The selections on Gayot's list of top 10 wines that pair with beef span the spectrum of red varietals, as beef usually pairs best with red wines, but also includes a dry rosé. From Pinotage to Petite Sirah, we've chosen some of the best wines from different regions, with prices starting at just $15 a bottle.
1. Villiera 2007 Pinotage
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Created in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir and Hermitage (or Cinsault), Pinotage is considered South Africa's signature grape varietal. The 2007 Pinotage from Villiera is a dry, medium-bodied red wine featuring plum and raspberry flavors with vanilla and mineral notes. Its soft tannins would go best with delicate cuts like filet mignon.
2. Penfolds 2008 St Henri Shiraz
A leader in Australian Shiraz, Penfolds released its first Grange Shiraz in 1951. Just six years later, the winery began producing the St Henri Shiraz, notable for its lack of new oak. Today, the wine is aged in 50-year-old vats. Sourced from vineyards in the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills, the 2008 St Henri is composed of 91 percent Shiraz and 9 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Full-bodied and ripe, it boasts spicy dark fruit flavors and firm tannins. Pair it with grass-fed beef or venison.
3. Benziger 2008 Merlot
Sonoma County, California
Although many Merlot vines were uprooted in the wake of "Sideways" and replanted with Pinot Noir, this Bordeaux varietal retains a loyal following. The 2008 Merlot from Benziger Family Winery is sourced from certified sustainable fruit grown in Carneros, Dry Creek and Sonoma Valley. A medium- to full-bodied wine, it displays jammy fruit flavors with a touch of pepper and nutmeg rounded out by smooth tannins. Pair it with simple foods like brisket and burgers.
4. Tenuta Castelbuono 2007 Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG
Building on the success of their Ferrari sparkling wines, the Lunelli family purchased Tenuta Castelbuono in 2001. They commissioned sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro to design a stunning, modern winery building, which resembles a turtle shell. The estate's 2007 Montefalco Sagrantino is similarly impressive, boasting intense blackberry and blueberry flavors supported by supple tannins.
5. Murphy-Goode 2010 Dealer's Choice Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, California
Tim Murphy, Dale Goode and Dave Ready decided to create Murphy-Goode back in 1985 while playing dice. Today, their love of games, wine and puns ("Goode life") is reflected in offerings like their 2010 Dealer's Choice Cabernet Sauvignon. Blended with some Merlot and Petit Verdot, the wine is well-balanced and pairs well with grilled steaks, such as bone-in rib eye. Featuring blackberry, black cherry and vanilla aromas on the nose, it reveals a full body and firm tannins in the mouth.
6. Jana Winery 2005 Cathedral
Napa Valley, California
Winemaker Scott Harvey bottles his Amador County wines under his own eponymous label, while those from Napa are named for his wife, Jana. Composed of 92 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 4 percent Petit Verdot and 4 percent Cabernet Franc, the 2005 Cathedral definitely wows upon entry. Its intense, concentrated fruit flavors boast plenty of complexity and show an excellent balance of acidity and tannin. Match Cathedral with perfectly marbled wagyu beef or dry-aged Angus steaks.
7. Rupestre 2006 Red Blend
Produced by the Domingo Molina winery, Rupestre is named for the 1000-year-old cave paintings that adorn the vineyard property. A red blend composed of 60 percent Malbec, 30 percent Merlot and 10 percent Tannat, the 2006 Rupestre is a big, bold wine. From its pepper, plum and blackberry flavors to its firm, meaty tannins, this is a wine meant for enjoying with steak.
8. Seghesio 2011 Sonoma Zinfandel
Sonoma County, California
No one quite knows how Zinfandel got its name, but where it comes from is no longer a mystery. Researchers have concluded that the grape originated in Croatia. Some of the best and most famous Zinfandel in the world, however, is produced in California. Seghesio's 2011 Sonoma Zinfandel is a robust, full-bodied wine boasting spicy black fruit flavors and sturdy tannins. Pair it with peppered steaks or barbecued ribs.
9. Clarksburg Wine Company 2010 Petite Sirah
Makers of Petite Sirah often feel like they have to apologize for what the grape is not (e.g., it is not like Syrah). Petite Sirah produces big, full-bodied red wines that are best consumed with food, such as steaks and other grilled meats. The 2010 Petite Sirah from Clarksburg in California's Central Valley wine region is blended with a small amount of Petit Verdot for balance and aged for 18 months. A thick, inky wine, it boasts blackberry and boysenberry flavors with a touch of smokiness on the finish.
10. Kanonkop 2012 Kadette Pinotage Rosé
Stellenbosch, South Africa
In the 17th century, hilltop cannons alerted local farmers to the arrival of trading ships in Cape Town. Kanonkop proudly displays one of these historic cannons as a memorial both at its wine estate and on its bottle labels. The winery's 2012 Kadette Pinotage Rosé offers lovely floral aromas and juicy raspberry flavors. Dry and full-bodied in the mouth, it would pair well with veal and other tender steaks.
More from Gayot