Prime Rib Roast is a tender and juicy cut of beef roasted on the bone and served medium-rare.  Rich and full of flavour, Prime Rib Roast pairs best with bold red wines like Bordeaux, Barolo, Rioja, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Zinfandel.

Bordeaux & Prime Rib Roast Pairing

Bordeaux is a blended red wine from France featuring varying ratios of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Intended for food pairing, Bordeaux delivers a medium to full-bodied wine experience, with fruity aromas of plum, cassis, and dark cherry, as well as fleeting flavours of pencil shavings, vanilla, truffle, fresh herbs, licorice and coffee bean.

Bordeaux is a wine with a lot of history and collectability, which makes it intimidating to approach.  When dining out, a bottle of Bordeaux may cost you upwards of a hundred dollars or more.  This will probably be amazing with your Prime Rib; however, if you are uncomfortable spending that much money, I would suggest picking out a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz that the restaurant may offer by the glass.

If you are going to a party, where Prime Rib is being served, you’ll be able to find plenty of affordable Bordeaux wines wherever wine is sold.  I would suggest asking an employee there, their thoughts on which Bordeaux (given your price range) they would suggest.  I say this as there are a lot of factors to consider with Bordeaux (such as vintage, region or blend), and I would want you to get the best bang for your buck.

With all that said, any Bordeaux you snag, will be excellent with Prime Rib. Yes, the more expensive bottles will be heavenly, plush, silky and unforgettable, yet every day drinking Bordeaux or the mid-ranged wines will pair just fine.  Prime rib is loaded with protein and fat, which smooth out the tannin in Bordeaux, allowing the fruity flavours to shine even brighter.

Aged Bordeaux will already have smoother tannin, so it’s recommended to pair it up with a leaner cut of beef.  Typically, you won’t find an aged Bordeaux in the store, as Bordeaux sometimes needs decades of ageing, so you’ll often find these bottles in personal cellars.  If you are insistent on enjoying an aged bottle with Prime Rib, the pairing should still work out, but we’d go for a center cut of Prime Rib that is cooked medium-rare.

Cabernet Sauvignon & Prime Rib Roast Pairing

A young Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes difficult to drink on its own as the tannin in the wine has a drying effect that causes your cheeks to pucker in.  When you pair Cabernet Sauvignon up with a fatty cut of Prime Rib, those harsh flavours are subdued, and the bold and bright fruit flavours of Cabernet Sauvignon are allowed to shine.

Cabernet Sauvignon should be available by the glass at most restaurants that offer a wine list.  Popular choices are typically from California, where you’ll find a hint of vanilla and a splash of spice amongst the cherry and cassis flavours of this red wine.

Syrah & Prime Rib Roast Pairing

Syrah has bright dark-fruit flavours and black pepper notes that go amazingly well with Prime Rib.  Australian Shiraz is typically sweeter, spicier, and bolder than a European Syrah.  For roasted meats, I’d lean more towards a European styled Syrah and stick to grilled meats with an Australian Shiraz.  Grilled meats taste much more intense, which matches the boldness of an Australian Shiraz.  The sweetness of Australian Shiraz sometimes makes the fruit flavours of the wine taste a touch flat when it mingles with the tender beef flavours of Prime Rib.

However, Australian Shiraz is popular and favoured by many, so if you enjoy this red wine, by all means, go for it.  When you bring a wine to a party, I can understand the appeal of setting a recognizable bottle of red on the table, versus some unpronounceable French red.  The peppery notes add a lot of additional flavour to the pairing, and the plush fruitiness offers plenty of refreshing flavours.  If horseradish is being served, the spiciness of Australian Shiraz will complement the spiciness of the horseradish. Simultaneously, the sweetness of the wine will steal away the burn of this unique condiment.

Barolo & Prime Rib Pairing

Barolo is an Italian red wine made from the Nebbiolo grape, making for an incredibly tannic red win.  Barolo is meant to age for decades, but can still be enjoyed young if you pair it up with something beefy like Prime Rib.  The protein and fat converts a young Barolo into something you can drink (otherwise it’s like getting kicked in the face) as the tannin is softened, and the complex fruit and unique flavours of Barolo are allowed to come out and play.

Zinfandel & Prime Rib with Horseradish

A lot of people swear by Zinfandel and Prime Rib, however, I generally don’t (and I’m a Zinfandel lover).  In the examples above, the pairings work well as the protein and fat found in Prime Rib alter how the wine tastes.  In the case of Zinfandel, you tend to find moderate tannin and high acidity, meaning the wine wine does not evolve in your mouth like the wines above.

Zinfandel is commonly jammy with blueberry, cherry, and cranberry flavours, plus lots of alcohol, sweetness, and acidity.  Where Zinfandel really shines (for me at least) is with barbecued meats, where the boldness of the wine matches the intensity of the meat.  However, If you love horseradish, it’s in this instance that I would recommend Zinfandel, as the sweetness of the more popular Zinfandels helps soften the heat or horseradish sauce.

In our food and wine pairing database, I have dozens of more Prime Rib and wine pairings.  Start typing in Prime Rib in the search box, and you will see the results and ratings.


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