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One of the best ways to enjoy wine is to enjoy it with a great meal. While the pairings you prefer boil down to your own preference, between various cuts of beef, styles of preparation and the sheer number of wines out there sometimes it can be tough to even find a place to start.

Generally speaking, there’s a couple rules to keep in mind when you’re picking out a wine to pair with your beef.

First, red wines pair well with red meats. Secondly, a full-bodied red wine pairs with fattier cuts of beef such as t-bone steaks.

You can probably guess that the reverse is also true. If you’re cooking a more lean cut of beef, a light or medium-bodied red wine will make a great pairing.

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How You Cook Matters

You’ll also want to keep an eye on how much you cook the meat. The tannin will help remove the fats in your mouth and clean your palate.

If you prefer a well-done cut of meat, you’d probably prefer to pair that with something with less body and smoother tannins. Since fat drips out as the meat is cooked longer, you’ll typically find a bold red wine starts to taste more bitter as you pair it with well-cooked beef. To avoid this, try pairing beef on the rare side with something stronger in body and with more tannins.

Adding Sauces?

While we’re focusing on the meat itself here, the sauces and seasonings you cook with will play a big role in making your beef taste great.

And it’ll change what type of wine you’ll want to pair with it.

A more tangy sauce, like barbecue, pairs well with a sweeter, fruitier wine. Typically this means something with lower alcohol levels, since in most cases this means there’s a higher level of residual sugar in the wine. On the other side of the table, a tomato-based sauce will pair well with a more dry red.

Do you have some favorite wines to pair with beef? Let us know in the comments below!

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