Wine Pairing 101

Pairing Wine with Smoked Delicacies.

Love is in the air; whether it’s love for your partner, love for your pets or your hot burning love for pellet grilling. This Valentine’s Day, we suggest pairing your love for smoking meats with a nice bottle of wine. We sought out wine connoisseur, Mary Cressler from Vindulge blog, to share her expertise on skillfully pairing wines with smoked meats.

Wine Pairing 101 With Steak

It’s no secret that the most cliche Valentine’s Day date location is a steakhouse. Couples across America use the holiday of love as a reason to splurge on reservations at the fanciest place in town. Why blow an entire paycheck to eat at a dimly lit venue, while sipping on a way too expensive bottle of wine that your waiter promised was “exquisite”, but really just tastes as it came from a box? Instead, you could stay in at the comfort of your home and fire up your grill.

Check out our Beef Recipes & Tips. You will enjoy the outcome!

Steak & Wine: A Match Made in Heaven

Once you’ve purchased your own pre-approved cuts of meat and cook them up exactly how you like them, it’s time to pour the wine. For fatty steaks, a Cabernet Sauvignon works perfectly since the fat will soften the bold flavor. This is a good option if you’re grilling a steak normally without involving smoke. If you do decide to smoke your meat, however, the process can render out a good amount of the fat making a Cab the wrong choice. Here’s a breakdown of the different cuts of steak paired with their recommended Italian wine counterparts:

Ribeye Steak

If cooked right, your Ribeye should be filled with a smokey flavor and perfectly charred on the outside. Since this cut of steak can be a bit fatty, we recommend pairing a Barolo or Sagrantino di Montefalco. Both types of wine are known for having a big smokey flavor which pairs perfectly with Ribeyes.

Prime Rib

This cut of meat is often thicker so the smoke doesn’t seep in as deeply. We recommend cooking your prime rib rare to medium-rare for best results and pairing with a Super Tuscan, Barolo or Barbaresco, or even Aglianico.

Filet Mignon

A filet mignon, the luxury cut of steak, is less fatty than a ribeye and usually more tender. We recommend pairing with a more acidic wine such a Chianti Riserva or Montefalco Rosso.

New York Strip

This type of steak is known for being very juicy and tender, with less fat than other cuts. When compared to other cuts, it falls between a Ribeye and a Filet. We recommend a bolder style red with balanced acidity such as a Brunello di Montalcino.


This popular cut of meat can either be reversely seared, slowly smoked or grilled normally. Tri-tip is known for being very lean and tender meat, therefore it pairs well with medium to light wines such as Barbera or even Aglianico.

Skirt & Hanger Steaks

These thin cuts of steak are much smaller than the others and are best grilled hot and fast to avoid over-charring. We recommend pairing skirt and hanger steak with either Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Chianti Classico.

Wine goes great with the creations you make on your Mak Grill

These delicious steaks and wine pairings make for the perfect date night and a great opportunity to show off your grilling skills to your date or remind your spouse why they married you. Visit us over at Vindulge for more detailed information on the different Italian wine types listed above.