One thing I love more than anything is a velvety red wine paired with a big juicy steak. Even those who wouldn't consider themselves wine buffs know that red wine and beef compliment each other perfectly. But, why is that?

Little did you know that there’s a scientific reason behind this common culinary ‘rule’. It all comes down to the different compounds that are found in meat and the chemicals and fermentation process used to make wine.

More specifically, the tannins in red wine -- which mainly come from the grape skin and seeds, as well as the wine barrels during the aging process -- and the protein in the meat that interacts to make the perfect flavor combo. Tannin molecules soften the fat in the meat and it helps to release more of the flavor. At the same time, the fat lessens the astringency of the wine, making it taste smoother and less bitter while also bringing out more of its fruity flavors.

Because red wine and red meat have opposite properties--beef being fatty and red wine being astringent-- they work to balance each other out by reducing the opposing sensation and ultimately, create a pleasing effect on one’s palette.

Other benefits of pairing red wine and beef

There are also some great health benefits that come from pairing red wine and beef. Scientists have found healthy chemical compounds in wine like polyphenols (antioxidants) that also work to inhibit the buildup of bad cholesterol. This reduces the amount that enters the bloodstream which in turn prevents damage to blood vessels. Talk about a heart-healthy dinner.

Try out one of my favorite recipes that my mom re-created from when she lived in Turkey in 1970 - Ellena's Cracked Pepper Steak