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Chilly weather squashes overflowing farmer’s markets, and a resurgence of Pumpkin Spice Lattes can only mean one thing…Fall is nearly upon us!
It’s definitely my favourite season because it means we can all turn our ovens on again. Bring out the baked squashes, crumbling pies, and long slow roasts.
If you’re starting to plan your holiday meals early, thinking about the food and wine pairing formula, or if you’ve just been longing for a really scrumptious cut of steak, there’s nowhere better to turn than Prime Rib with the right hint of salt and pepper.
We’ll share all our Prime Rib secrets about buying and cooking the meat. Including the biggest…what wine pairs best with Prime Rib?
Food pairing is not an easy task. So from budget-friendly to superb splurge, we’ll walk you through all the best pairing tips, tricks, and recommendations so you can pick the perfect wine with your roast tonight.
Prime Rib Wine Pairing Tips to Remember:
- Red wine goes best with hearty meals like roast beef
- Prime Rib is a rich, fatty cut
- Choose a Red that will cut through that fat
- Best Options: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Bordeaux
What is Prime Rib?
The world of steaks can be something of a mystery to a new-comer. Finding the right cut of steak can be tricky. From roast beef to filet mignon, the variety is wide.
After all, cows are large. Who’s to know what piece of the one you’re eating!
Well, first of all, take a look at the chart below. It may help clarify some cuts.
As the name implies, Prime Rib (or “Standing Rib”) comes from a cow’s ribs. Specifically, the primal section. The ribs are sandwiched between the “chuck” near the shoulder and the “loin” at the back.
Cow ribs are long, consisting of 13 ribs per side. The entire rib rack can weigh up to 24 pounds. (This proves the above point that cows are large.)
Obviously most restaurants and Christmas feasts don’t serve up the whole 24-pound extravaganza. It doesn’t fit in the oven.
Instead ribs are divided up into sections.
- Cuts 1-5 – Chuck section
- Cuts 6-12 – Rib section
- Cut 13 – Loin
Prime Rib refers to that second section, ribs 6 through 12. Now even this cut can be up to 20 pounds, so it’s rarely served whole. These ribs are then divided even further into two more sections. These are then called:
The First Cut – Ribs 10 through 12
This is the smaller of the two and is made of the muscles closest to the loin. This is one long uniform muscle. It’s also called the “loin cut” and the “small end.” There is less fat here, but the meat itself tends to be more tender. (The cow uses this area very little, so the muscles are softer!)
The Second Cut – Ribs 6 through 9
This is the larger of the cuts and is made of the muscles closest to the chuck. This is a conglomeration of several muscles and connective tissue, but it has more fat pockets.
What does it mean to be “Prime”?
This is where it gets confusing. Prime Rib is the name of the cut, yes.
But “Prime” is actually a legally designated term. Like wine, meat cuts can only have designations if they meet certain nationally-approved standards. “Prime” is the highest grade of beef available in US markets.
In order to be considered “Prime” a cut must
- Be heavily marbled (10-13% intramuscular fat)
- From a cow only 9 to 30 months old
“Marbling” refers to the intramuscular fat located within muscle. When the animal is alive, these fat stores provide energy to nearby muscle. When cooked, the fat will melt and fill the meat with flavour and juices. (This is why it is such a desirable piece of meat!) These streaks of fat running through the leaner muscles in a pattern that often looks like marble.
Not every Prime Rib is actually graded “Prime.”
The second tier cuts are called “Choice,” these meats are somewhat marbled. Third-tier is “Select,” with minimal marbling.
In short, you can have a Prime-Prime Rib, a Choice-Prime Rib, or a Select-Prime Rib. Know which one you’re ordering and make sure you’re getting what you pay for.
Of course, these factors do make Prime cuts more expensive than other cuts, and harder to come by. But it’s worth it!
How to choose and buy Prime Rib?
Prime cuts can be harder to find. Realistically, you won’t find one in your local supermarket.
You should check out local meat markets and specialty butcher’s shops.
If you’re having trouble finding “Prime Rib” listed on a label try “Bone-in Beef Rib Roast.”
And remember, Prime is in the name of this cut, but that doesn’t mean the particular cut is inherently designated “Prime.” Check with your butcher to be sure the grade you are buying is actually “Prime” rather than “Choice” or “Select.”
