Beef Stroganoff pairs best with heavier red wines that feature hints of earth, herbs and smoke such as Syrah, Nero d’Avola, Barolo, Bordeaux, and Brunello di Montalcino. Beef Stroganoff is a delicious beef dish served in a sauce that consists of beef broth, brandy, sour cream, mushrooms, onions and garlic. The dish is then served over buttered noodles, rice, or potatoes.
Beef Stroganoff is a complicated dish to pair with wine as you get contrasting flavours of cream, mushroom and beef. The addition of sour cream and buttered noodles makes this wine difficult to pair up with as the fat and carbohydrates clog up your taste buds. Lighter red wines, such as Pinot Noir or Burgundy, are typically a must with mushrooms, however, in this instance, these wines would be crushed by Beef Stroganoff’s creamy and rich flavours.
Best Wine with Beef Stroganoff
Barolo & Beef Stroganoff Pairing
My favourite pairing with Beef Stroganoff is a young Barolo. High in both tannin and acidity, the creamy beefy flavours of the Beef Stroganoff soften the inhospitable tannins in Beef Stroganoff, while the tart acidity of the wine washes away the palate coating residue of the Stroganoff sauce. The tannin in the Stroganoff sauce also breaks down the beef flavours even further, making them taste more flavourful and savoury.
Barolo is a hefty red wine from Piedmont Italy with loud flavours of blackberries, cherries, chocolate, leather, tar, smoke, violets and tobacco, which all mingle nicely with the earthy and beefy flavours of Stroganoff. White Truffles also dominate the nose, and they are right at home with the mushrooms in your Stroganoff sauce.
Barolo is not an inexpensive red wine, and it is also a red wine that demands a lot of respect. While Barolo smells like roses and violets and is of a lighter shade of red, this is not a dainty red wine. Barolo is fierce with astringent tannin and often requires decades of ageing until it has hit its prime. With Beef Stroganoff, you can get away with not ageing your Barolo, but always ensure you have a bit of protein and fat dense food as you sip a young Barolo.
Old World Syrah & Beef Stroganoff Pairing
A French Syrah and Australian Shiraz come from the same grape, but made in very different styles. Both wines share black pepper notes which make it ideal with Beef Stroganoff, however, Australian Shiraz is going to be jammier in flavour, meaning it is too fruit-forward to complement the savoury and rich sauce of Beef Stroganoff.
French Syrah, on the other hand, will still have refreshing notes of cherry and blackberry, but you’ll also find earthy and meaty flavours (like bacon) that complement the spices, mushrooms and beef flavours in your Stroganoff. French Syrah also provides plenty enough tannin to hold up to the creamy beef flavours.
Buying French wine is often confusing for wine newbies as French wines typically write the region on their bottles, not the actual grape like we see in the new world. For French Syrah, look for wines from the Rhone region labeled Cornas, Côte-Rôtie, Côtes du Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Crozes Hermitage and Hermitage. Some of these red wines will be dominantly Syrah, while others will be blended reds that include Syrah. In most cases, you’ll find dark-fruity reds balanced with notes of pepper, spice and leather.
Bordeaux & Beef Stroganoff Pairing
Bordeaux is a French red wine that is a blend of five different grapes, where typically Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape. Either wine will go great with Beef Stroganoff, as both styles of Bordeaux are meant to be enjoyed with food.
When young, Bordeaux will have lots of tannin that are softened by the meaty Stroganoff sauce, allowing the wine to open up and showcase its dark berry fruit, smoke, earth, vanilla, herbs and black pepper flavours. These flavours will drive you wild as they tease your taste buds as they weave through the hearty Stroganoff sauce. When aged, expect deeper flavours of mushroom, earth and leather that play nicely off the mushroom flavours in your Stroganoff sauce.
Bordeaux is another confusing wine to purchase and can range from affordable to insanely expensive. The expensive bottles use the best grapes and oak, often require decades of cellaring before they should be opened. Value-driven Bordeaux is typically meant for every day food, which Beef Stroganoff is not. Thus, I’d recommend a bottle of Bordeaux in the $50 and up range if you can afford it.
I give this pairing three and a half stars out of five, as there are a wide variety of Bordeaux on the market.
Cabernet Franc & Beef Stroganoff Pairing
Cabernet Franc is one of the most underappreciated and under-valued red wines on the market, which is one reason I love it. With Cabernet Franc, you’ll find aromas of plum, black currant, along with herbs, green bell pepper and green olives. The green notes of Cabernet Franc turn many people off, but I am a fierce fan of how well these green notes complement and mingle with the garlic, onion and mushroom in the Stroganoff sauce.
Medium in tannin but high in acidity, Cabernet Franc has enough weight to hold up to the meaty flavours of Beef Stroganoff. Meanwhile, the acidity of the wine keeps your taste buds and palate scraped clean of the creamy Stroganoff sauce.
Not everyone appreciates Cabernet Franc, thus, I wouldn’t suggest this for a dinner party where Beef Stroganoff is served. Furthermore, Cabernet Franc isn’t always made right, and when made poorly, it’s unfathomably terrible. However, if you find the perfect Cabernet Franc, you’ll find a red wine that is both complex and restrained with its combination of fruitiness and herbs.
Gewürztraminer & Beef Stroganoff Pairing
Many people are on the fence on whether they should pair a red wine or white wine with Beef Stroganoff, due to the wine’s creamy and rich flavours. Some feel red wine complements the beef and mushroom flavours, where as others find an aromatic white wine such as Gewürztraminer complements the actual sauce.
Gewürztraminer is a loud and highly aromatic white wine that smells of lychee, roses peach, black pepper, spices and flowers. These bold flavours allow Gewürztraminer to hold up to the rich and beefy flavours of the Stroganoff sauce, yet I do not find they go great with the beef or mushrooms in the dish.
In many instances, I often pour myself a little Gewürztraminer (or Riesling) and reserve it for the actual sauce on the noodles or rice. For each fork full of Stroganoff that contains beef or mushroom, I’ll sip one of the red wines mentioned above. Both the Gewürztraminer and red wine complement the sauce in their own way, and I find serving both makes for the ultimate pairing.