Blackened Angus Rib Eye, $40
There are some foods that we tend to avoid when pairing food and wine, particularly foods of high acid, spice and astringency. Artichokes, asparagus and horseradish top the list of these "wine killers." It's not so much that they cannot pair with wine successfully but more so that there are few varieties that truly work well with them.
The pairing of steak and red wine is one of the most common, but the familiar addition of horseradish sauce to the dish creates a bigger challenge when selecting the right wine. A juicy, marbled rib eye would likely pair best with a highly tannic red, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, because tannins and fat balance each other out. However, horseradish combined with a bold red like this produces "off" tastes such as metallic and can enhance the sensation of alcohol in the wine. That being said, no need to avoid this melange of flavors, just a quick shift in your choice of wine keeps the possibility of a peril pairing at bay.
THE WINE PAIRINGS
Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel, Sonoma, Calif., $6 for a 4-ounce glass, $12 for 8oz
Skip past the classic Cabs and seek out smooth reds with soft tannins. A juicy, fruit-forward Zinfandel provides just the right amount of body to hold up to the mighty rib eye while the approachable jamminess melds with the slightly spicy horseradish sauce. Undertones of spice and earth highlight the flavorful, charred exterior of Prime 1000's blackened steak.
Oveja Negra Carmenere, Chile, $8 for a 4-ounce glass, $15 for 8oz
Another winning approach to matching wine with horseradish and spice-rubbed meats is to find more rustic styles of reds. South American reds find the medium ground between high fruit and earthy tones. Carmenere, most often produced in Chile, features luscious black fruit flavors and sweet, smoky nuances along with notes of caramel and coffee. Dark and rich with silky tannins, this deep-hued red makes a delicious complement to the dish.
Crios Rosé of Malbec, Argentina, $5 for a 4-ounce glass, $10 for 8-ounce
I have discussed before the many different styles of rosés that are produced worldwide and how they each carry different weights and pairing abilities due to the grape they are derived from as well as the method of wine making that is used. Although a pink would normally not be my first choice for a weighty cut of meat such as a rib eye, this unique one made from Malbec drinks so closely to a red, it simply works. Bright red fruit and subtle spice in this chilled wine make for a refreshing counterpart to the dish. Keep this uncommon pairing in mind for warm summer nights and patio dining.
Prime 1000, 1000 Washington Ave., Downtown, 314.241.1000, prime1000.com
Every Wednesday, STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann helps you navigate wine and beer lists at restaurants around town and suggests the best by-the-glass pairings with certain dishes. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience. Missed one of her columns? Check them out here.