There are a ton of factors to consider when pairing with Venison. From the cut of the meat, to if the Venison was farmed or wild. On top of that you also have to consider how the meat is cooked, plus any sides and sauces added to the final meal. With our pairings, we are brushing with some broad strokes here and offering what we feel are the can’t fail wines.
With Venison being a rich earthy and smoky meat, we feel that rich, earthy and smoky red wines best compliment the best of what Venison has to offer. Thus, Syrah, Barolo, Ripasso, Zinfandel & Nero D’Avola are our top choices.
Syrah and Venison
Syrah has an earthy and smoky component that makes it perfect with the rich and earthy aspect of Venison. Heavier Syrah is perfect for fattier cuts of Venison while mid-bodied Syrah is best for leaner cuts. You want to balance the weight of your pairing so that you taste both the wine and the meat on the finish of each bite.
Syrah has silky tannin which provides a velvety mouthfeel and showcases intense blackberry, black cherry and blueberry flavours that elevate the Venison’s wild taste. You also have notes of black pepper which further adds to this incredible pairing.
Dunkel and Grilled Venison
Dunkel is a dark lager that has notes of Caramel, Coffee, Chocolate and Licorice which all compliment the out crust of grilled Venison. On top of these wonderful flavours, you also have a deep malt flavour and sweetness that can tackle any fruit sauce that may accompany your grilled Venison.
Barolo and Venison
For a lean cut of Venison you’ll need to seek out an aged bottle of Barolo where time has tamed the tannin. For younger Barolo, it’s best to pair this king of wines with a rich Venison Stew which incorporates fattier cuts of meat. Barolo needs a high fat content to smooth out its tannin punch.
Barolo’s ripe dark fruit flavours mask the gaminess of Venison, and the truffle-like flavours in this wine go perfect with any earthy vegetables on the side or in a Venison Stew.
Zinfandel and Venison
While Venison offers strong flavors, many cuts are actually leaner than beef and thus pair better with reds with softer tannin and juicy fruit such as Zinfandel. Zinfandel also tends to have a smokey quality that complements the smokey and earthy notes of the meat.
Zinfandel is an acidic red, meaning it will go well with any tomato-based sauces you might add to the wine. Slightly sweet, Zinfandel will go perfect with any fruit sauces as well.
Nero d’Avola and Venison Stew
Nero d’Avola is essentially Barolo, but without the steroids. Again we have a thin-skinned grape, with floral, tar and herbal notes that pack a heavy-hitting punch. The tannin isn’t as bold as Barolo but instead comes across as silky. There’s a significant amount of acidity in Nero d’Avola that can handle any Tomato component in your Venison stew.
When paired with Venison, Nero d’Avola shifts from a zippy and dark fruit flavour to a candied fruit taste. It’s the gaminess of the Venison that creates this change, and the gamier the meat, the more candied the wine will taste. We consider this a boon as the candied fruit flavours cover up the gaminess of Venison that not everyone appreciates. You also have the earthy notes of the wine such as tar and mocha that complement any root vegetables you may have added to the stew.
While these are our top five pairings, below we have some bonus pairings as Venison is so versatile.
Pasta with Venison Red Sauce with Chianti Classico
If your pasta sauce has ground Venison, or perhaps the pasta features Venison meatballs, Chianti Classico is an amazing choice. Chianti is made from the Sangiovese grape, and it is acidic, meaning it won’t fall flat against the tart acidity of the tomato sauce.
Chianti also has ample tannin that is further tamed by the rich meat in the meatballs. This means that each bite will have the perfect finish containing the fruitiness of the wine, and the smoky and earthy nature of the meat.
Venison Burgers and Baco Noir
Baco Noir is low in tannin and high in acidity, so it’s perfect with medium to well done cooked Venison Burgers slathered in ketchup. The less fat that is cooked out of the meat, the more this fruity wine is going to complement it.
Venison Burgers and Rauchbier
For a grilled Venison Burgers topped with bacon, there is nothing better than a Rauchbier. We only give this pairing four stars however, as it’s not everyone’s favourite cup of brown pop. This beer contains natural smoke flavours that just love anything charred. The smokey flavours of venison and bacon.
Venison Ricotta Ravioli and Chardonnay
For lighter Venison dishes, white wine is perfectly acceptable. The creamy and rich texture of the Ricotta will complement the vanilla and tropical flavours of a tart Chardonnay.
Bordeaux – For When You are in Doubt
Bordeaux is a blended red wine from France that is just made for enjoying food with. Some Bordeaux do require ageing, but these wines will be fine with a rich venison stew where the fat content and protein will help tame the tannin. Less expensive bottles of Bordeaux will perfectly partner up with grilled Venison Steak or Burgers.