The best wine to go with prime rib is red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. Prime rib is a popular cut of beef that is both flavorful and tender, making it the perfect dish for special occasions and celebrations.
Choosing the right wine is one of the key elements to a perfect prime rib meal. Selecting the right wine to complement prime rib flavors can be daunting, but it’s easier when you have the correct principles. So enjoy a wonderful prime rib dinner with these wine picks.
The Best 3 Wines to Pair with Prime Rib
Simply knowing the best wine to go with prime rib isn’t that interesting. Instead, it’s much more interesting to know why these red wines pair well with prime rib’s flavor potential. These wines can do double duty for other food pairings, including different cuts of beef (e.g., the best wine with steak).
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with a high tannin content, making it the perfect wine pairing for the rich flavors of prime rib. It is bold and structured with a firm acidity that cuts through the fatty, meaty flavor of the beef.
Cabernet Sauvignon also has a complex flavor profile that includes notes of black currant, tobacco, and vanilla, which work well with the natural flavors of prime rib. The wine’s tannins also help to soften the meat, making it more tender and flavorful.
Merlot is a medium-bodied red wine known for its smoothness and fruitiness. It has a softer tannin structure than Cabernet Sauvignon, making it a more approachable wine for those who prefer a milder flavor. Regarding acidity levels, Merlot is a low acid but full body, so it still serves as a good wine with beef.
Merlot also has a flavor profile that includes fruity flavors like plum and cherry (and sometimes chocolate), which perfectly complement the prime rib flavors. The wine’s softness also helps to bring out the beef’s natural sweetness. Merlot is part of the Bordeaux-style grapes list, so you’ll often find it in the best Bordeaux wine.
Pinot Noir is a light to medium-bodied wine with a delicate flavor profile that includes notes of cherry, raspberry, and earthiness. It has a low tannin content, making it a perfect pairing for the tenderness of prime rib. The wine’s acidity also helps cut through the beef’s richness, enhancing its natural flavors. Pinot Noir is versatile enough to complement a wide range of side dishes, typically served with prime rib.
Why Tannins in Red Wines Matter For Prime Rib Pairing
The strong tannins in red wines are a fundamental reason why red wines pair well with prime rib if you have ever wondered why tannic wine matters in wine, I found the following explanation from the experts.
Karen MacNeil, author of “The Wine Bible,” emphasizes the role of tannins in cutting through the richness of prime rib. According to MacNeil, the high-fat content of prime rib requires a wine with enough tannins to provide a cleansing effect on the palate. Tannins act as a natural “scrubber,” cleaning the mouth and preparing it for the next bite of beef. This effect is significant for heavy red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, which have high tannin levels that can stand up to the bold flavors of prime rib.
Kevin Zraly, wine educator and author of “Windows on the World Complete Wine Course,” explains how tannins can affect the texture of the meat. Zraly suggests that the tannins in wine can help to break down the fat in prime rib, making it more tender and flavorful. The astringent quality of tannins can also help to enhance the meat’s natural juiciness, creating a more satisfying dining experience. Zraly recommends full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which have high tannin levels that work well with prime rib.
White Wine Options For Prime Rib
What about white wine enthusiasts? Some excellent wines are available in the white wine section of your wine shop that will pair well with prime rib. Your wine sommelier may also have some ideas on what pairs best with a restaurant’s prime rib dishes.
While red wine is often considered the standard wine selection for pairing with prime rib, white wine can also be a fantastic choice. Some wine experts recommend pairing a full-bodied white wine with prime ribs, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Chardonnay is particularly popular for its buttery, oaky notes complementing the meat’s natural flavors.
- On the other hand, Sauvignon Blanc is known for its herbaceous, citrusy flavors that can provide a refreshing contrast to beef.
When choosing a white wine to pair with prime rib, it’s essential to consider its body, acidity, flavor profile, and personal preference. With the proper selection, a glass of white wine can be an unexpected and delicious addition to a prime rib meal.
The Best Wine To Go With Prime Rib: 6 Wines From Around The World
Finding the following few bottles of wine to enjoy with a holiday roast or prime jib became easier. Let’s start with French wines because those fantastic wines inspired this website. We’ll also cover a few other wine regions.
French Red Wines
1 Château Cantenac Brown 2016 (Margaux, Bordeaux)
Château Cantenac Brown is a notable winery in the Margaux appellation, located in the Bordeaux region of France. The 2016 vintage of this wine has been awarded a score of 90 points by Wine Spectator. This wine blends Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes with a deep, dark color and aromas of black fruits, spice, and tobacco. The palate is rich and full-bodied, with firm tannins and a long finish. It’s an excellent pairing for a tasty dinner of prime rib.
Washington State is known for producing some of the finest wines in the United States, and their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir are no exception.
2 Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine received a score of 94 points from Wine Spectator and is known for its dark fruit flavors and firm tannins.
3 L’Ecole No. 41 2018 Estate Merlot
This wine received a score of 92 points from Wine Enthusiast and is known for its black cherry and plum flavors, along with its subtle tannins.
4 2018 Domaine Serene “Evenstad Reserve” Pinot Noir
The Willamette Valley is located in Oregon and is known for producing some of the best Pinot Noir wines in the world. The 2018 Domaine Serene “Evenstad Reserve” Pinot Noir is a top-rated wine from this region. It has received a score of 95 points from Wine Spectator, one of the most respected wine publications in the world. This wine is aged 16 months in French oak barrels and has a beautiful ruby-red color. It has flavors of cherry, blackberry, and spice, with a long and elegant finish.
5 2016 Ornellaia “Ornellaia” Red Blend
Super Tuscan wines blend Italian and French grapes and are known for their rich and complex flavors. The 2016 Ornellaia “Ornellaia” Red Blend is a top-rated wine from this region. It has received a score of 97 points from James Suckling, one of the most renowned wine critics in the world. This wine is aged 18 months in new French oak barrels and has flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, and spice, with a long and luxurious finish.
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon deserves a place in this guide, so we’ll end with it.
6 2018 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley is known for producing some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world. The 2018 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is a top-rated wine from this region. It has received a score of 94 points from Wine Spectator. This wine is aged 18 months in new French oak barrels and has flavors of black cherry, cassis, and vanilla, with a long and smooth finish.
The Best Wine To Go With Prime Rib Final Thoughts
Whether you like famous bottles or lesser-known varietal bottles, several types of wine pair well with prime rib. I recommend starting with one of the three wine varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. Those types of red wine have the right flavor profile to pair with a prime rib dinner.