Wine with pasta and steak are some of the most classic food pairings, and learning how to choose the perfect pour for your dish is sure to boost your culinary experience. The best part about the versatility of wine and steakhouse staples? You can mix and match pairings to have a unique and delicious meal every time. Whether pairing red wine with a bone-in New York strip or white wine with shrimp scampi, this wine pairing guide will teach you what wine goes best with which dish, whether you’re drinking a light-bodied white or a full-bodied red.
Barolo, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon
Pair bold and structured reds with elaborately rich dishes. When you think of hearty and comforting meals that will leave you feeling full, like a hearty steak, reach for a glass of a heavy red wine. The more cheese, cream, red meat, and butter, the better! As you move up the scale in richness, move up in body. A full-bodied red is rich in tannins, and will aid in breaking down proteins in the heavy meats and sauces, in turn helping with digestion. In other words, don’t be afraid to order your favorite heavy dish filled with braised beef of truffles.
Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Montepulciano
Tomato-based sauces and medium red wines go hand in hand. The acidity of the tomatoes plays well with a tart red that has just the right balance of acidity and tannins itself. It’s beneficial, too, that some of the most famous Italian wines fit into this category. Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Chianti, and Super Tuscan wines are the perfect partners for flavorful, tomato-based Italian dishes that will transport you straight to Tuscany. Once you add in heavier flavor profiles into your pastas, work your way closer to the heavy-bodied reds.
Pinot Noir, Gamay, Schiava
If you fancy a rich dish with earthy undertones, pour yourself a light-bodied red. Cream sauces with mushrooms, truffles, and saffron can be rich, so a light red wine pairing with pasta of this kind introduces a bright dimension to the intense sharpness in cheese. The earthiness of root vegetables and mushrooms play well with the floral notes in light-bodied reds. If working with a tomato-based sauce, lean toward rustic sauces like a ragu or puttanesca, and pair it with a light red with a hint of spice.
Chardonnay, Viognier, Marssanne
Creamy sauces, as mentioned earlier, pair wonderfully well with light-bodied reds. However, a heavy white wine adds a whole new dimension to wine pairings. Embrace the richness of cheese pastas and cream with an equally “creamy” white. A buttery Chardonnay will add a layer of indulgence to cheeses like ricotta, especially if the wine has been aged in oak barrels. Heavy-bodied white wines also pair well with decadent pork chop dishes, especially when combined with hearty herbs and vegetables.
Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc
Medium-bodied white wines are the perfect companions to pasta, as they can pair with a wide range of flavors. The not-quite-heavy, not-quite-light characteristics of these white wines make them versatile for heavier seafood dishes that are too rich for a light white, or lighter cheese pastas that are too light for a more robust white. Try pairing these whites with pastas that have meatier vegetables like artichokes and mushrooms, and try out a lighter cheese like goat cheese or feta, and you’ll find a flavor profile worth dreaming about.
Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Muscadet
When your meal is light, don’t overpower it with a heavy wine. Instead, the best wine for a meal simply dressed with oils or a fresh sauce is a light white wine. Fresh coastal flavors and Mediterranean ingredients like light seafood require acidic white wines to enhance the sense of brightness. Pasta primavera with green vegetables, such as artichoke and broccolini, pairs well with a floral light-bodied white with lemon notes. If your lighter dish happens to include tomato, like with a cioppino, add some color to your wine with a rosé, or make your way to a light-bodied red.
Now that your palate is ready to experience the finer things in life, and you understand that you should be reaching for a pinot noir when truffles are introduced, treat your taste buds to a night out. Make a reservation at Andiamo for your favorite dish, from a light shrimp scampi to a hearty steak, and find your perfect food and wine pairing with your steakhouse meal!