by Peter Tompkins
Yorkshire Puddings, Roast beef & red wine; a match made in heaven.
Roast Beef is one of the easiest and most rewarding dishes to prepare and cook. It doesn’t need to be complicated and the end result should always impress.
However, much in the same way that good wine will only come from a conscientious producer or merchant; always consider the butcher and the origins of the beef – these factors will determine the quality and therefore your enjoyment of the dish. And whatever you do….please don’t overcook the beef!
Firstly, the theory behind red wine and beef is centred around the fact that red wine is generally rich in an organic compound called tannin, that is found in many food plants, such as coffee, tea, cereals, green vegetables and of course grapes. Tannins bind to protein molecules which helps soften their astringent character on the palate and allows you to enjoy the fruit character of the wine. Take the protein, or beef, in this case away and the wine will feel more tannic and firmer in style.
It’s important to also consider how the beef is cooked. If roast beef is well done (which is borderline criminal in my opinion) then it will be less synergistic with tannins and alcohol.
Conversely, if a joint of roast beef is cooked beautifully (medium rare) then it will bind and interact more efficiently with alcohol and tannin. It’s important to consider the fat content too.
A lean cut, such as fillet can cope with a wider range of wines. Equally, a fattier cut like sirloin will need more acidity and alcohol to help cut through the fat in the beef.
Finally, consider the sauce as this important element brings the dish together. A rich heavily-reduced jus will overpower a delicate red wine. On the other hand a wine with nicely weighted acidity will help lift the sauce and provide freshness to the dish.
Here are my top tips:
Roast Rib of Beef with Bodegas Caro 2018
The richly textured and exotic Caro works wonders with the juicy character of rib of beef.
Fillet of Beef with Chateau Clarke 2016
The rolls Royce of cuts, Fillet of Beef, pairs well with the structured and classically styled Ch. Clarke.
Sirloin of Beef with Baron Edmond 2018
The marbled fat of Sirloin is underpinned by the fine streak of tannin Baron Edmond provides.
Roast Topside with Waddesdon Rothschild Collection Syrah 2020
The explosively fruity Syrah brings a sweetness to the topside and allows the beef to sing.