Best Wine with Beef Tenderloin

The holidays are right around the corner, and that means you’ll need to make room for dinner with family or friends. If you want to make sure your meal is delicious and memorable, get the pairings right.

The best wines for beef tenderloin include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Whether it’s a small backyard gathering or a large holiday dinner party, these wines will complement your beef tenderloin perfectly.

Think About Your Pairings

Whether you’re putting together a large spread for the holidays or having a cozy dinner for two, it’s important to get your pairings right. Think about what the dominant flavors are and work from that point.

For example, if you’re serving a steak, then go with something that has a bit more acidity and spice in it. If you want to make sure your meal is delicious and memorable, get the pairings right. The best wines for beef tenderloin include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

The most common mistake people make when pairing wine is assuming they need to spend a lot of money on an expensive bottle of wine in order for their meal to be good, but this isn’t true. Wine can be expensive, but there are also plenty of great options (both cheap and expensive) that will complement any dish you’re making at home.

Pairing with Beef Tenderloin

While there are plenty of options for wine with beef tenderloin, the best wine pairing is often a red. The reason is that red wines have more tannins than white wines, which means they stand up better to the tenderloin’s leaner texture and bold flavors.

The tannins in the wine will also help to cut through the fat in the meat, which can make it harder to pair with some wines. A good red wine for beef tenderloin will be full-bodied and rich, but not overly sweet. It should also have strong fruit flavors like blackberries or cherries that will complement the strong flavors in the beef.

More specifically, I recommend Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir as they pair well with beef tenderloin thanks to their complex fruity notes. Some people prefer a dry red wine while others prefer something sweeter. That part depends on your personal preference.

Best Cabernet Sauvignon with Beef Tenderloin

Substance ‘Cs’ Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

From the winery itself, “Classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Currant, blackberry, cigar box with touches of chocolate, cedar, and pencil lead. Full flavored & just so damn good. I should raise the price!”

Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac (Grand Cru Classé) 2016

It exhibits a deep red color with notes of dark fruit, cassis, blackcurrants, and a distinctive hint of mint. On the palate, it is full in body with ripe tannins and cassis throughout. The finish is long.

Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. It is distinctly dark fruit on the palate with cocoa and vanilla notes. It has gentle spices like nutmeg and cassis. The finish is smooth, long, and velvety.

Best Merlot with Beef Tenderloin

Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Merlot 2019

This mountainside Napa red, from the historic estate Mayacamas, has 5% cabernet franc in the blend that seems to lift the herbal notes on the nose. Bright blueberry fruit is balanced by savory mushroom and pencil-lead flavors that are brilliantly held by the acidity and fine firm tannins that will allow this to age.

Arietta 2019 Merlot “Hudson” Carneros Napa

The 2019 Merlot Hudson Vineyard is full of dark fruit, chocolate, and other savory notes that add complexity to the wine. The wine has a fruity bouquet, with aromas of fresh blueberries and raspberries mixed with vanilla and oak.

Château Lyonnat Emotion, Lussac Saint-Emilion, 2016

The wine’s deep and intense ruby color is accented by a powerful nose with aromas of black fruits, blackcurrant, and darker berries. Notes of toasty oak lend complexity to an already complex bouquet. 

The wine’s aroma and flavor are bold, yet elegant. The woodsy scent of truffles lingers on the palate after each sip is swallowed.

Best Pinot Noir with Beef Tenderloin

2016 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Pruliers

This is towards the more expensive end of the price range but no doubt this is an exceptional wine. Les Pruliers has a strong color. The wine offers aromas of fresh red fruit, wild prunes, and licorice. As it ages, it adds depth and roundness. It has aromas of cocoa, and smoked meat.

2019 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge

More affordable is the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge. This is an organic pinot noir that’s delicate, easy to drink, and naturally delicious. It has a fresh, crunchy, summer pudding fruit flavor with crisp acidity and just lip-smacking moreishness. And because it’s low in sulfur, it’s great for summer or winter drinking.

2018 Corazza Pinot Nero

At the lower end of the price range is the Pinot Nero. This is a unique wine from Friuli, a region in northeastern Italy. It’s made from the pinot noir grape and is unlike other pinot noirs you might be used to. It’s light, bright, and easy to drink.

Other options

Tempranillo

Tempranillo is a Spanish wine that can be enjoyed with red meats, including beef. It has a medium body and is known to have aromas of cherry, plum, and blackberry. I recommend you try the 2016 Marques de Riscal ‘Baron de Chirel’ Reserva. This is a simply outstanding wine that you will be sure to revisit.

Producer tasting notes: “Appearance: clear and bright with lovely cherry-red color and hints of violet. Medium-high depth of color. Lively hue around the rim with little sign of evolution. Aromas: An enormously expressive wine with great aromatic intensity of small, ripe, black fruits ( blueberries, blackcurrants, cassis, damsons, cherries in liqueur), graphite, and mineral notes from the terroir, licorice, subtle hints of blue flowers (violets), woodland undergrowth (moss and fallen leaves). Reminiscent of autumn when the leaves fall. Hot spices like cloves and black pepper, cocoa, and tobacco, all extremely well-defined. A slight touch of leather at first, which disappears when left to breathe. The wood is perfectly integrated. Palate: A powerful, dense, very rich attack. It combines sensations of volume, structure, and richness with a silky texture which never ends. Lively tannins, discernible but ripe and which will become more polished with time.” – Marques de Riscal

Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo – Nebbiolo is a red wine from Italy that pairs well with beef tenderloin because it has dark fruit flavors and an earthy taste. My recommendation is the Vietti ‘Perbacco’ Langhe Nebbiolo. This wine is exceptional value and is better than many bottles of Nebbiolo three times its price.

Critic tasting note: (2011 vintage) “Aromas of toasted oak, coffee and dried black fruit lead the nose. The palate offers sour cherry, espresso, dried sage and ground green pepper but there’s not enough fruit richness to stand up to the astringent wood tannins that leave a mouth-drying finish.”86/100, Wine Enthusiast

Which accompaniments?

  • Garlic puree: It’s no secret that garlic is delicious when paired with beef, and this dish is a great way to use it. The garlic can be roasted or sautéed in butter before being mashed into the beef’s juices, creating a creamy sauce on top of the meat.
  • Roasted vegetables: Roasting veggies brings out their natural sweetness, which pairs nicely with the red wine vinaigrette. You can roast whatever you like—potatoes, carrots, or squash are all great choices.
  • Salad of mixed greens: A simple salad of mixed greens tossed with red wine vinaigrette will provide your mouth with a refreshing change from all that rich meaty goodness (and its accompanying sauces).

Conclusion

A traditional pairing with beef tenderloin is red wine, although the best wines for beef tenderloin are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.

There are a lot of good wine pairings out there such as the Tempranillo and Nebbiolo above, but few can rival the deep flavor and richness of beef tenderloin. My recommendations for this dish are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which will complement the meat’s natural flavor without overpowering it.

I highly recommend Gordon Ramsay’s roast beef fillet recipe if you are planning on making this at home. I have made this myself and it is supreme. Always turns out well if you follow the recipe.

If you’d like to get more wine pairings, check out my other articles on Winespaired.com. If you enjoyed this one you may like to read about the Best Wine with Brisket.