Steak & Wine

When it comes to steak, conventional wisdom says the color of your wine should match the color of your meat.

But if you can’t bear to quaff yet another cabernet sauvignon with your beef, there are other options, including plenty that refute convention, says Natalie MacLean, a sommelier and wine writer.

“Robust whites can also muscle in beside a steak,” she says. “If you’re tired of big, honkin’ reds, try a California chardonnay or a French blend of marsanne and rousanne. These toasty, aromatic whites highlight the smoky notes in the meat.”

But avoid light-bodied whites, which can be overshadowed by the assertive flavors of the steak.

If you’d rather color coordinate your meal, but still aren’t interested in a cab, MacLean suggests other hearty reds, such as an Australian shiraz or Rhone Valley syrah.

“These wines aren’t as tannic as cabernet but they pack a lot of flavor in the glass, so they stand up to the robust flavors in the meat,” says MacLean, whose Web site, NatalieMacLean.com, offers reams of pairing suggestions.

And if you’re looking to get outside the wine paradigm, there are other options.

“That classic cocktail, the Bloody Mary, is spectacular with steak,” MacLean says. “The salt, celery and tomato ingredients are like a liquid garnish for the meat. And the sheer alcoholic heft of the drink doesn’t hurt either.”

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