5 Best Wines to Pair with Ribeye Steak

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Quick Answer: Ribeye Steak Wine Pairing

The ribeye steak remains incomplete without wines like the delicious Sauvignon Cabernet, the spicy Zinfandel, a Shiraz, a Merlot, or even a delicious Pinot Noir. It is generally a good idea to go with wines with a higher amount of tannins that help to cut through the spice in the steak.

Ribeye steaks make one heck of a meal.

What makes it absolutely perfect, is a delicious glass of wine to go with it.

Picking the right wine can be a bit of a task, though, but I am here to help! This guide will take you through all that you need to know about pairing the perfect wine with steak!

Without further ado, let us get right into it.

About Ribeye Steak

Rib-eye steaks, one of the most common and best types of steak, come from the beef rib primal cut; the corresponding roast is the prime rib.

Rib-eye steaks, sometimes called beauty steaks, are tender, juicy, and very flavorful, with just the right amount of fat. Fast cooking methods using high heat produce the most delectable results.

Best Wines to Pair with Ribeye Steak

Red wine pairs nicely with red meat due to the harmonious combination of red wine tannins and red meat protein. The protein in beef binds the tannins and suddenly the fat in the meat smooths even the driest wines.

The goal is not to cover up the bitter notes of the red wine, but rather, to balance them out with the proteins to enhance the flavor and aroma between the two extremes.

Now that you know about the ribeye steak and the basic guideline of pairing it, let’s get into the top recommendations of wine!

1. Cabernet Sauvignon

NameCabernet Sauvignon
OriginFrance
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 is a full-bodied, acidic wine made from the international red wine grape variety of the same name. It has strong tannins that mellow with age.

The cabernet sauvignon grape is a hybrid grape, originally formed by the crossing of cabernet franc (a red grape) and sauvignon blanc (a white grape).

The wine is dry (not sweet) and has a healthy level of tannin, which is why your mouth dries out when you sip it.

Many people who drink Cabernet Sauvignon say they always pick up a taste of green pepper in the wine, along with tobacco, cassis, and dark fruits such as cherries, along with a hint of vanilla that comes from the wine aging in the oak.

All of these go excellently with ribeye steak!

An aged Cabernet Sauvignon is exceptional with steak, provided the tannin in the wine is soft.

You’ll also get notes of chocolate, vanilla, black pepper, leather, smoke, and tobacco that complement the seared, grilled flesh of your ribeye steak.

The rarer your steak, the better it will pair with a younger Cabernet Sauvignon. If the wine is cooked medium or longer, a lot of the flavor and fat will be cooked out of your steak.

In this instance, you’ll want a more mature Cabernet Sauvignon to pair up with your Ribeye steak as the tannin will be softer and the flavors will be more subdued, matching the less flavorful nature of a Ribeye Steak cooked well done.

You can also check out this video guide for more information on this wine!

2. Zinfandel

NameZinfandel
OriginCroatia
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%

The Zinfandel is a beautiful choice of wine to have with some ribs.

The primary flavors of Zinfandel are jam, blueberry, black pepper, cherry, plum, boysenberry, cranberry, and licorice.

When you taste a Zinfandel, it often explodes with candied fruitiness followed by spice and often a tobacco-like smoky finish, that perfectly complements ribs, like no other. It is a combination to die for.

I like to call Zinfandel a “fruit bomb” because it can have flavors anywhere from raspberry and black cherry to black plum, blackberry, and raisin.

Often the fruit character is stewed, which contrasts incredibly well with the grilled flavors of the ribeye steak.

When pairing Zinfandel with Ribeye Steak, I would highly recommend a full-bodied, fruit-bomb Zinfandel that is high in alcohol.

These huge, Monster Truck wines in a bottle are bursting with ripe fruit flavors of blackberry, black cherry, plum and raspberry that offer a refreshing contrast against the Ribeye’s robust meat flavors.

The black pepper, spice and smoky flavors add even more enjoyment to this pairing.

You can also go ahead and check out this efficient guide which covers more or less everything you need to know about the delicious white wine Zinfandel and how to go about pairing it with dishes:

3. Shiraz

NameShiraz
OriginFrance
TasteDry and full of tannins
Primary FlavorsVanilla, red, and black fruits
AcidityBrisk acidity
Serving Temperature (C)60-65 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux
Storage (years)5-10 years
Wine BodyFull
Alcohol % (ABV)13-14%

Shiraz is another crowd-pleasing pairing with Beef Ribs as the wine’s fruity blackberry and toasty vanilla notes offers a very nice combination for the savory and grilled flavors of your ribeye steak.

You will also find a ripple of black pepper that teases your taste buds as it merges with those delicious steak flavors.

Shiraz is made in a variety of styles although, more often than not, the wines tend to be big and bold.

The flavor profiles of shiraz are heavily dependent on the vinification techniques used; it’s vinified and aged in a variety of vessels, ranging from oak to steel, cement, and beyond.

