It’s commonly known that pairing the right wine with certain foods can bring out the best flavors of both. Yet fewer people understand that wine can also affect the mouthfeel and texture of the steak. Filet Mignon is a lightly marbled cut, and the leanness means that it needs a lighter wine pairing than many other steaks. While almost any wine can be enjoyed alongside this flavorful cut of meat, there are some pairings that make the most of it. Bring out subtle beef flavors that you may never otherwise experience by finding the right wine to pour alongside your Filet Mignon.
What are the Effects of the Wine on the Filet Mignon?
As mentioned before, Filet Mignon is not the most marbled cut of steak. It is tender and many steak lovers enjoy it only with a fork because there’s no need to cut it with a knife. This means that a lighter, thinner wine is a better choice to complement the texture. You may have heard that red meat and red wine go together. When it comes to the Filet Mignon, red wine remains the best choice. All of the top five choices for pairing with this cut of beef are red wines. However, you can also experiment with many white and rose wine varieties to find ones that complement this type of steak. Due to its lower level of fat, it’s best paired with sweet rather than dry wines since this produces the best texture. Tannins tend to make leaner meats feel creamy in the mouth, while the acidity in dry white wine can overwhelm the softer texture of the Filet Wine.
The 5 Best Wines to Pair With Filet Mignon
When you’re in a hurry and grabbing a bottle at the store to pair with your dinner, look for these five types of red wine to get a perfect pairing for your Filet Mignon.
No type of wine is more widely recommended to pair with the Filet Mignon than Pinot Noir. This is especially true if you’re only seasoning the steak with salt and pepper and do not plan to add any creamy sauces. Filet Mignon is often topped with a creamy sauce to add a little more fat since it’s a leaner cut. Pinot Noir has a slight creaminess to it as well, which brings out the softness of the meat and makes it seem richer in your mouth. The mild combination of fruitiness and oaky notes also balances perfectly without overwhelming the taste of this steak. Plan to use a strong seasoning method like cooking up a Steak au Poivre? Choose a stronger flavored wine as well since Pinot Noir leans towards the lower levels of tannins.
No red wine grape is more popular or more widely grown than the Cabernet Sauvignon. Originally grown only in France, it’s now used to produce wine in Australia, Canada, the US, and more. If you’re working with a tight wine budget, you can find great examples of this variety for less than $10. It works well with the Filet Mignon that has been seasoned a little more strongly or marinated. Smoked and peppercorn-crusted steaks need a wine with a stronger body and more fruit flavor, not to mention more tannins. Try an aged bottle for a Prime grade Filet Mignon. This is also a great choice for making a red wine sauce for topping the steak when it’s done.
The so-called Bordeaux Blend contains at least two of the other wines on this list and sometimes three. It varies depending on the winery producing it, but it’s generally a wine that combines Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. It also often contains a smaller amount of Malbec wine mixed in. The blend derives its name from the fact that all of these wine varieties originated in the Bordeaux region of France. Blending them together results in a red wine that is robust, has a medium to high amount of tannins, and a complex mix of fruit flavors to bring out the best in the Filet Mignon steak. Wine blends often receive less attention than single-grape varieties, but they’re no less useful for pairing with a steak dinner thanks to their balanced flavor profiles.
Merlot is the wine you need for pairing with a Filet Mignon that is covered in a cream-based sauce. Lighter au jus sauces can work well with the other wines on this list, but only Merlot has the dryness to cut through creamy flavors. Yet for a salt and pepper seasoned steak with no particular sauce on it, this wine might be a little too drier for the lean meat. It has an earthiness that makes it far less fruit-flavored than the other red wines on this list. This makes it more appealing to guests that may not like sweetness in their wine. Yet the Merlot isn’t too dry or acidic to balance well with the lean cut of this steak.
Rich, smooth-bodied, and surprisingly dry at the end, this red wine brings out the buttery side of the Filet Mignon. It works better with smoked or dry seasoned steaks rather than those with sauces because it’s very creamy inside the mouth itself. Mineral notes that linger on the palate make the most of the umami flavors coming from the steak. It originates from France like many other wine grapes, but the greatest volume of Malbec now comes from Argentina. Try cooking your steak in a traditional Argentinian style of asado or parilla grilling before pairing it with this bold wine.
There’s a wine for everyone who wants something smooth to drink alongside their favorite Filet Mignon. Consider picking up an inexpensive bottle of each variety and sampling them all over the course of a few months. Soon you’ll know exactly which wine you prefer to pair with this cut, and along the way, you’ll also enjoy plenty of steaks and glasses of wine. Make it a journey to develop your own unique pairing recommendations and keep notes on your impressions and favorite combinations so you don’t forget them. Find all the USDA Prime Filet Mignon steaks you’ll need here at Chicago Steak Company.