Another option is to order it, either in a shop or online. If you order online, be very careful you choose a reputable seller. Returning a hunk of meat isn’t the same as returning a pair of shoes that don’t fit.
How do you Cook Prime Rib?
Those new to steak often believe cooking Prime Rib must be hard. It’s got a reputation for being delicious and special, so obviously it can’t be easy, right?
Wrong! With a little care and love, you can cook an excellent Prime Rib without too much stress.
The first thing you will need to do is prepare the beef. No beef cuts should ever just be thrown on the grill or into the oven!
Most beef cooks best when it’s been brought slowly to room temperature. You should never put cold beef in a pan. You’ll lose all the flavor and moisture that makes beef so delicious. If you’re typically making bland, dry, grey-ish steaks, this might be why.
Allowing the meat to expose to air not only warms it up, but it also dries the outer layer. This means when you sear it, the steak will get a nice brown crispy exterior. (It’s extra moisture that stops you from getting a nice brown crust.)
Warming and Drying:
The other key technique to making a good beef cut is to season the meat, especially with salt, at least an hour before you cook it.
Seasoning with salt so early gives the salt a chance to soak into the meat itself and flavor it. Salt first draws all the water out of your meat, which is why seasoning too soon before cooking gives you a dry, flavorless meal. But if you let it sit longer, all that moisture dissolves the salt and it slowly sinks back into the meat, bringing the salt with it, Voila! A juicy, seasoned cut of beef.
Prime Rib Timing:
The good thing is, you can combine these two steps. For steaks, seasoning 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking and allowing them to come to room temperature is fine. However, Prime Rib Roast is a larger cut of meat. Seasoning 1 hour ahead of time just won’t cut it.
Just like a Thanksgiving Turkey requires a few days of bringing before cooking, a Prime Rib should be seasoned with the same care.
You should season your Prime Rib at least 24 hours in advance. But you can (and probably should) season it up to 3 days in advance. Leave it uncovered in the fridge during this time.
Remember, it will still need several hours sitting out of the refrigerator before you cook it. It needs to warm up all the way through the interior. About 4 hours on the counter should do it.
Now that your beef has been seasoned and warmed to room temperature, you’re ready to get down to the business of cooking!
We’ll get into recipe specifics below, but whether you choose to roast or grill your Standing Rib, the principles are the same.
- First, high, hot heat to seal in juices.
- Second, a long, low heat to slow-cook the meat.
You want to seal the flavor of the beef into the meat by creating a crust right away.
- To do this for a roasted or slow-cooked rib, just sear the meat in a cast-iron skillet or dutch oven until it’s brown on all sides and the crust is formed.
- To do this for a grilled rib, set up your grill so all the coals are on one side of the grill. Place the meat over the coals
This is the part where the real cooking is done. You want the interior to be hot, but not overcooked. The goal is to get it to at least 125°F, though you can adjust that based on how to do you like your steak.
Word to the wise, Prime Rib is not a cut you want to cook well-done! It gets dry and chewy and tough very quickly. Keep an eye on it and don’t let it get over 134-140°F.
- For a roast, simply place the Prime Rib into your roasting pan and let it cook to the desired temperature.
- For a grill, move your Prime Rib from the coal side to the no-coal side and close. Let it cook to the desired internal temperature over this indirect heat.
There is one school of thought that suggests instead you slow-roast your meat first and then sear it at the very end to get a piping hot crust. This is the “reverse sear” method.
The final key to any moist cut of beef… After cooking, let it rest!
Resting is key to make sure all those delicious juices and fats stay inside the meat and redistribute themselves into the muscle. If you start cutting and serving too soon after you take it out of the oven, all those juices you took such great care of in your prep and cook will end up on your cutting board. Take your Rib Roast out of the oven, let it cool for 20 minutes, remove it from the pan and let sit on the cutting board for 10 minutes. (A total of 30 minutes resting.)
Remove the twine, if you used it. You can also remove the bones if you made a previous slice there. Then you can easily slice servings.
Otherwise, you can use the bones and slicing guides to cut specific ribeye steaks.
Just make sure all your guests see your beautiful roast before you start hacking away at it!
What about the bone?
