffee-like notes.

It has high tannin levels that generate a structured texture to your wine.

Barolo wines are meant to be aged but a young and bold version of it is simply the best option to go for with prime rib.

Its acidity, wine body, tannin, and alcohol levels articulately are meant to go with a plate full of prime ribs.

Check out this quick video to get insights about Barolo:

7. Rioja

NameRioja Red
Primary FlavorsCherry, plum, dill, vanilla
Serving Temperature (C)12-15 degrees C
Glass TypeUniversal
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyMedium to Full-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15%

Rioja is a red wine with a moderately sweet taste and high tannin levels.

It is oaked and aged which results in the wine developing an intense fruity flavor and an excellent finish, providing you with a pleasurable dining experience.

High tannins complement meat loaded with fats just like prime ribs.

It comes with high levels of acidity and a medium wine body, making it an irresistible combination with prime ribs.

Dive deeper into the world of Rioja with this video:

8. Grenache

OriginSpain, France
Primary FlavorsGrilled plum, leather, dried herbs
Serving Temperature (C)15-20 degrees C
Glass TypeUniversal
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyMedium to full-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)More than 15%

Grenache is a red wine with juicy red fruit flavors with a dash of cinnamon-like spice. It’s thin-skinned and has a similar profile to that of Pinot Noir.

It comes with high alcohol content and moderate tannin levels. Grenache is available in a variety of styles, namely, dry, semi-dry, and sweet.

A medium-bodied white wine with moderate tannins and acidity is simply the best option to turn to for pairing with prime rib.

Get insights regarding Grenache through this video:

9. Gamay

Primary FlavorsSour Cherry, Raspberry, Currant, Cranberry, and Strawberry
AcidityHighly Acidic
Serving Temperature (C)17 - 20 degrees
Glass TypeBurgundy Wine Glass
Storage (years)1 - 3 years
Wine BodyLight-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)10 - 11%

Gamay is articulately known for its light-bodied texture, high acidity, and low tannin levels.

It’s a red wine also known as Gamay Noir as it holds a close resemblance to Pinot Noir in terms of wine body and taste.

Gamay is an excellent pick for meaty dishes like prime rib due to its light wine body and high acidity that’ll help you cut the fat.

Get to learn more about Gamay through this quick video:

Wine Pairing Guide for Prime Rib

Meaty dishes like prime ribs require a certain level of acid to cut through the fats present in the meal.

That’s a primary reason why you’ll witness structured red wines are the most lauded options to go for while on a quest for wine for prime rib.

Any wine that contains a certain proportion of fruity flavors and herbal notes will work wonders and enhance the taste of your prime rib meal. Tannic wines may solely not soothe your tongue but when paired with prime ribs, there’s certainly no turning back.

A medium-bodied red wine will perfectly poise the flavors and richness of the prime rib without overpowering the beef’s natural taste.

Full-bodied wines may overpower the taste while light-bodied ones just won’t suffice your meal.

For a truly fulfilling experience, make certain that the beef and the wine should have a terroir i.e., they both should belong to the same place of origin.

This assists the wine to complement the meat very well.

Recipe for Prime Rib Roast

Prime rib is roasted in an oven at high temperatures to attain a good browning at the exterior of the beef cut.

Later the meat is cooked at low temperatures to make sure that the central meat doesn’t get overcooked.

Prime ribs are either served rare roasted or medium-rare roasted.

For a rare roast, you cook the meat at around 46 degrees Celsius, and for a medium-rare roast, you prepare the meat at around 49 degrees Celsius.


What is the nutritional value of prime rib?

3.5 ounces of broiled prime rib contains around 205 calories, 9 g of proteins, and 9 g of fats. It also contains nutrients like thiamine, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, magnesium, and zinc.

How many people does a prime rib dish suffice?

An entire rack of prime beef consists of 7 ribs in total that will easily suffice a group of 14 to 16 individuals. You may need to cut half the beef rack, as an entire rib rack won’t fit in your oven at once.

What is the grade of prime rib meat?

Most of the prime rib meat that you order from the market are USDA Choice quality ones. While USDA Prime Ribs are the ones that have more fat marbling across the meat and they cost you approximately 50% more per pound.

Bottom Line

Now that you’ve made it to the end, I hope this article was useful enough for you to locate your ideal wine pair for prime rib.

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About Linda Walker

Linda loves anything creative, whether it be arts and crafts or cooking for her friends and family. She loves nothing more than a good netflix binge, especially thriller ones. She's a bit of a night owl, and is usually up until the early hours of the morning working on her craft projects. She lives with six pets who are all her furry children.