Beef Tenderloin is a leaner cut of beef, and less flavourful than prime rib, as it has less fat. Aged red wines, where the tannin has softened, liked Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Brunello di Montalcino or a Ribera del Duero round up my top pairings with Beef Tenderloin. Meanwhile, subtle red wines with softer tannin such as Pinot Noir, Malbec and Chianti also make for excellent choices.
You may also see Beef Tenderloin be referred to as Filet (UK & France), Filetto (Italy) and Solomillo (Spain). Filet Mignon is a cut of steak from the Tenderloin region, featuring lean and juicy flavours that are subtle and divine.
Bordeaux & Beef Tenderloin Pairing
A right bank Bordeaux is our first choice, as the dominant grape will be Merlot, and thus the wine should come across as a touch softer than a left bank wine. The wine should be fully mature for this pairing to work as you want that soft tannin to kiss your taste-buds gently. A young Bordeaux will have inhospitable tannin levels that require plenty of fat, so save that bottle for a Prime Rib steak, or cellar it until it gets along with beef tenderloin.
Bordeaux is made for food, as it is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The French have been making Bordeaux for centuries and know-how to bring out the best flavours of each grape, so you’ll be able to enjoy all their blackberry, cherry, raspberry and blueberry flavours. On top of this, Bordeaux’s mature flavours will deliver complex flavours of vanilla, cedar, smoke, and coffee that meld well with the subtle flavours of your beef tenderloin.
Pinot Noir & Beef Tenderloin Pairing
Pinot Noir is a light and fruity red wine that, in most instances, should hold up to the weight of Beef Tenderloin. You’ll also find lots of earthy flavours that make this wine exceptional if your Beef Tenderloin is served with a mushroom sauce. Notes of strawberry, cranberry and cherry will keep you smiling and your mouth in heaven as you enjoy each bite and sip of your food and wine.
If the Tenderloin is wrapped in bacon, Pinot Noir makes for an excellent pairing as the earthy notes found in Pinot Noir complement the sweet but earthy bacon flavours. The light and fruity acidity found in Pinot Noir also makes for a great foil against the saltiness of Beef Tenderloin wrapped in bacon.
Cabernet Sauvignon & Beef Tenderloin
In this instance, you’ll want a Cabernet Sauvignon that has been aged and is in its prime. Beef Tenderloin is not a fatty cut of meat, so it won’t do a good job of softening the tannin found in a young Cabernet Sauvignon very well. As a result, a young Cabernet Sauvignon will overshadow the Tenderloin. This is unfortunate as Beef Tenderloin is an expensive cut of meat.
A mature Cabernet Sauvignon will charm the pants off you with its notes of cassis and plum sauce. Depending on where the wine was grown and produced, you may also find flavours of pencil lead, gravel, smoke, leather, tobacco leaf and menthol.
Malbec & Beef Tenderloin Pairing
Malbec has the perfect amount of boldness and velvety tannin to complement the texture and flavour of Beef Tenderloin. In particular, a fruit-forward Malbec from Argentina has lovely notes of blackberry, cherry, plum, vanilla and chocolate that add layers of flavour to this wonderful pairing. Malbec doesn’t have a long and lingering finish, which makes it great with lean meats such as Beef Tenderloin, as it ensures you’ll taste both the meat and the wine with each bite.
If you are holding a banquet and serving Beef Tenderloin, an Argentina Malbec might be the way to go as it is not overly expensive, will not require extensive ageing, and is a crowd-pleaser.
Ribera del Duero Reserva & Beef Tenderloin Pairing
Reserva Ribera del Duero has an earthy and toasty component that makes it perfect with a healthy medallion of Beef Tenderloin served with a dab of au jus. The balanced tannin and acidity provide the right amount of body to stand up to the proteins of Beef Tenderloin without overshadowing the subtle flavours of this cut of beef.
Reserva Ribera del Duero also provides a velvety mouthfeel, and the juicy black cherry and blackberry flavours come off as refreshing against the leanness of beef tenderloin.