In order to enjoy the maximum flavor and health benefits of pairing beef and red wine, there are a few key things to consider. First, note the cut of meat you’re using. Second, how you plan to prepare it. And third, what sauces or other flavors are present. There’s a wine to suit every dish.

I recommend following these general rules to help you decide on the best red wine to pair with your next beef dish.

Pair bold dishes with bold wines

If you’re cooking a steak or some other beef dish that’s dominated by strong, bold flavors, the key is to pair it with a bold wine to match.

A nice, robust Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice for most steaks. A Zinfandel or Primitivo is also ideal, with its high acidity and moderate tannins – making it a perfect pair with relatively fatty steaks such as rib-eye, T-bone, or porterhouse. Malbec is another winning choice, with its big, bold flavor and it is also high in tannins.

Pair simpler fare with lighter wines

If you’re cooking a beef dish using leaner, less flavorful cuts, be sure to choose a lighter red wine so you don’t run the risk of it overpowering your dish.

Merlot is great for a more complex red wine that’s low in tannins, and easier to drink than some other reds. Pinot Noir is a lovely, light-bodied red, ideal with a range of dishes, including Beef Bourguignon. A Barbera is also a good choice, as it is low in tannins as well, with wonderful mid-palate flavors.