Australian Shiraz is, therefore, a wine that pairs well with a variety of steak cuts. Its spice peppery and fruity flavor allow it to complement the bold flavor of red meat.

It also has good levels of acidity and tannin, which enables it to cut through the fat of marbled steak perfectly.

Here is a very helpful guide where you can find more information on the Shiraz wine and how to perfectly pair it with a plate of delightful ribs.

4. Merlot

NameMerlot
OriginFrance
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 is one of the world’s most popular red wines, and America’s favorite after Cabernet Sauvignon.

Known for its soft, sensual texture and approachable style, it’s made from red-skinned grapes that can adapt to a variety of climates to produce food-friendly wines at many price points.

Merlot can be velvety and plummy, or rich and oaky.

There’s something for everyone, which is why Merlot is adored.

Originating from Bordeaux, Merlot is widely known for its soft tannin. Although this wine has a minimal acidic and tannin content, it still has enough of these elements to make a good complement for steak.

Merlot wine is able to cut through the fats available in robust meats. Furthermore, its mild fruity flavor allows the juicy and rich flavor of steak to shine.

There is no doubt that steak and wine are like soulmates.

Therefore, if you pair them correctly, they have the ability to bring out the best in each other.

When you want to achieve the right combination, you ought to know that not all wine will go well with your steak.

The reason behind this is that you need a wine that has a good acid and tannin content to balance the rich texture of your steak.

Red wines like the widely loved Merlot isideal for this purpose because it contains a good amount of tannin, which goes perfectly with the proteins and fats in the steak.

You can also check out this very efficient video guide that tells you everything that you need to know about Merlot and more:

5. Pinot Noir

NamePinot noir
OriginFrance
TasteDry and sweet
Primary FlavorsCherry and raspberry
AcidityBright acidity
Serving Temperature (C)55-60 degrees 
Glass TypeBurgundy
Storage (years)5 years
Wine BodyLight - Medium
Alcohol % (ABV)12-15%

Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape variety that is native to Burgundy, France. Pinot Noir wines are light to medium body and range in style from light and fruity to complex with aging capability.

Pinot Noir is produced around the world despite being notoriously difficult to grow.

The fruity and acidic body of Pinot Noir ensures that this red wine can cut through the rich spices in your ribeye steak. Meanwhile, the forest floor flavors will complement the herby notes in the dish excellently.

For ribeye steak dusted in an earthy dry rub, a subtle Pinot Noir makes for an excellent pairing.

Dry rub ribs need a subdued and elegant wine like Pinot Noir, as boisterous red wines will crush their delicate flavors.

Most Pinot Noir wines tend to sit at the light to the medium-bodied end of the spectrum, and its profile is often therefore paired-up with lighter meats.

Yet Pinot Noir’s natural acidity and bright, red berry fruit can work with your steak dinner, depending on the style and the cut.

Note that the richer flavors rely on the Pinot Noir for weight and texture though they would get blotted out by heavier wines like the Cabernet.

Smoked meats—especially those with a bacon accent—are also best served with Pinot Noir, playing off the smoky, tea-leaf flavors of the wine.

Also, don’t forget to check out this guide to know more about the exquisite wine that is the Pinot Noir:

Wine Pairing Guide with Ribeye Steak

Here’s the thing about pairing red wine with steak – it’s hard to go wrong if you just choose your favorite!

I would highly recommend going with any of the wines presented to you on this list, such as a Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Sauvignon – or a blend of any sort.

Fine dining is all about finding your own personal preferences and favorites.

Sure, it’s nice to try new things every once in a while, but if you have a red wine that you absolutely love, you should ignore all of our advice – and pair it with your next steak!

The rule of thumb when pairing with steak is to choose dry red wines – leaner cuts of meat pair with lighter wines, while richer, fattier cuts pair up with high tannin wines that can cut through the fat.

But the more tailored your pairing is to the cut of steak you’re making, the deeper and more sophisticated your dining experience.

FAQs

Can I pair a Barolo with my ribeye steak?

Yes, absolutely. The fat and protein soften the tannin, allowing Barolo’s blackberry, cherry, and plum flavors to shine through. You’ll also get lovely notes of truffle, cocoa, licorice, leather, tar, and tobacco, which make this combination fit for royalty.

Does Bordeaux pair well with ribeye steak?

Bordeaux is a blended French wine that may contain Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. As mentioned in this list, they pair excellently with ribeye steak!

Bottom Line

We hope this detailed guide has helped you understand how to pair delicious wines with your ribeye steak.

Let us know if you have any other tips or hacks you have figured out 🙂

Do share it with your friends and other wine lovers! Enjoy!

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About Irene Clark

Irene is a supermom of 4 kids who always has a smile on her face. She's an amazing dancer - you should see her moves! - and she loves to eat, especially with wine. She also loves pop music and travels across the country with her family and friends.

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