Bone-in Prime Rib is a sight to behold. It’s an impressive centerpiece to a Christmas meal. And who doesn’t like to occasionally return to their caveman roots to gnaw on a bone?
Cooking Prime Rib with bones tends to help the meat retain flavor and moisture, but there is a change you should be aware of.
The bone prevents any spices from getting into the meat on that side.
Fortunately for you cavemen out there, we have an easy solution!
During prep, you can actually slice the meat off the bones. Not fully, or you may as well buy boneless. But enough of a slit that you can rub some slices in between the bones and the flesh. When you’re ready to cook, just use baker’s twine to tie the meat and bone back together. (Be sure to cut the twine off before you cut servings though!)
It is good to note that the other name for Prime Rib is “Standing Rib.” This is because many times it is slow-roasted bone-side down so the meat never touches the roasting pan.
Boneless Prime Ribs is equally delicious. I’ve made both and sometimes I honestly can’t tell the difference. So, if it’s easier or cheaper for you to skip the bones, go for it!
Top Prime Rib Recipes:
Picking a Wine for Prime Rib Roast:
Most people would probably guess a red wine was the best option for a huge cut of beef like Prime Rib. But which one? In general, there are a few tips you can use to help you selected. Before we get into the details of each wine option, take a look at the general guidelines.
As with all pairings, keep in mind the flavors you are trying to pair with. In this case…Prime Rib!
Flavors in Prime Rib
Prime Rib is one of the most flavorful cuts. It has a strong beef flavor. But it is also high in fat, so there is a great deal of rich, fatty flavors too.
Beef and Red Wine Tips:
- If your dish is bold, go with a bold wine.
- If your dish is lighter, go with a lighter wine.
- If you’re serving beef from California, try a California wine.
- Whatever sort of food your serving, choose a wine from that region of the world
*Steak and Beef can be an exception for this rule, but it is worth trying one time if you have a very specific cut of beef.
Fat content and tannins
- If meat is high in fat, you need a wine that will cut through the fat so it doesn’t coat your mouth and end up overwhelming everything.
- If you just keep eating fatty meats with no palate cleanser, the fat coats your mouth and you actually end up tasting less of the meat’s flavor as the meal goes on.
- High tannins cut through the fat
- High acidity cuts through fat
- Young wines cut through the fat
Best Types of Wine for Prime Rib
Everyone’s palate is different and everyone has a different goal in mind with their meal. Some want to highlight the wine. Others are very proud of their Prime Rib Roast. And some just want a seamlessly blended meal. Either way, we have options for every sort of Prime Rib Roast pairing you could think of!
For a Classic: 2017 Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)
Cabernet Sauvignons, especially young ones, are full of tannins, which make them perfect for a fatty cut like Prime Rib. If you grilled your rib, you’re more likely to enjoy an oaked Cabernet Sauvignon since it will pair well with the smoky flavors of the grill. Those that have more savory and herbaceous flavors pair very well with oven roasts!
A Michael Mondavi wine, Oberon is rich, full, and sure to please your guests! The flavors are full of berries and spice, so it will perfectly cut through the fatty beef. Its strong structures and tannins won’t wilt under the powerful meat flavors either! Oak, vanilla, and berries on the nose. Black cherry and cassis are the main flavor notes, but if you decant the wine you’ll find notes of licorice and minerals as well. Luxurious fruits pair so well with juicy meat, but the minerals keep the combination from getting overpowering. It’s really the perfect wine for roasts.
For a Bold Choice: 2015 J. Rickards Brown Barn Vineyard Petite Sirah (Sonoma)
Petite Sirahs are typically very black, inky wines high in tannins and structure. They don’t shy away from big bold flavors, but the tannic acid will slice right through all that fat. Dark berries like blackberry and blueberry soak the meat with additional flavor. And the spice is just perfect to elevate the meat. There is probably a no better choice for a Prime Rib roast if you’re focusing on flavor!
J. Rickards has created a remarkably smooth Petite Sirah, especially for such a young wine. It is deliciously full of rich, thick fruits. Black cherry, blackberry, even some deep plumb notes, but tempered by savories like olive and mint. It’s full of the very strong tannins typical in Petite Sirahs. Such a bright acidity is perfect for tempering fatty meats.
