There is little more patriotic than grilling outside. You may laugh, but you know it’s true – we can’t get enough of what is for dinner from the grill. Of all the grilled dinners nothing is more appetizing than a juicy cut of steak – It practically defines the best of summer. @1201 we know pairing the wine with the dinner is the difference between that exceptional bite and a exceptional experience. Here are some thoughts from our kitchen on steak and wine:

cabernet-sauvignon-glass-111x140Cabernet Sauvignon

Oh, yes…this is the “go-to” for steak. Some say the bolder the better for steak pairing. Our morsel of expertise is to make sure you consider the strength of the flavor of your meat when choosing a bold wine. The king of red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice if you’ve gone with a high-powered marinade, smoked technique, ample sauce or lots of pepper. Match the boldness of your meat with the boldness in the bottle. The other consideration with a deep red wine is to consider the fat content of the cut of beef. A Cabernet Sauvignon with high tannin content or high alcohol content can help cut rhgouth the fat of the steak bringing the taste into balance amking the wine smoother and the steak even more powerful.



A standard Zinfandel has lower tannins than it’s Cabernet Sauvignon counterpart, but the high acidity also makes it a good choice for fattier cuts of meat. Porterhouse, T-Bone or  Rib Eye steaks are ideal partners for Zinfandel. It may not have as sophisticated of a finish as a high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, but it can be more of a crowd pleaser with a more grapey and more summertime fruity taste.

If you’re on a budget keep some Zinfandel handy as it makes an flavorful marinade for tougher and less expensive cuts like London Broil or Tri-Tip.


Malbec is an option you see more and more of each year. In Argentina it is the gold standard of steak pairing, so who are we to argue with a people who have dedicated much of their nation to vineyards and cattle ranching? Malbec is a multi-faceted and flexible wine you should try pairing even with other grilled dishes and veggies. The best part of Malbecs is that you can still find relatively inexpensive ones to try. Whether they originate from Argentina or Chile, try a few out this summer and you can say you tried something new while still enjoying a juicy steak!

Other Tasty Options

We get asked a lot if red is the only option for steak and we definitely agree there are plenty of other options. A chilled and crisp Rosé or a bubbly Brut can be an amazing summertime refresher. Always remember to chill these wines overnight and keep them on ice during your meal to maintain that optimum taste! In fact, we recommend chilling even the reds slightly as the heat in summer can get the reds too hot too quickly.

Whatever you do this summer get outside, get adventurous and get pairing!

If you love wines, be sure to check out our Uncorked events and Wine Dinners. We will surprise and delight you with beautifully paired courses. Check out our calendar of events for more information.

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