Top Wines with Meat

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Pairing the perfect wine with meat is an ancient marriage. The juices of the flesh mingled with the bounty of the vineyard provides the complement or contrast that elevates the essence of both. It’s important to understand the properties of each type of meat – the depth of its taste, whether it’s heavy or light, fatty or salty or not - to know which wine will bring out its best elements.

The basics

The timeless principles remain: red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat. But these guidelines are only the very beginning of the decision-making process. Because while a roast lamb deserves a deep Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for example, a curry, or another spicy recipe, could be well-paired with a fresh rosé.

Let’s look at the various meats and their very best pairing partners.

Beef

It’s essential to start with beef, because how could one possibly enjoy a steak to its ideal capacity without the sweet, acidic nip of a bold red wine? The cut is the decisive factor: marbled, or fatty, meat works with a palate-cleansing wine with a high tannin count. A Bordeaux, surely – but for an intense contrast, to, say, Wagyu beef or a filet mignon, you could not fault a Pomerol Clos L’Eglise or Chateau Trotanoy.

A lean sirloin steak needs a lighter, more acidic red to take on its texture. 

Traditional roast beef (and Yorkshire pudding) will be full of flavor from the meat and, specifically, its gravy. It would need a powerful wine such as an Italian Piedmont like G.D. Vajra: Alde to savor over a lazy lunch.

Pork

On the subject of a Sunday roast, pork with apple sauce and crackling is a dish – along with veal – that works brilliantly with either a fruity red, or a fresh Riesling – like a Maison Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Émile. 

Pork is perhaps the most versatile of meats, with infinite guises. Smoked, salted pork, be it ham, bacon or charcuterie is a world away from its white mince in Asian dishes.

With charcuterie, it is worth remembering that salt softens the acidity in wine, so it’s wise to choose fresher, high-acid options.

A word on veal – it is particularly tender and lean. Often prepared with lemon, or in plainer-flavored sauces, the meat could be balanced with a floral Chardonnay. A Macon-Villages Chateau Mirande would be a good match for it.

Lamb

Lamb is the best meat to absorb herbs and flavors, but it is more delicate than beef and requires a wine which, though rich, is lower in tannin. A young, or spring lamb, is lighter yet, and would work well with a Burgundy Pinot Noir such as Domaine Faiveley’s Mercurey Village “La Framboisiere” Monopole. 

A lamb stew sees the meat slow-cooked in its own juices and fat and would be delightfully brought out with a fruity Italian red, such as a Italian Sangiovese like a Poliziano Rosso Montepulciano.

Game and poultry

The game category is varied – duck, venison and partridge are only a few – but their similarity lies in their leanness and robust flavors.

The season is in the autumn and winter, when deep reds fit in so well, and it is this richness that is needed. A low tannin but characterful wine, like a Seghesio Zinfandel from Sonoma County, would be an excellent choice to take on those textures. 

For the white meats of turkey and chicken, an Oregon Seven Springs Evening Lands Chardonnay is fresh and lacking in oakiness, delicious with roast turkey or herb-infused chicken, equally befitting a pie or casserole around these white meats.

Wine trends come and go but you can’t go wrong with the classic pairings given here. Cooking at home – or taking a bottle as a guest – with the best combination in mind will make for a fabulous synthesis of flavor. Whatever the meat, and whatever way it is served, there is a wine that will make it sing.

About Pomerol wine

The smallest appellation in the famous Bordeaux region famed for its unique terroir, Pomerol’s chateaux produce an exclusive range of wines.

It is in ideal conditions that the Merlot grape is grown, alongside Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Pomerol wines are famed for their “dense and velvety texture” and grand capacity to age, according to wine experts Millesima.

About Millesima

Millesima is a family-owned business based in historic Bordeaux, France. It offers a wide selection of wines: red, rosé, white and sparkling wines are available on its website and in its New York boutique. All the wines highlighted here are available via Millesima.

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