For Elegance: 2016 “A Peïssou,” Dom. des Amiel (Syrah//France)
Fresh red and black fruit mingled with touches of vibrant spice make Syrah such a perfect pair for roasted meats. They often also have hints of smoke or meat aromas which blend so perfectly with a Prime Rib. But what makes them so unique and perfect for special occasions is the almost feminine quality. Big, bold, powerful fruits. Sexy, vibrant, sharp spice. And feminine softness that ends the sip. What more could you ask for in a Christmas feast!
This stunning luxurious Syrah is made from 30-year-old vines with the minimal harvest. The result is a full, rich wine with excellent structure and intense flavors. Blackberries, plums, and peppercorn note that slowly unfold into delicate floral notes like violet. This is a perfect example of a wine that pairs with a grilled roast as well since there is a tinge of smoked meat aroma to the glass.
For Something Lighter: 2016 Les Cadets Ch. Les Graves de Viaud (Bordeaux)
If you’re worried about being overwhelmed by flavor and just want something a little light to sip as a palate cleanser, try a young Bordeaux (or young Merlot). If it hasn’t aged as long, the acid and tannins will still be noticeably high. High enough to cut through the fat. Although you may not choose to sip one on its own, paired with heavy Prime Rib, young Bordeaux will feel refreshing and livening.
It’s very rare that you can find a delicious Bordeaux in a reasonable price range. Les Cadets fits that bill and then some! Crafted from a majority Cabernet Franc, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot taking a backseat, this wine is delightfully acidity, fruity, and structured – everything you need to pair with Prime Rib! The Cabernet Franc lightens the wine by adding such lovely acidic texture and vigor. Merlot brings the fruit with heavy notes of plumbs and cherries. Cabernet Sauvignon adds in minerals and herbs with gravel, pepper, and hints of rosemary and thyme. The lovely tannic structure is just delicious but the young-drinking quality makes Les Cadets a breath of fresh air!
For Something Different: 2015 Serraboella Barbaresco Barale Fratelli (Nebbiolo//Italy)
If you’re looking for something a little less common, you should definitely try a Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy. Your first whiff of a Nebbiolo will likely be delicate and soft, but once you take a sip you’ll be surprised by a highly tannic and strongly structured wine. Nebbiolos are deceptively soft-smelling, but this same delicate aspect is what sets it apart from other highly acidic wines. Prime Rib pairs perfectly since the softer notes of the beef flavors complement the floral notes while the high-fat content is the perfect foil to Nebbiolos’ tannins!
Intensely fruit-forward with notes of blueberry, black cherries, black pepper spice, and leather, but oak aging softens some of the sharper edges. Oak and vanilla are strong on the nose mingled with faint delicate violet and rose. The full fruity notes are perfect for Prime Rib meat, but it is the pairing of the high tannins and high fat that really make this pairing combination sing! Try this for a totally different approach to a classic highly tannic wine.
For a Splurge: 2010 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Lagniappe (Washington)
Most of these options are budget-friendly wines for Prime Rib. But if you really want to impress your guests with wine as well, here is a very elegant option.
Encapsulating every aspect of Syrah you can imagine, Gramercy manages to fit in fruit, spice, earth, and herbs all in one. And yet somehow it isn’t overwhelming. The nose is full of violets, roses, vanilla, and chocolate – intensely aromatic. The complex and layered notes filter in and out of your glass: boysenberries to thyme to black pepper to hints of tangerine to smoky meat to berry brambles. There is even a hint of funk in the background. Decant first to allow all these flavors to emerge.
What if I want to cook Prime Rib with Red Wine?
Choosing to season your Prime Rib in red wine is a lovely choice, especially if you are doing a roast. The good thing here is you don’t need a super expensive or excellent wine to make a delicious roast.
The flavor of the beef, especially in a Stand Rib is so strong and fatty, all you need is something to add a little bit of extra fruit or spice to the seasoning.
Best Red Wines for Cooking Prime Rib
For a full fruity addition to your Prime Rib, try a Merlot wine. It will add flavors like cherries, jams, with just a hint of oak and vanilla.
Bogle Merlot is full of cherries, strawberry jam, and hints of dark plumbs. There’s just a bit of oak and tobacco to keep it from being too sweet but since you’re adding it to your cooking roast for those fruity flavors, those other notes will just deepen the complexity of your sauce.
