The candles are lit, dinner’s hot in the oven, and you’re ready to crack open a bottle of wine — but which grape goes with what meal?
The general rule of thumb is that as the meat gets leaner, the wine should get lighter. Of course, the only opinion that truly matters is yours (and your dinner date’s!), and your personal preference reigns supreme.
Not a wine aficionado? No sweat. Ahead, we’ve rounded up a few go-to wine selections for your next meat-centric meal.
Cabernet Sauvignon with Roasted Rack of Lamb
Have a family gathering in your future? A roasted rack of lamb is a holiday classic, and equally classic is its pairing with a cabernet sauvignon. Lamb is generally more delicate in flavor than most beef, and the deep, intense flavor of a cab is ideal — whether it’s for a crowd or an intimate dinner for two,
Zinfandel with Pork Chops
While pork is considered a relatively neutral meat, it’s certainly far from flavorless. Pork is incredibly versatile, and can usually be paired with either red or white wine — and that goes for pork chops, too. It all boils down to your preference and what else you’re serving up with your chops. You want a wine with enough acidity to stand up to the taste (especially if your sides include classic staples like savory mushrooms or potatoes) and a sweet, light zinfandel is up to the task.
Chardonnay with King Crab Legs
A slightly fuller-bodied white wine, chardonnay is a great choice for richer seafood, like King Crab legs. Since chardonnay is a dry wine, it goes great with the rich flavor of crab meat – just don’t forget to put those pinkies up when you’re cracking into the claw.
Red Wine with Wagyu
A bold red wine with steak is an iconic pairing, and the possibilities are endless. More fatty cuts pair well with cabernets thanks to their high acidity levels; malbecs with a fruity flavor and bold scent would be well-suited to leaner cuts; and a heavy, robust syrah is a great match for a ribeye. But don’t overthink it too much — when it comes to red wine with steak, it’s hard to go wrong.
Without a doubt, a well-selected wine can elevate a meal to an entirely new level. Don’t be bashful! The best way to learn is to sip, sample, and savor various wine and meat pairings until you find a flavor combination that hits a high note. After all, the right wine is the one you love!