With its fall off the bone tenderness, Beef Brisket pairs best with red wines featuring soft tannin, high acidity and a kiss of smokiness such as Montepulciano, Ribera del Duero, Syrah, and Rosso Conero. While beef brisket is meaty, wines with too much tannin will overpower the juicy flavours of this slow-cooked dish.
With Beef Brisket, you’ll still want lots of tannin, but you’ll want them soft – meaning the wine is made in a style where the tannin is mellow. Young Cabernet has hard tannin, meaning the wine tastes harsh and astringent if it has not had time to age. Wines with soft tannin come across as velvety, smooth, and plush which is a must for Beef Brisket.
Some say the oakiness of White Wine is perfect with BBQ or grilled food. I disagree. With Beef Brisket, we find that white wines are crushed under the dense meatiness of this heavy dish.
Best wine with Beef Brisket
Rosso Conero & Beef Brisket Pairing
Rosso Conero is a rich Italian red wine made from Montepulciano (at least 85 percent) and Sangiovese. When matured in oak, Rosso Conero features a teasing smokey aroma on the nose, which goes well with grilled or smoked flavours of Beef Brisket. Meanwhile, the black cherry, raspberry, and currant fruit flavours of this ruby-red wine balance out the charred bitterness of the beef brisket crust. Rosso Conero’s ample acidity is also a good foil for Beef Brisket’s luscious fattiness.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo & Beef Brisket Pairing
A medium-bodied red wine like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that has been blended with a bit of Sangiovese has a fair amount of tannin and just enough acidity to cut through the dense meatiness of Beef Brisket. The robust herbal and tobacco-like flavours of this inky red wine deliver more depth to the Beef Brisket, making for an excellent pairing. The chocolate flavours of an aged Montepulciano is a perfect complement to the crispy exterior of the Brisket – but be warned, heavily oaked Montepulciano d’Abruzzo might be too full-bodied for Beef Brisket.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a drier red wine, so while it does not taste sweet, you’ll still find refreshing flavours of black cherry, plum and blackberry. You’ll also find notes of earth, leather, spice and clove.
Ribera del Duero Reserva and BBQ Beef Brisket
Ribera del Duero Reserva is Tempranillo, making it a full-bodied Spanish red wine featuring soft tannins when aged. With flavours of black cherries, blackberries, cassis brown sugar, smoke, wild game, dark chocolate, earth, mocha and vanilla Ribera del Duero will serve up a lot of contrasting and complementary flavours with your Beef Brisket.
Ribera del Duero Reserva means the wine has seen at least a year of oak ageing, which gives the wine an earthy layer that is exceptional with the charred crust of your beef brisket. High in tannin, Rivera del Duero has soft tannin due to extensive ageing in oak, so it’s ready to drink right out of the bottle. The silky tannin helps the Beef Brisket taste even more tender and savoury as tannin naturally breaks down protein molecules.
Syrah & Smoked Beef Brisket
The peppery crust of beef brisket pairs well with the spicy flavours of a medium-bodied Syrah from France or California. Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape, but they are made in a different style where Shiraz comes across as more fruit-forward and jammy, where Syrah is earthier, spicier and meaty.
With Syrah, you’ll still find refreshing fruit elements, such as blackberry, raspberry and blueberries. However, you’ll find complex notes of spice, black pepper, meat, bacon, rosemary and smoke that meld perfectly with a tender cut of Beef Brisket.
Zinfandel Wine Paired with Beef Brisket
Zinfandel is the go-to red for many Beef Brisket lovers, and if you smother your Brisket in BBQ sauce, a jammy Zinfandel makes for a great choice. If your Beef Brisket does not feature a sauce, Zinfandel adds a touch of sweetness with its fruity notes of blackberry, black cherry, plum and raspberry. Zinfandel also has notes of smoke, black pepper and vanilla that add further excitement and appeal to this pairing.
I find Zinfandel a bit too loud for Beef Brisket, which is why I only give it three and a half stars. I’m a huge lover of Zinfandel, and many people swear by Beef Brisket and Zinfandel, but my preference for wines paired with this tender cut of beef are less fruit-forward and more herbal and savoury – which is something Zinfandel is not.