Things to consider when pairing wine with steak are the cut, its fat content and your preferred cooking point (rare, medium, well-done). Full-bodied red wines are the way to go. Here are various options...
Which wine for which cut of steak?
For cuts with intramuscular fat, like ribeye or porterhouse, you can comfortably go for reds with tannic structure, like Nebbiolo, i.e. a Barolo from Piedmont or Cabernet Sauvignon-based reds. An off the beaten track option would be Xinomavro from Greece. These wines’ tannins and herbal savour marry beautifully with the marbling and fat.
Leaner cuts, like rump, sirloin or fillet, go better with softer, mellower tannin structures like those in mature Rioja or Merlot-based Bordeaux blends - – ideally with five plus years of bottle age. Their velvety expression suits the tenderness of the meat.
Medium to well done is your preferred cooking?
For rare and just about still medium cooked steaks, the above advice holds. For more than medium and well-done steak, a juicy yet full-bodied red wine will substitute the lost moisture of the steak with lively, ripe fruit expression. Shiraz from Barossa or Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley are ideal: they have power, a high tannin content but also ripeness.
Steak cooked on the barbecue?
As soon as you fire up your beloved BBQ and enhance your steak with some beautiful smoky flavours, choose a red wine which has power and concentration in equal measure. Malbecs from Argentina have a soft, fine-grained tannin structure, yet still enough power, so does Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our six golden rules for wine and food pairing can also help you on a more general level.