Wine by Pete Stewart
A classic food and wine match is steak with a structured, tannic red such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. But are we over-simplifying our choice? How do you like your steak – rare, medium-rare, or burnt to a crisp? And will you be having fillet, rib-eye or sirloin? With a peppercorn, blue cheese or bearnaise sauce? Do you cook it in the oven, on a hot grill or on the barbecue?
Leaner cuts of meat such as fillets are better with wines with softer tannins. For example, a rare fillet is perfectly partnered with a good red Burgundy such as a Gevrey-Chambertin or a Nuits-SaintGeorges.
Steak tartare is tricky, but try it with a nice Julienas and you won’t be disappointed. A rare sirloin is the one to go with Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. The fats and proteins in the meat will soften the effect of the tannins on the palate, making the steak and the wine taste better. If you cook your steak for longer, you’ll lose some fat from the meat and the big, tannic wine will taste slightly bitter as a result. A better match would be a more mature Bordeaux, or perhaps a super Tuscan.
If you’re cooking on the barbecue, and serving with a peppercorn sauce, try an Australian Shiraz. So, you have lots of options and you should enjoy experimenting.
If you’re going all out for the rare fillet, you should spoil yourself with a bottle of the Maison du Tastelune Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers 2011 (M&S, £52). This is richer than the wines from neighbouring estates and is made without the use of herbicides or pesticides. It’s expensive, but it will be lovely with your fillet.
The Malbec to grace your wine rack this weekend is the Catena Malbec 2015 (Majestic, £13.99). This has all the tannins to match the rare sirloin, and it has a lovely spicy note which helps to echo the extra flavours in a peppered steak, or one served with a peppercorn sauce. It’s a good all-rounder and doesn’t overly impact your wallet.