Côtes du Rhônes are some of my favorite reds. They are usually blended from the Rhône region of France, which includes Syrahs, Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvèdre. They are usually medium-bodied with medium tannic flavor and a hint of spice. Really lovely to pair with meat depending on seasoning.
Youthful, vibrant and full of fruity. Crisp acidity, tart blackberries, and cassis. What sets this apart is the spice from the 60% Syrah. There’s a strong vigorous note of pepper that spices up the flavor. (Ignore the label, I’ve never had a bottle that had any fig notes in it. But it makes a cute picture!)
This wine is also good enough to sip. Pour it in the sauce and pour a glass for yourself…one pour for the sauce, two pours for your glass!
Rioja is a lovely Spanish wine. It’s similar in structure and tannins to Cabernet Sauvignon, but with a more fruity flavor. The Reserve and Grand Reserva selections should be reserved for drinking only, but a basic Rioja will add a lovely brightness and black fruit quality to a roast or sauce!
This lovely young Rioja is full of bright fruits: blackberries, plumbs, and a slight hint of cranberry. But where it really shines is in the herbal department! Notes of cardamom, mint, thyme, and rosemary shine through. It’s the perfect wine for either a first-roast-of-fall palate or it’s-almost-spring palate! Add to sauces for those middle-season roasts where you’re just on the border of cool and warm.
My favorite Recipe and Pairing:
Below is my absolute favorite Prime Rib recipe from Oh Sweet Basil. It’s fairly easy. I always have the ingredients on hand. And the result is so delicious and juicy, the beef just melts in your mouth. Check out her site for a more in depth look at the recipe!
What You Need:
- Prime Rib Roast
- Roasting Pan
- 2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt*
- Season spices to taste
- 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
*Kosher Salt is necessary. Table salt is too fine and you’ll end up with over-salted meat. Kosher salt has big enough crystals to get the desired juicy, flavorful effect.
What You Do:
- Cut slits in the outer fat of the Prime Rib. Slice the meat from the bones but do not fully remove.
- Season the Roast with Kosher Salt. (You can add spices like allspice for cardamom for Christmas or rosemary and thyme for a more savory version.)
- Refrigerate for at least 72 hours uncovered
- Remove from the refrigerator for 4 hours.
- Set the oven to 200°F and heat oil in a pan
- Sear the Roast on all sides in the pan.
- Place bone-side down, fat-side up in the roasting dish
- Add garlic and butter to the Prime Rib
- Roast for 3-4 hours until the interior is 120°F
- Turn off the oven and let the Roast rest in the oven, doors closed, until the temperature rises to 125°F
- Remove from the oven. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- Place on a cutting board. Remove twine. Slice and serve!
I pair it with the 2015 Mullineux Family Syrah from South Africa ($36.96). It’s so absolutely delicious and everything you expect a delicious Syrah to be. (If you can’t tell by now, I love Syrah.) Typical blackberry, black currant, and black pepper flavors, a hint of plumb as well. There is a whole second layer of complex savory notes like bacon, olives, mint and raspberries. But the tannins are so silky you barely notice they are there as they cleanse your palate. A seamless transition from one bite to the next. You really can’t go wrong with this one. Elegance in a glass.
Get Ready For The Season!
Start planning your holiday meals and wine pairings now. It takes the stress off the season later so you can really just sit back and enjoy it! (With a glass of wine of course!)
Prime Rib doesn’t have to be a hard meal to make. It’s absolutely luxurious and all you need is a little time in advance to prepare.
It also pairs with so many wine options, there’s a choice for any mood you could be in. Just think about what seasonings you’re using and remember to find a wine high in tannins.
And this year when your relatives all sit around the table, surprise them with a perfectly cooked Prime Rib and a delicious red wine pairing!
In short, Ribeye is a piece of Prime Rib!
Prime Rib is a full-sized roast, a whole rack of ribs. While Ribeye is a single slice from that primal rib section! When you serve your Prime Rib, you’ll be cutting it into ribeyes for each person. However, a cut is only technically a “Ribeye” steak if it was cut before the meat was cooked.
If you are at a restaurant and order Prime Rib, they will likely serve you a slice of the already cooked roast. If you are at a restaurant and order a Ribeye Steak, they will serve you a slice from the Prime Rib portion, but it will have been cut while raw and cooked separately.
