One of the foundational rules of pairing food and wine is “serve red meat with red wine”. This simple adage has worked well for generations of taste buds. The term “red wine” represents a wide range of different wines. Factors including grape varietals, growing regions and vintages determine the final aroma, flavor and finish of the wine poured into your glass.

The general rule of thumb is to pair wines to steaks based on the amount of marbling. Pair leaner steaks with lighter reds and higher marbled steaks with more full-bodied wines.

Two key elements of wine that affect the taste and sensation of wine are tannins and acidity. While each of us may perceive these differently, in general tannins provide a bitter note and make your palate feel dry while acidity is sour and causes your mouth to salivate.

Here are some recommendations to help with pairing wine with steak for your next dinner. The suggestions are based on the steak served, since each cut has its own unique amount of marbling, juiciness and flavor. 

Best Wine with Ribeye Steak

Ribeyes are highly marbled steaks with a rich, beefy flavor. The intense marbling and high fat content benefits wines with a full body, higher levels of tannins and strong acidity. 

Cabernet Sauvignon 

A full-bodied wine and a great choice to serve with ribeyes. There are many regions that produce excellent cabs. The Napa Valley and Bordeaux are two well-known producers, but also try Spanish cabs from the Maipo Valley for a change of pace. 

Syrah (or Shiraz)  

A bold red wine with a strong body, rich tannins with hints of fruit and spice that cuts and compliments the high level of intramuscular fat in a ribeye steak. Walla Walla Syrahs are one of our favorite choices due to their proximity to our ranches. Also try Syrah from the Rhone Valley in France  and Australia’s Barossa Valley. 

Petite Sirah 

Despite the similar spelling to “syrah” this wine is made from Durif grapes instead of Syrah. Petite Sirah stands up to the richness of ribeyes and is packed with tannins and tastes of black fruit, pepper and anise. California is one of the largest producers of Petite Syrah.  

Best Wine with New York Strip Steak

The NY Strip steak is a flavorful steak with a tight grain and abundant marbling. While not as beefy as a ribeye, the strip has a robust, juicy flavor. This steak pairs well with wines with medium to high levels of tannins and acidity.


Here’s a wine that is the pride of Argentina, a country known for its love of steak. Malbec has a full body, a medium tannin level with flavors hinting of dark stone fruit and sweet spice. A balanced velvety finish works well with NY strip steaks.


Made from Nebbiolo grapes, Barolo is a wine from Northern Italy. While many premier Borolos are from older vintages, younger versions of the wine are tannin forward but not overly intense. The flavor of berries comes through with a balanced level of acidity.  

Châteauneuf -du-Pape 

Primarily sourced from the Rhone Valley, this wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. This threesome of grapes combines for a varied array of aromas and flavors that come together for a unique wine with crisp acidity that is very steak-friendly. 

Best Wine with Filet Mignon (Tenderloin)

A filet mignon is the most tender steak with less marbling and a more subtle beef flavor than other steakhouse cuts. Wines with a lower level of tannins and a fruit forward profile are good pairings with this elegant steak.

Pinot Noir 

This is a lighter red wine with smooth tannins and bright fruit flavors that pairs wonderfully with the mild flavor and tender texture of filet mignon. Oregon’s Willamette Valley has emerged as an excellent producer of Pinot Noirs. The classic (and pricey) versions of this wine are from Burgandy. For excellent value, try some of the good quality Pinot Noirs from Chile and Argentina. 


Merlot is a popular varietal that is very approachable due to its medium body, moderate tannins and a fruit forward profile. This popular wine is produced throughout the world. Washington state is the home of many excellent versions. Other great choices come from California and Bordeaux, France.

Chianti Classico 

A well-known Italian wine from the Tuscany region, Chianti has a vibrant acidity, medium body and smooth tannins. Hints of cherries and earthiness pair well with the lower levels of marbling found in the filet mignon. 

Best Wine to Pair with Steak - You're the Expert

Keep in mind your own personal taste is ultimately the guide for the best wine with steak. If you love Malbecs, you won’t be disappointed sharing them with a filet mignon. The world won’t end of you enjoy a good Pinot Noir with a ribeye.

Yes, there are traditions, science and expert opinions to lead you to the “perfect” wine to enjoy with a steak, but feel free to sit back and enjoy your favorite wine with any Snake River Farms steak.   

Best Wine with Steak