Beer Versus Wine – The Perfect Prime Rib Roast Pairing

As a foodie and an admirer of both craft beer and fine wines, I often wonder what the perfect food pairing is.  What follows is a monthly debate on just that.  Once a month I’ll toss out a food for pairing suggestions from my fellow beer geeks and wine nerds.  Some dishes will come with a convention that popular opinion dictates a specific pairing.  Other posts will present a dish that is a toss-up between beer or wine.  I look forward to hearing your suggestions in this conversation.  Be creative, challenge norms, have fun, and check back often to read what others have to say.   

A few times a year (mostly when they are on sale), I am fortunate to come home after a day of doing man things or volunteering to a home cooked prime rib roast by Mrs. G.  As I open the front door, the succulent smells of roasting beef come wafting down the stairs from our second floor kitchen to greet me in our foyer.  Nothing says welcome home like a meal you don’t have to prepare.  This year, she prepared one of my favorite dishes of prime rib while I was volunteering for a day and a half at the Christmas Village Toy Store.  My aching bones and famished soul were happy to have only one task that night to prepare for dinner.  Pick out the perfect wine!  Sorry beer fans, but prime rib is a meal fit for an elegant wine in my opinion.

Prime Rib with Cabernet Vegetable Jus, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Mashed Potatoes

Prime Rib with Cabernet Vegetable Jus, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Mashed Potatoes

I paired the prime rib roast with a 2010 Amizetta Cabernet Sauvignon.  Prime rib, while flavorful from the rich savory meat, is a simpler meal, and I look for a wine that the prime rib can showcase instead of the other way around.  The fat from the meat helps to counter the sharper tannins in a Cabernet allowing the other nuances of the wine to be the star of the meal.  If I was, however, pairing prime rib with beer, I would chose something Belgian, or an American derivative of a Belgian like Allagash’s Four.  With 4 hops, 4 malts, 4 yeasts, and 4 fermentations, the prime rib would nuance the complex flavors from the raison to the plumb to the spice to the caramel to the slight hops.

What about you?  What is your perfect pairing with prime rib?  Does red meat have to be paired with beer or wine for you?

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8 responses to “Beer Versus Wine – The Perfect Prime Rib Roast Pairing

  1. Prime rib is definitely a wine food; definitely a special occasion too–and I looking at what I have in the house. If I’m going to share it with friends (who really appreciate wine) for a very special occasion, I would probably be open a bottle of Bell 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon.

    If it was less special, I’d open a bottle of Ravenswood “Besieged”–for the Alicante Bouschet tempered with the Mourvedre and Carignane and a few other varietals.

    • I like your theory on not bringing out the “good” wine with friends who don’t appreciate it. We do the same. Of course, if they do like a good wine, we share our best. If they don’t, then it’s really a waste of money.

  2. Pingback: Wandering Wrap-up: December 31 | The Wandering Sheppard·

  3. Nice call on the Cab. I was just at a wine dinner and they paired a Filet with a Caymus Cab. Although, I have been waiting to do a Barolo with slow-cooked meat.

    As far as beer, I had a New Belgium 1554 with slow-cooked Pork Belly. So I would go with a dark beer (with chocolatey malts), if you wanted to do beer.

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