Best Wines to Pair with Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is a famous English dish that satisfies on so many levels. It is named after an English General named Arthur Wellesley who was the Duke of Wellington. He defeated armies of Napoleon Bonaparte at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. It has been said that Beef Wellington was a portable dish that could be eaten on the march because it was protected by its crusty outer shell. It was also rumoured that once wrapped in pastry it resembled the original leather Wellington boot. 

Top Wine Pairings for Beef Wellington

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Bordeaux Blend – like Chateau from Roche Wines
  • Merlot
  • Chardonnay

Beef Wellington is a great dish to pair wine with because there are so many interesting elements and flavours coming from the flaky toasty buttery pastry exterior, beautifully baked tenderloin of beef wrapped in pate of foie gras and a mushroom duxelles. On top of that it is often served with gravy. This is a dream dish to pair wines with as we get to work with a variety of flavours and textures.

First wine that comes to mind as a perfect pairing is Cabernet Sauvignon because of its rich flavour and high level tannins it is a natural partner for rich beef dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine with flavours of black currants, black berry, peppercorns, cedar, and mint. It has the boldness to stand up to bold beef flavours and peppery sauces. A Bordeaux wine will also be a fantastic match for this dish as it has up to five different grapes in it and this dish has about five different elements to it so I believe the blend appeals on many levels to the complexities of the wine and food. 

For red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot, Malbec, or any combination of these Bordeaux grape varieties will work wonders with Beef Wellington. I also believe that a masculine Cote de Nuits style Pinot Noir could work well because it usually has some savoury elements and a mushroom character which will highlight the mushroom duxelles in the dish however best if it has a few tannins to break down the animal proteins. This is a situation where bold meet bold so I also feel that a Syrah with peppery nuances and blueberry flavour profile could work well here. A rose wine made from any of the red grapes mentioned here could also hold up to the dish, be a refreshing counterpoint to the foie gras but will require some tannins for the beef element. A rose with more time on skins rendering more tannins could work out just fine. 

For white wines, Chardonnay with some oak contact will marry nicely with the flaky buttery crust and if it is a richer full body style it can handle the beef. I believe sparkling wine will be delightful as the autolytic pastry nuances in the bubbles will pair well with the flaky toasty flavours of the crust. A Bordeaux white blend could work too as long as there is sufficient Semillon in the blend to balance the herbaceous acidity of Sauvignon Blanc and create a fuller mouth feel. The crust is a major player in this dish so that is why it could work with a few white wine choices, however the beef tenderloin really is the star here, so a red wine is a much better partner for fullest enjoyment. Enjoy experimenting!

Katherine McEachnie, dipWSET

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