Brunello di Montalcino pairs best with hearty meat dishes such as Tuscan steak, beef stroganoff, oxtail, beef wellington, or game prepared in a mushroom sauce. Brunello di Montalcino is also excellent with rich stews, heavy pasta dishes, and blue cheeses.
Flavours you can expect from Brunello di Montalcino are cherry, blackberry, black pepper, menthol, game, earth, flowers, chocolate, tar and smoke. Brunello is a loud and overpowering red wine and requires heavy dishes to hold up to the wine’s silky and rich flavours.
Bistecca alla Florentina, or Tuscan steak, is a steak prepared with a bit of olive oil, a touch of rosemary and a hint of garlic. The cut of steak is usually a porterhouse, but you may also see it as a rib-eye or t-bone steak. They are monstrous steaks with lots of flavour.
Brunello di Montalcino is an excellent wine pairing with Tuscan Steak as this hearty red wine is high in tannin and loud while remaining rich, silky and smooth with its flavours of cherry, plum, black pepper, herbs and smoke.
The high tannin of the wine is smoothed out by the fat and protein in your steak. Simultaneously, the tannin of Brunello breaks down the proteins, making your steak taste even more juicy and flavourful.
If your Bistecca alla Florentina is prepared from a Porterhouse steak, expect the tender texture of Filet Mignon with the flavour of a NY Strip Steak. As you are getting the best of both worlds, you are going to pay a lot of money for that steak, and there’s no better wine than Brunello di Montalcino to enjoy with it, as the steak brings out the best flavours of the wine and the wine will make the steak taste even more incredible.
Portobello Mushroom Steak & Brunello Pairing
If you haven’t noticed by now, Brunello di Montalcino loves meaty things, and Portobello Mushrooms have a rich texture and flavourful body that checks off all the boxes. If you are vegetarian, you may feel like you have limited options to pair red wine with. However, if you enjoy Mushrooms, you’re in luck, as a grilled or roasted Portobello Mushroom Steak can hold up to a powerful sip of Brunello di Montalcino.
Portobello steak is earthy, meaty and savoury, making it a natural pair with the earthy, herbal and gamey flavours of Brunello di Montalcino. In addition, you get these tar, coffee, black pepper, and chocolate flavours that spice up this pairing even further.
Brunello di Montalcino & Elk Steak Pairing
Elk steak is tender, flavourful and loaded with complex layers of savoury and sweetness. Low in fat and high in Protein, you might feel Brunello di Montalcino is too bold for Elk Steak. And you might be right if the Brunello is young and bratty. An aged Brunello with Elk Steak, however, is perfection.
With Elk Steak, you want to enjoy its flavours. Elk steak is not gamey like venison, instead, I’d compare it to lean beef, but packing a tender texture with a surprising amount of flavour. The juicy flavours of Elk can stand up to the moderately loud cherry, plum and blackberry notes of Brunello di Montalcino. Furthermore, the notes of black pepper, smoke, spice, herbs and chocolate complement the grilled or roasted steak flavours.
Brunello di Montalcino makes the Elk Steak pairing even more delicious as the wine’s tannin breaks down the steak’s protein molecules, releasing even more flavour into your mouth.
Venison Steak, Rabbit (like a rabbit ragu), Wild Boar and Lamb are other fantastic pairings to saddle up beside a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino.
Oxtail Stew & Brunello Pairing
Oxtail was once from an ox, but now it will likely be beef tail. At least in North America. While Oxtail is bony, this cut of meat is incredibly flavourful and tender once it has been slow braised for a significant amount of time. The Oxtail meat will then be put in a stew or soup, which will provide you with even more flavour to warm you up on a chilly winter evening.
I love Brunello with Oxtail stew, as these two culinary delights require a lot of time and patience. Brunello needs at least two decades of aging before it’s at its peak. Meanwhile, Oxtail requires careful braising over the course of the morning and afternoon to loosen it up its tough texture.
The black pepper, chocolate, leather, game, smoke, earth, herbal and mineral notes of Brunello di Montalcino are instant friends with the root vegetables and meat flavours of your stew. Meanwhile, the wine’s cherry, plum and cassis notes keep you refreshed and in heaven with each bite.
If you are braising your Oxtail, a lot of people recommend braising it with the wine you are going to drink. I am not a rich man, so there’s no way I’d ever do this. My preferred cooking wine for braising Oxtail is Chianti. Would Brunello di Montalcino used in the braising process make the Oxtail stew taste better? Why yes, it would, but I feel the cost to value derived from using Brunello as a cooking wine is negligible.
What is Brunello di Montalcino Wine
Brunello refers to a high-quality variant of the Sangiovese grape called Sangiovese Grosso that is grown in Montalcino. Montalcino is a town in Southern Tuscany.
Brunello requires serious ageing (up to 10 years or more) and breathing (at least an hour) before it is ready to drink. Otherwise, the wine will come off as harsh, dry and acidic. In its prime, Brunello di Montalcino is creamy, rich and velvety.
As Brunello is from Tuscany and close to Chianti Classico, you’d expect similar wines. However, the climate of Montalcino is dry and hot, with warm soil due to a sandy and limestone composition. (soil with a lot of clay is damp and cool.) These differences make Brunello di Montalcino a robust red wine.
With Brunello being so expensive and requiring decades to age, it isn’t a red wine that is accessible. To get a nice teaser of what Brunello di Montalcino has to offer, try Rosso di Montalcino which isn’t as bold, is less expensive and is ready to drink upon release.