It’s that time of year again, Valentine’s Day and many people do stay home to cook a meal for their Valentine. After a quick discussion in the office we surmised that most of us tend to cook a nice steak and with that in mind I went on the hunt to find the perfect wine to match. I adore steak and wine, it is one of my all time favorites and when you get the pairing right it elevates the meal and your mood. With steak you want something big, weighty, bold and ultimately seductive. There are so many choices whether you are an Old world or new world fan, plus it could be argued that there are one or two whites you could pair with your steak though it would depend on how you like your steak, blue – well done. You should always consider when pairing your wine, are all the extras you may add to your plate, such as pepper sauce, spicy wedges etc. Below are five of my favourites.
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec & Merlot
I was delighted when O’Brien’s brought this in, as I am a big Bordeaux fan though sadly my bank balance doesn’t really stretch to it. This little number however is more reasonable, the main reason is because it is coming from Côtes de Blaye, an area on the far edge of Bordeaux on the right bank.
This wine has a charming nose with aromas of dark fruits, oak and spice. It is full and elegant on the nose with some delightful vegetal aromas too.
There is great structure on this fleshy wine that does seduce the palate and has the key bordeaux flavours you crave.
This will work beautifully with your steak the berries matching the juicy steak and the tannins will melt into the meat.
Available from O’Brien’s Wines
At wines of New Zealand this wine sung out for all the right reasons. Pinots from New Zealand can sometimes be a bit heavy and not keeping true to their personality, in that it is a delicate grape with elegance and that can be lost at times.
This has been described as being the Burgundy of New Zealand. It has a delicate yet perfumed nose with aromas of smokey blackberries and mulberries.
There is some density to the body of the wine but still keeping the soft delicate features of a pinot noir. The fresh wild berries mingle gently with the light touch of oak.
This a perfect wine for romance and has enough body to pair with your steak.
Available from O’Brien’s Wines, Clontarf Wines; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Donnybrook Fair; 64wine Glasthule; Gibneys, Malahide; Wineonline.ie; World Wide Wines, Waterford
Tempranillo 75%, Garnacha 10%, Mazuelo 15%
This wine just won A Wine Star Award Old World Wine of the Year 2015/2016 from NOFFLA. I was there on the night where I got to try it.
It being a Rioja Reserva you expect big nose but it is a bit more restrained with aromas of plump fruit, spice, oak and black cherries.
The palate is silky smooth with some softness to the fruit but the oak has given this wine great structure. Add some liquorice, tobacco with the black cherry and you have a wine with great length and seductive qualities.
Available from all good independent off licences and wine shops throughout the country, in Dublin – Vintry, Mc Cabes, Redmonds, Jus De Vine, Deveneys Dundrum & Rathmines, Sweeneys Hartes Corner, Martins Fairview, Next Door Off Licences, Around the country Ardkeen Waterford, O’Donovans Cork, Mc Cambridges Galway, Grenhams Ballinasloe, Market 57 Westport, Diceys Ballyshannon, Old Stand Mullingar, Mac Guinness Dundalk
Iconic wine producers and family owned winery Torres bought plots in Ribera del Duero high up in the mountains and went about creating a wine to express the region at its best.
This is a big wine, a wine with a velvety body that packs in plenty of fruit and spice. It is intense with a deep and intriguing nose.
On the palate it is a big wine with great structure and it is supple. The pepper and plump cherry notes are soft yet meaty. This is a fruity wine with some dark depth to it so it will pair well with meat but will also let your loved one know they are a star.
Available from O’Brien’s Wines, Supervalu, Next Door Off-Licences nationwide; The Corkscrew, Dublin; Higgins of Clonskeagh, Dublin; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, Dublin; Redmond’s of Ranelagh, Dublin; Amber Fermoy, Cork; La Touche Greystones, Wicklow; 64 Wines Glasthule, Dublin; Deveney’s of Rathmines & Dundrum, Dublin; Eugene’s of Kenmare, Kerry.
Tyrrell’s Lost Block Limestone Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 €18.95
I discovered this gem recently at the Wine Australia tasting, where I met winemaker Bruce Tyrrell. Tyrrell’s planted their first vineyards in 1858 with the first vintage in 1864. The ‘Lost Block’ series is simply down to forgetting a plot of vines leaving the grapes to ripen longer. A mistake that had a positive outcome.
Although a big wine it has restraint. The nose is deep with vibrant dark fruits with a slightly smokey edge. The nose does go on forever, a real charmer.
This wine has great depth with a weighty, velvety body. Dark cherries pop in this fruit laden wine with a touch of pepper to add a little intrigue. This is a soft wine with easy tannins making it very approachable. I was impressed with this wine and will pair well with steak.
Available from Searsons Wine Merchants, Monkstown.
Suzi is passionate about wine, beer and whiskey too, not forgetting a love of food and travel. She has been a part of this industry for a little over 10 years. She has worked on level 4 in WSET during this time and regularly hosts tastings and staff training in these sectors. She has recently started a blog on all wine, beer and spirit related beverages. You can follow her blog at suzisgrapecrush or follow Suzi on Twitter.