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What is the best red wine to cook with beef roast?

When cooking beef roast, choosing the right red wine to use can make all the difference in enhancing the flavor of the dish. The optimal red wine will complement the rich, savory flavors of the beef roast without overpowering it. There are a few key factors to consider when selecting a red wine for cooking with beef roast:

Body and Tannins

Beef roast requires a red wine that has enough body and structure to stand up to the hearty flavor of the meat. Red wines that are light bodied and low in tannins can taste flat or watery when paired with beef. Look for wines that have medium to high levels of tannins to add complexity without being overly bitter or astringent. Full bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah are all good options.

Oak Aging

Opt for red wines that have some oak aging. The smoky, vanilla notes imparted by oak barrels adds another layer of flavor that pairs beautifully with roasted meats. Young red wines with no oak aging tend to taste overly fruity.

Fruit Notes

While the wine should not be overly fruity, some element of red or black fruit flavors can provide balance. Red wines with notes of black cherry, blackberry and plum are complementary flavors for beef. Avoid red wines with predominant jammy fruit that might clash.


Acidity helps cut through the richness of the beef roast. Look for wines with moderate acidity. If the wine is too low in acid it can taste flabby, while very high acid wines can be jarring with the umami flavor of beef.

Regional Styles

Certain red wine regions and grapes tend to produce wines that are well suited for cooking beef roast:

– Bordeaux – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc
– Rhone – Syrah, Grenache
– Tuscany – Sangiovese
– Ribera del Duero – Tempranillo
– Napa – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel

Reviews of Top Red Wines for Beef Roast

Now that we’ve covered what to look for in finding the right red wine for beef roast, let’s review some of the top recommended options:

1. Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular red wines to pair with beef roast. It has sufficiently bold tannins and a full body to stand up to the hearty flavors. Notes of black currant, cedar, and tobacco complement the savoriness of roasted beef. Oak aging also provides nice smoky undertones. Cabernet from Napa Valley, Bordeaux, or Coonawarra are all excellent options.

Cabernet Sauvignon Region Price
Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, California $100-150
Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, California $175-225
Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac, Bordeaux $80-120
Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra, Australia $100-150

2. Malbec

Malbec has risen in popularity in recent years and its bold, juicy flavors work beautifully with beef. It often displays notes of plum, dark cherry, tobacco, and a hint of vanilla. Malbec from Argentina is an especially good value option.

Malbec Region Price
Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza, Argentina $25-40
Achaval Ferrer Malbec Mendoza, Argentina $25-45
Chateau Lagrange Saint Julien Saint Julien, Bordeaux $40-60

3. Syrah/Shiraz

The deep color, savory flavors, and black pepper spice of Syrah or Shiraz marries seamlessly with beef roast. Bottlings from the Rhone Valley, Australia, or Washington State offer plush dark fruit with smoky meat undertones.

Syrah/Shiraz Region Price
Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde Rhone Valley, France $60-90
Penfolds Grange South Australia $600-900
Hedges CMS Red Columbia Valley, Washington $15-25

4. Zinfandel

Ripe, jammy Zinfandel with strong notes of vanilla from American oak has an almost tailor-made flavor profile for beef roast. Bottlings from California and Italy pair perfectly.

Zinfandel Region Price
Ridge Geyserville Zinfandel Sonoma County, California $40-60
Turley Juvenile Zinfandel California $40-55
Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Verona, Italy $15-25

5. Sangiovese

The principal grape of Tuscany, Sangiovese has medium body and plenty of savory herbal notes that pair nicely with beef. Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are excellent quality value options.

Sangiovese Region Price
Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Tuscany, Italy $100-150
Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia Tuscany, Italy $45-70
Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Tuscany, Italy $25-40

Factors When Selecting Beef Roast Wine

In addition to grape variety and region, here are some other factors to consider when selecting a red wine to pair with your beef roast recipe:

Cooking Method

– Roast: Full-bodied reds with oak aging recommended

– Braise: Fruit-forward reds benefit from long cooking times

– Grill: Medium-bodied reds work well with charred flavors

Spice Rub

– Bold: Highly spiced rubs pair with bolder, oakier reds

– Simple: Light handed spices allow subtler red wine flavors to shine

Side Dishes

– Rich sides like potatoes or root vegetables can handle very bold reds

– Lighter sides may be overwhelmed by high tannin wines, go for medium body

Cooking Wine vs Drinking Wine

– Cooking wine: Go for good mid-range quality rather than bottom shelf

– Drinking wine: Splurge on a top notch bottle to pair with your meal

Tips for Cooking with Red Wine

To get the most flavor when cooking with red wine, keep these tips in mind:

– Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. Use good quality cooking wine.

– For braised and simmered dishes, add wine early so it reduces and concentrated the flavor.

– For roasts, add wine towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t burn off.

– Don’t overpower the flavor of the roast with too much wine. Start with 1/4 cup and add more to taste.

– Add acidic ingredients like wine, tomatoes, vinegar at the end to preserve brightness.

– If recipe calls for vinegar, replace up to half with red wine for added flavor.

– For pan sauces, save juices from roasted meat and deglaze pan with wine.


When cooking beef roast, the red wine you select can take the dish to the next level. Look for wines with sufficient body and tannins like Cabernet, Malbec, Shiraz or Zinfandel. The oak, fruit, spice, acid and savory notes pair beautifully with beef. Consider the cooking method, seasoning and side dishes when making your final wine choice. With a properly paired red wine, your beef roast will be infused with incredible layers of flavor.