Best Wines To Pair With Prime Rib

Prime Rib: The Basics

Prime Rib is a tender cut of beef from the area behind the shoulder known as the primal rib. It was also called Standing Rib and became famous as “Sunday Roast” during the industrial revolution in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.  It is roasted, tender and juicy and served with Yorkshire pudding in England and elsewhere now. There is usually gravy to go on the slices of Prime Rib, and also mashed potatoes and the Yorkshire pudding itself. A delicious meal that brought many families together after church for Sunday roast.

Top 5 Wines For Prime Rib

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Malbec
  • GSM Blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre from the Rhone Valley, FR – Chateauneuf do Pape)
  • Tempranillo (top quality Rioja from Spain)

Many red wines will pair well with prime rib because it is beef – a dense animal protein which needs tannins to break down those proteins. But prime rib is tender, so it can marry nicely with a range of red wines. A Bordeaux blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec will be a beautiful accompaniment and any on their own will pair nicely too. There are some savoury notes in these wines and roasts typically feature herbs in the roasting pan.

Also, pan drippings are often turned into gravy and share these beautiful savoury flavours. I would also say that a nice Pinot Noir can pair well since the roast is a tender cut. A GSM blend, which is a blend of the Chateauneuf du Pape grapes Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre, would all pair well.

If you serve the roast with mashed potatoes and roast vegetables, the Chateauneuf just rounds out the dish with even more colour and excitement for the palate. The showstopper; however, is the roast beef and gravy. The peppery notes in a Syrah would highlight any pepper or peppercorn seasoning. Spanish Tempranillo and Italian Sangiovese will also work here.

Image courtesy of Twila Campbell

BC Wines To Pair With Prime Rib

My conclusion is that a classic deserves a classic. Therefore a Bordeaux Blend (Cabernet + Merlot, etc) is the best match and just remember that the English loved the Claret wines from France – a regular addition to family Sunday roasts. Have fun experimenting and enjoy!

Katherine McEachnie, dipWSET

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