There’s nothing better than a rich beef stew and a glass of red wine to take the chill out of the fall or winter air. Beef stew is the perfect comfort food and never requires a fancy wine to complement it. For intensely flavoured stews with a rich, thick sauce, look to a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon to hit the spot. These two red wines will be able to hold their own against the rich sauce.
For less dense sauces, Nero D’Avola or a red Côtes du Rhône make for excellent pairings. And if you’re not a red wine drinker, an English Brown Ale will be a perfect pairing every time.
Shiraz & Beef Stew
What I love about a Shiraz is that it tends to have a black pepper note that brings a lot of excitement when pitted against beef stew. For fruit, look for Blueberry and Black Plum, which seem to be drawn out matched against any spices used in your beef stew.
As beef stew contains many earth vegetables like potatoes or mushrooms, you’ll find the earthy flavours of green peppercorn, bacon, leather and tobacco will complement these flavours well.
We’d recommend either an Australian Shiraz for your beef stew or a French Syrah (which is the same grape as a Shiraz).
English Brown Ale & Beef Stew
English Brown Ales tend to have a lot of nutty and caramel or burnt sugar flavours, but finish dry, and are crisp on the tongue. This makes it perfect with any slow roasted or carmalized root vegetables that have been added to your stew as the flavours will complement the burnt flavours. The lightly roasted nature of the beer loves the earthiness of any root vegetables or mushrooms while being fruity enough to lift the pairing to new heights.
Cabernet Sauvignon & Beef Stew Pairing
The rich flavor and high tannin content in Cabernet Sauvignon make it an excellent pairing for beef stew. With a young Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll find the hearty meat in a beef stew will tame the grippy tannin. An aged Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be a little savoury and smokey which complements the density of beef stew.
With most Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll find fruity flavours of Plum, Black Currant and BlackBerry. With a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, look for a hit of green peppercorn and baking spice. Meanwhile, a Southern Australian Cabernet Sauvignon tends to feature white pepper, bay leaf and chocolate notes. Finally, California Cabernet Sauvignon has an interesting Pencil Lead, Mint Leaf and tobacco undertone.
Nero D’Avola & Beef Stew
Nero d’Avola is a full-bodied, dry red wine from Sicily that has a similar weight as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Known for its bold black cherry/plum fruit-driven flavours, Nero d’Avola is high in tannin as well as acidity. Here you’ll find the tannin is tamed by the rich fatty and protein cuts of beef in your stew. Meanwhile, the acidity will cleanse your palate of dense sauce your stew was simmered in. On top of that, you get some earthy herbal notes, as well as mocha, licorice, and espresso, which add new and exciting flavours to your beef stew.
Côtes du Rhône & Beef Stew Pairing
Côtes du Rhône is a medium-bodied red with a fruity yet subtle earthy quality that makes it incredibly food-friendly. It’s this earthy quality that makes it wonderful with stew as a hearty stew tends to have plenty of slow roasted root vegetables and or mushrooms to be complemented. Meanwhile the while the lighthearted fruity character (and low alcohol) comes across as refreshing when pitted against this dense dish.