Carve your Prime Rib by first removing the twine. Then remove the meat from the bones. (This will be easy assuming you already pre-sliced in the seasoning step.)
Then slice each piece of meat off the main roast in portions.
Only cut the slices that you plan to serve immediately! It is much easier to store and reheat Prime Rib if the roast is intact, not to mention it keeps the flavors and moisture locked in until you are ready to eat it.
Reheating Prime Rib is not as tricky as it seems. You’ll need to reheat in the oven at low heat (200-275°F) slowly until it has reached 125 °F internally.
Cooks Illustrated recommends you then sear the meat externally on all the non-cut sides.
Prime Rib is a classic beef roast, so the pairing options for sides are extensive!
Try classic vegetables like Creamed Spinach, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Green Beans, Roasted Carrots and Root Veggies.
Go with something unique like Cauliflower Puree, Drunken Mushrooms, Winter Squash, and Toasted Nuts, Swiss Chard.
And of course, don’t forget the sauces. Prime Rib goes especially well with a dollop of Horseradish on the side and some Red Wine Sauce drizzled on top! (Don’t get too rich with sauces, though. The meat is already rich and flavorful as is. You might overwhelm your palate.)
Prime Rib can be graded as “Prime,” “Choice,” or “Select.” (Don’t be confused by the Prime in Prime Rib – that refers to the section of the animal, not the grade of the meat!)
The main differences between Prime and Choice grading are
Aging of the animal
Prime is the highest grade coming from the youngest animals and having the highest intramuscular fat marbling.
The choice is the middle option.
Select is the last!
When serving large groups of people it’s good to over-estimate. Usually, 1-2 pounds of meat per person is a safe choice.
If you’re serving just a few people, you can actually measure by a number of ribs. (Example, a cut of 3 or 4 ribs, if your butcher will do it for you.)
Prime Rib can be stored in the freezer for 6 months.
Prime rib can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3-5 days pre-cooking. (Though it is best to cook right away.)
Storing Prime Rib Leftovers:
It’s best to finish your Prime Rib the day it is cooked, but if there is some leftover, simply wrap it up in a plastic wrap with some of its jus (cooking juices) and put it in the fridge. It will keep for about a week. But try to eat it before then!
Prime Rib is a very healthy cut of beef. It contains nutrients like iron, B12, calcium, and zinc. A single serving also contains about 30-45% of our recommended daily protein intake. Because it is so high in protein, Prime Rib contains a full spectrum of amino acids including threonine, which is one we cannot produce ourselves!
However, because it is such a fatty piece of meat, don’t overindulge. It also contains about 30-35% of our recommended daily fat intake!
Also, keep in mind how the Prime Rib is served, if you’re eating it over mounds of buttered potatoes or swimming in creamy sauces, you’ll be changing the calories and nutritional facts quite a bit!
Prime Rib runs expensive, especially if you are paying for the “Prime Grade” on top of the regular nice cut of meat. Prime-Prime Rib can run you about $17-30 per pound. Choice-Prime Rib will be a little cheaper at $14-25 per pound.
Tannins are a naturally occurring compound that is commonly found in plant matter. Places like wood bark, tea leaves, cacao, nuts, unripe fruits, and grape skins.
Their purpose in nature is to protect the plant and prevent animals and pests from devouring them. We use tannins for a number of purposes like making leather, dyeing clothes, even photography. But let’s focus in on wine here.
In our wines, tannins create that bitter and textural feeling, especially in red wine.
Red wines are particularly high in tannins because they are fermented in their skins and seeds, while most white wines are fermented only as juice.
When you take a sip of red wine and feel that velvety, plush, or silky mouthfeel that coats your tongue and teeth, those are tannins!
They are incredibly useful to build texture, acidity, and structure. If done well, tannin flavor will not overwhelm the wine, but if the tannins are too high or too young, the taste and texture can be unpleasant.
Tannins are excellent for beef pairing because they create such high acidity. Acidity is what keeps your wine fresh and allows it to cut through layers of fat.
Tannin compounds will actually physically break down the fat in your mouth and allow strong meat flavors to be released. As you eat a piece of meat, the fat can coat your mouth and actually stop you from tasting the meat flavor as you continue to eat.
Tannins will stop that coating in its tracks and refresh your palate.
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