July 03, 2022 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Surf and Turf
Who would have thought that delicate fruit de mer would go so well with a robust cut of red meat. A most unexpected match, a surf and turf dish is nonetheless one made in heaven. An exquisite combination of flavors and textures, and a most decadent vehicle for serving melted butter, when crustacean and mammalian meet together above a white tablecloth, sparks fly, and good times are guaranteed.
The next question then becomes how to select a beverage worthy of accompanying such an extraordinary feast.
How to choose wine for seafood and steak
Surf and turf, when seen on menus, most commonly includes a succulent cut of beefsteak, typically filet mignon, and either shrimp, crab, or lobster – home chefs can feel free to interpret either aspect of the entree any way they like. And while these elements pair amazingly well with one another, they sit opposite each other on the scales of both flavor and texture, which makes wine pairing a little complicated.
Dry, heavy-bodied red wines are the go-to for serving red meat, as their bold flavors and relatively high tannins give them the strength they need to stand up to weightier dishes which center beef.
Seafood, on the other hand, usually wants something lighter, sweeter, and more acidic as its pair: light bodied whites are less likely to overwhelm the delicate and nuanced notes carried by seafaring fare. Finding a middle ground to match either aspect of the dish is no easy feat.
While not all red wines are ideal for red meat, it’s difficult to find one which is just plain incompatible. So, finding a red wine that pairs well with seafood is a good place to start. Pinot Noirs, light-bodied reds that have distinctive but not overwhelming flavors, are a safe bet. Strong whites, too, such as a good Champagne, have the power to chew the fat offered by beef while also uplifting the subtleties of your seafood.
When all else fails, don’t be afraid to have one white and one red at your table for good measure. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites from the Argaux collection.
Best wine for surf and turf
- 2020 Cargaux Pinot Noir – $45
If you’re a die-hard red wine drinker, you couldn’t be paid to drink a glass of chilled white wine on ice, no matter how well it paired with your garlic-grilled prawns. So you likely know that Pinot Noir is the first recommended red pairing for most seafood dishes (ignoring the fact that we just told you it is…)
This Pinot, however, was raised to go with land-only fare, making it a unique bottle within the wider genre. That doesn’t mean it can’t be served with seafood, however. Light tannins, energetic acidity, and a fruity and spicy tasting profile make the food-friendly Cargaux Pinot an ideal match for your surf and turf.
- 2019 No Name Santa Barbara County Chardonnay – $30
This bodacious Chard’s heavier body gives it the punchiness it needs to stand up to the meatiness of…well…meat. Creamy and robust textures combine beautifully with the buttery, fruity, vanilla-bean-goodness of the No Name’s flavor profile, promising a rich experience with every sip.
- 2012 Vilmart & Cie Champagne 1er Cru ‘Coeur de Cuvee’ Brut – $175
You better be having lobster tails and wagyu filet topped with beluga caviar if you’re bent on having this bottle of bubbles at your table. The “heart of the tank” Champagne offers a beautifully savory palate emergent from the 80/20 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Bold enough for beef and an ideal companion for shrimp, pop the cork when you tuck into your mains, but make sure the bottle sticks around for dessert.
- 2015 La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Reserva Rioja (Half-Bottle) – $20
This may be the only red wine in the cellars at Argaux that specifically pairs with both red meat and shellfish. We would expect nothing less from a Tempranillo de Espana, if we’re honest. An especially delicious vintage, this Rioja from Rioja is jammy, earthy, sweet and spicy from nose to tongue – we fantasize about being able to spread these flavors on toast.
Following a 2-year maturation in oak barrels, this wine emerges with high acidity and a smooth tannic structure that give it a formidable bite but promise not to overwhelm the shy flavors present in some of your more delicate dishes. If you’re going to have one wine with your surf and turf, it should be this one.
What Argaux has to offer
If everything up until this point has sounded like utter gibberish to you, have no fear. The important thing about any wine being paired with the meal laid out before you is that you enjoy it enough to pour yourself a second glass. And if you don’t already know, Argaux can help you figure out what you like.
If you’re the sip-around-and-find-out type, try one of our tasting kits which will allow you to sample a variety of bottles to compare and contrast what each has to offer. Go regional with one of our ‘Gaux To boxes, which includes selections from either old or new world vineyards. Or, challenge yourself to distinguish characteristic notes and textures with our blind tasting kit, which comes equipped with 2 to 4 pre wrapped bottles and an in-depth guide to the world of wine tasting.
Or, if you know what you like but need help choosing the right bottle, reach out to one of our in-house sommeliers for a personalized selecting experience. Cheers!