One of my favorite ways to enjoy wine is while enjoying a great meal. For me, selecting a bottle which will complement the meal is very important. When it comes to a steak dinner many people will often think that a Cabernet Sauvignon is the best choice. This is understandable because of the rich full bodied and tannic nature of the Cabernet being able to hold up to the strong flavor of this hearty meal. However, you should consider the cut of meat that you will be enjoying before deciding on the wine.
Recently, I was pleasantly reminded of a varietal that is often overlooked. The Tempranillo grape. Specifically one from the Rioja or Ribera del Duero regions of Spain. We were to be enjoying a Ribeye steak. I have often experienced, read and/or been informed that a tannic Cabernet Sauvignon is the way to go for this cut of meat because it works well with the higher fat content. On this night things would be different.
I was gifted a 2011 Alion and thought this would be a great wine to try for this meal. Boy, did it turn out to be a perfect choice. The 2011 vintage in Ribera del Duero was a hot year that led to ripe, rich, and soft wines. The Alion was no exception. I believe its aging in 100 percent new French oak might not have imparted as much into the wine as a less warm vintage because the tannins were noticeably lower than expected. They were not gripping, but rather very balanced and smooth. The seasoned Ribeye could not have tasted better and the wine was delicious.
Complementing your meal with a properly paired wine makes a good meal great. Going forward I will definitely consider the cut of meat before deciding on the wine to complement the meal.