Beef Wellington requires a dry and medium-bodied red wine such as a Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, Chianti, Malbec, or Syrah to stand up to the beef flavours while complementing the puff pastry, onion and mushroom flavours in this decadent dish.
Beef Wellington is a filet of beef that covered in a mixture of chopped mushrooms, shallots, herbs and onions that have been browned after being sautéed in butter. The beef filet is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden brown and flaky.
Best Wine with Beef Wellington
Pinot Noir & Beef Wellington Pairing
Pinot Noir is a light and fruity red wine that is high in acidity, thus it can cut right through the buttery pastry crust with ease. The acidity also highlights all the various flavours in your Beef Wellington, allowing each flavour to stand out as it mingles with the next. On the nose, expect plenty of cherries and wild strawberry, which keep your palate cleansed and your taste buds refreshed.
While light and delicate, Pinot Noir is known for its earthy funk and barnyard flavours which will complement the mushroom, onion, shallot and herbal flavours found inside your flaky Beef Wellington. Thus, you get a wonderful marriage of food and wine that complements and contrasts one another.
You won’t want a cheap Pinot Noir for your Beef Wellington, as these often taste candied, flat and won’t be substantial to hold up to the hefty weight of Beef Wellington. Instead, opt for a mid-tier or higher Pinot Noir for your Beef Wellington from Oregon or New Zealand. Anything over $35 (from the store), should be the starting price point as Pinot Noir is an expensive wine to make right.
Burgundy, which is a Pinot Noir made in France, is another example of the style of Pinot Noir you should be chasing after. While refreshing with flavours of tart cherries and field strawberries, Burgundy has deep and complex layers of forest floor and mushrooms to complement the delicious sauce found within your Beef Wellington.
Bordeaux & Beef Wellington Pairing
Bordeaux is the classic wine pairing often paired with Beef Wellington as it’s a food-friendly and blended red wine consisting of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. As it is blended, Bordeaux is made in a balanced style where you’ll find enough tannin to hold up to the beefy flavours of your Beef Wellington. However, you’ll also get medium acidity to help cut through the puff pastry and keep your mouth refreshed.
I’m often hesitant to recommend Bordeaux to new wine drinkers as it’s a complex wine as there are so many tiers and levels involved. Bordeaux can command some of the most expensive wine prices in the world, yet for every $1,000 bottle out there, you’ll find a hundred or more $30-$40 bottles that will go beautifully with Beef Wellington.
For pairing on a budget, seek out a medium-bodied Bordeaux that is young. Aged Bordeaux commands a heftier price as bottle ageing takes time, and time is money. Young Bordeaux is often high in tannin, however, the massive amount of fat and proteins found in your Beef Wellington will soften the tannin quickly. When you soften the tannin, you open up a new world of flavours such as Black Currant, cedar, chocolate, minerals, smoke, vanilla, licorice, truffles and pencil shavings that mesh perfectly with the savoury Beef Wellington flavours.
When buying from a store, I highly recommend sticking to Bordeaux that is $30+ dollars. Bordeaux under $30 rarely sees oak, and is often made in a Bordeaux style where the flavours are fresh and fruity and the wine lacks complexity. There is nothing wrong with this style, however, it won’t hold up to a delicious slab of Beef Wellington.
Chianti Classico & Beef Wellington Pairing
While Beef Wellington is extremely popular in France, your waiter will certainly not yell out “Sacre Bleu!” should you pair an non-French wine with it. Chianti Classico is an Italian red wine balanced with high tannin and acidity. The tannin is softened by the beefy flavours of your Beef Wellington, and the heavy amounts of protein in the beef filet are broken down by the tannin in the wine. This allows the Beef to taste more savoury and tender, while the wine becomes more velvety and silky on the tongue.
The high acidity of Chianti Classico allows it to cut through the buttery puff pastry and fats, which helps the Beef, onion, shallot and mushroom flavours stand out even more.
Chianti is known for its juicy black and red cherry flavours, however, it’s also earthy, smoky and herbal, which complements the Beef and gravy inside your baked Beef Wellington.
Chianti Classico means the red wine was made in the original area where Chianti was first produced. As Chianti grew in popularity, so did the wine borders, thus anything outside those original borders is called Chianti. Chianti Classico must be at least 80% Sangiovese, while Chianti must be 70% Sangiovese. Many winemakers are adding Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to their Chianti, which depletes it of its true Chianti taste, thus I often recommend Chianti Classico over Chianti for a better chance of having that pure Sangiovese taste.
Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva & Beef Wellington Pairing
Ribera Del Duero is a full-bodied Spanish red wine made primarily from the Tempranillo grape (at least 75%). And when aged, you’ll find complex and loud flavours of black cherries, blackberries, strawberries, brown sugar, smoke, wild game, dark chocolate, earth, mocha, vanilla and licorice.
The high tannin of an aged Ribera del Duero softens up beside the beefy slab of filet in your beef wellington, while the complex layers of pepper, wild game, herbs and mocha play off the earthy onion and mushroom flavours baked into your Beef Wellington.
Syrah & Beef Wellington Pairing
Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape but refer to different styles. Shiraz is the more popular style as it is fruit-forward, jammy and peppery. Syrah is less fruit-forward and more savoury and peppery. Both wines do feature blackberry, raspberry and blueberry flavours; it’s just that Shiraz is louder with those notes. And if oaked, Shiraz will be more pronounced with coca and vanilla flavours, making it taste sweet, vs savoury.
Syrah, on the other hand, is much more subtle. You’ll get wisps of olive, pepper, mint, licorice, rosemary, bacon, smoke and tobacco which perfectly intertwine with mushrooms, onions, herbs and shallots in your Beef Wellington. Meanwhile, you still get enough refreshing fruit flavours to contrast the beefy goodness of your Beef Wellington.
If you are holding a dinner party, and your guests aren’t very open-minded to wine, an Australian Shiraz may be the better way to go as it is the bigger crowd-pleaser. Australian Shiraz will still pair up nice with Beef Wellington, but it will lack the complementary savoury notes that a French Syrah delivers.