Q. I love drinking shiraz with a steak but it’s time to explore other wines. What do you recommend?
A. It’s all about the tannins when it comes to matching wine with red meat. The drying, astringent tannins in wine – there’s more of them in red – cut through the fat in the meat. The fat mellows the tannins, too, helping to release wine’s flavour.
The gauchos in Argentina match their steaks with malbec, a juicy, tannic wine that’s grown high up in the Andes. In Italy, you’ll most likely be drinking a sangiovese-dominant chianti with a Flintstones-sized bistecca alla Fiorentina.
What to try this week:
- King Valley; $28; 13.5%
- Enjoy with: Bistecca alla Fiorentina
- Score: 92/100
It’s fair to say Pizzini leads the pack when it comes to Australian sangiovese. This is filled with plums, spice, earth and dark cherries – on the nose and the juicy palate.
The way the savoury fruit seamlessly makes way to the drying tannins is spot-on. This went better with food and I’m sure that’s the way it was intended.
- Mendoza, Argentina; $34; 14%
- Enjoy with: Asado-cut beef ribs and chimichurri sauce
- Score: 91/100
From the Lujan de Cuyo subregion of Mendoza, these grapes are grown at 950 metres above sea level.
It’s incredibly drinkable, with plum, blackberry and dark cherry flavours at first, then powder-fine tannins take over, drying out the sweet flavours to push them to a lengthy finish.
- Uruguay; $32; 14%
- Enjoy with: Grass-fed tomahawk steak
- Score: 90/100
The word tannin, it’s said, is derived from the tannat grape and on the tannin scale, this grape goes to 11. Originally from France, tannat is the grape of Uruguay.
The tannins in this play an important role. Their drying character brings the wine’s sweet raspberry, plum, cherry and nutty flavour into neat balance.
- Barossa Valley; $17; 13%
- Enjoy with: Beef and olive empanadas
- Score: 90/100
Labelled as a limited edition, this malbec brings back fond memories of my uni days, when Yalumba Galway Hermitage was the red of choice.
This smells of wet stones, plums and berries. It has concentrated and earthy berry flavours, neatly balanced with sandy tannins.
We say: Make it a malbec next time steak’s on the menu.
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