Check out these expert tips from Richard Moriarty, Superquinn’s senior wine buyer, on how to selecting the perfect steak and wine. Superquinn are having a Steak and Wine Sale until the 19th of June so now is the perfect time to put Richard’s advice into practice.
“Before I go into the findings from this tasting, first a little bit of Science!! We all know that the flavour of red wine complements the flavour of steaks, but down at the molecular level something more complex is going on whereby, the wine affects the flavour of the steak and vice versa. This happens because the tannin that you find in red wine bonds very easily to protein, which is found in your saliva and also the protein of the steak itself. This has two effects, firstly by bonding with the protein in your saliva this increases your level of saliva, which then helps to break down the steak when you are chewing. Secondly the tannins bond with the protein in the steak that helps to break down the steak as well
“What you end up with is the tannin in the wine softening out the steak and the protein in the steak softening out the tannins. A win-win situation for both
“And so onto the findings of the tasting”
“I wouldn’t normally think of Pinot Noir as a match for steak but the best pairing by far when it was cooked rare, was a Red Burgundy (our SQ Pommard 2009). A 2010 Spy Valley Pinot Noir tasted slightly too sweet but worked better when the fillet was served medium-rare and had acquired more caramelisation. It was also good if you served the fillet with béarnaise sauce. The medium-rare fillet also went particularly well with a Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011 which is a young wine that has enough power to cope with the texture and yet not too much flavour so that it overpowers the steak, this is particularly important if you do not have a sauce with your steak”
“Sirloin, in my view, is the ideal cut for serving blue because it has so much flavour of its own it doesn’t need to rely on caramelisation. This was where I thought our most tannic wine, a blockbuster 2008 Madiran would score. It was a fair match, but the barely cooked meat had the effect of unbalancing the wine and making it taste slightly sweet, as it did the Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe. The outstanding matches were the 2010 Bordeaux from Alexis Lichine and the 2010 Malbec from Dona Paula, both still quite youthful so the barely cooked meat had the effect of making them taste at their peak.
“They also showed well when the sirloin was cooked medium, as did a very attractive 2005 SQ St Emilion”
“Rib-eye has more fat than other cuts so go for a slightly longer cooking time to allow it to integrate with the meat. It makes for a juicier and more flavourful steak. Here it was fascinating how much difference the cooking time made. When it was served medium rare it paired best with a 2009 SQ Saint Joseph and a 2010 Chianti Barone Ricasoli both of which are ripe and full-bodied, but the slightly higher acidity in the Chianti helped to cut through the higher levels of fat in the steak
“Once it was cooked medium both those wines showed more youthful angularity and the smoother Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe and Argentine Malbec became the better matches. When it was medium/well done, the longest cooked steak I had in the tasting, it changed again, tuning in with the riper, more fruit-driven wines like the Wyndham Estate Shiraz 2009. The Red Burgundy that I’d enjoyed with the fillet, by contrast, didn’t taste as remotely as good.”
“Before I wrap up, I also would like to touch on the thorny subject of matching white wine with steak. I’ve never been one to follow convention, and if you don’t like red wine, it doesn’t matter what wine you choose you just aren’t going to appreciate how well it may match your steak. So if you are a white wine drinker, there are a few findings from my tasting that may help you.
“CUT – Go for a leaner cut of steak such as a fillet
“COOK – Go for a short cooking time as white wines tend to pair better with rare steak
“SAUCE – Maybe go for a creamier sauce on your steak and match the wine with this”
“This tasting was a real eye opener l and I revised my cherished opinions about wine and steak. In a nutshell - if you like your steak rare stick to leaner, more classic wines whereas if you like it better done (and therefore more heavily caramelised) go for riper, more fruit driven ones.”