Fall off the bone ribs pairs best with red wines such as Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Baco Noir, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir.  The sauce and spices used on your ribs, if any, should dictate the style of red wine you should choose.   For beef-short ribs, cooked slow, medium-bodied reds with medium tannin are essential as you do not want to overpower the hard-earned and slow-cooked flavours of your juicy ribs.  Thus, medium-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Bordeaux make for great matches.

For ribs in an acidic tomato sauce, wines high in acidity, such as Pinot Noir, Barbera, Chianti Classico, and Zinfandel, make for an excellent wine pairing.  Savoury braised short ribs with lots of earthy herbs and spices herbs like rosemary, pepper and parsley call for rustic red or herbal red wines like Chianti, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Pinotage.

Finally, Spare Ribs, which are made from pork, are slightly sweet and require a low tannin and acidic red wine such as Pinot Noir, Lambrusco, Zinfandel, Beaujolais Villages or a young Ribera del Duero.  If the Spare Ribs are spicy, pair up with an off-dry Riesling or a Rosé.

Red WineZinfandelBBQ Ribs
Red WineZinfandelBeef Short Ribs
Red WineShirazBarbecued Ribs
Red WineShirazBBQ Lamb Ribs
Red WineSyrah, Northern RhôneBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs
RoséMarsannay RoséBeef Short Ribs
Red WineCôtes du Rhône Villages RasteauBeef Short Ribs
Red WineVinsobresBeef Short Ribs
Red WineMalbecBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs
Red WineChâteauneuf du Pape, RedBeef Short Ribs
Red WineBarbera DOCBBQ Ribs
Red WineCabernet SauvignonBBQ Ribs
Red WineSyrahBeef Short Ribs
Red WineShirazBeef Short Ribs
Red WineAmaroneBeef Short Ribs - Barbecued
Red WineAnjous-VillagesRibs, Pork
Red WineGarnachaBBQ Ribs
Red WineBaco NoirBBQ Ribs
Red WinePetit VerdotPork Spare Ribs
White WineRieslingBBQ Ribs
Sparkling WineSparkling WineBBQ Ribs
Red WinePetite SirahBBQ Ribs
White WineGrenache BlancBeef Short Ribs - Braised
Red WinePinotageBeef Short Ribs - Braised
Red WineGarnacha NoirRibs, Pork
W Wine BrandChoya Silver White WineKorean Ribs
Red WineReuilly, RedTexas Spare Ribs
Red WineCahors AOCBeef Short Ribs
Red WineBaco NoirSpare Ribs
White WineRieslingXao chua ngot - sweet and sour pork ribs
Red WineCarménèreXao chua ngot - sweet and sour pork ribs
Red WinePinot NoirXao chua ngot - sweet and sour pork ribs
R Wine BrandApothic Red WineBBQ Ribs
Red WineSaint Chinian, RedBeef Short Ribs
Red WineChianti Classico (DOCG)Beef Short Ribs
Red WineMontepulcianoBeef Short Ribs
Red WineMourvedreBeef Short Ribs
Red WineMalbec, ArgentianBeef Short Ribs
Red WineMerlotBeef Short Ribs
Red WineGigondasBeef Short Ribs
Red WineZinfandelBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs
Red WineLambruscoBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs
Sparkling WineSparkling ShirazBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs
RoséRoséBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs
Red WineCôtes du Rhône, RedBeef Short Ribs
RoséBandol Rosé AOCBeef Short Ribs
RoséCostières de Nimes, RoséBeef Short Ribs
RoséPaletteBeef Short Ribs
Red WineMontravel - South West France - cuplicateBeef Short Ribs
Red WineCôtes du Roussillon, RedBeef Short Ribs
Red WineFaugères (AOP)Beef Short Ribs
Red WineLanguedoc, RedBeef Short Ribs
Red WineVinsobresBBQ Ribs
Red WineVinsobresPork Spare Ribs
Red WineMontepulciano d'AbruzzoSpare Ribs
Red WineCarménèreBeef Short Ribs - Braised
Red WineCabernet FrancBBQ Ribs
Red WineChâteauneuf du Pape, RedBBQ Ribs
Red WineCôtes du Rhône Villages, RedBBQ Ribs
Red WinePinot NoirBBQ Ribs
Red WineCôtes du Rhône, RedBBQ Ribs
RoséRoséBBQ Ribs
Red WineRosadoBBQ Ribs
Red WineSyrahBBQ Ribs
White WineWhite ZinfandelBBQ Ribs
Red WineCabernet SauvignonBeef Short Ribs
Red WinePetite SirahBeef Short Ribs
Red WineRibera del Duero, RedBeef Short Ribs
Red WineAmaroneBBQ Ribs
Sparkling WineProseccoBBQ Ribs
Sparkling WineCavaBBQ Ribs
Red WineNerello MascaleseBeef Short Ribs - Barbecued
Red WineMuscadine (Sweet Red)Smoked Ribs
Red WineNebbioloBeef Short Ribs
Red WineShirazBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs
Red WineChénas - Beaujolais CruBaby Back Ribs - pork ribs

California Zinfandel & Grilled BBQ Ribs

The holy grail among many BBQ rib enthusiasts is often a ripe and fruity California Zinfandel.  Grilled ribs, which are finished quickly over an open flame, have a delicious charred and caramelized flavour that is delicious with the smoky flavours of Zinfandel.  Meanwhile, the black cherry, plum and other jammy flavours of Zinfandel offer a refreshing contrast to the grilled flavours of your ribs.

Furthermore, the spices used in your BBQ Rib sauce also bring out the black pepper, cinnamon, smoke and chocolate flavours in your Zinfandel, making the wine taste even better.  It’s a win-win situation as the wine and ribs make each other taste so much better.

Should you choose to slather your ribs in a tomato sauce, Zinfandel’s bright acidity will right at home with the tangy, sweet and smoky flavours of your BBQ sauce.  Red  wines, with high tannin, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux would clash with the BBQ sauce as the high acidity in the tomato sauce makes tannin taste flat and metallic.

Cabernet Sauvignon & Grilled Ribs

An aged Cabernet Sauvignon is exceptional with ribs, provided the tannin in the wine is soft.  Cabernet Sauvignon is bold and fruity with flavours of cassis and black currant that offer a delicious contrast to the savoury and meaty rib flavours.  You’ll also get notes of chocolate, vanilla, black pepper, leather, smoke and tobacco that complement the seared, grilled flesh of your ribs.

Ribs are a fatty and flavourful meat, however, a young Cabernet Sauvignon will wipe out the subtle flavours of the ribs, which is why you want to go with an aged or a mellow Cabernet Sauvignon.  The tannin that exists in Cabernet Sauvignon also brings out more flavour in the ribs, as tannin breaks down the protein molecules in meat, making the rib meat taste tender.   The ribs will also improve the Cabernet Sauvignon’s taste, as the protein and fat content will make the tannin feel less astringent, giving the wine a nice silky and velvety texture.

Australian Shiraz & Beef Short Ribs Pairing

Australian Shiraz is another crowd pleasing pairing with Beef Ribs as the wine’s jammy blackberry and toasty vanilla notes offers a nice ying/yang to the the savoury and grilled flavours of your ribs.  You’ll also find a ripple of black pepper that teases your taste buds as it merges with those delicious rib flavours.

Yellow Tail Shiraz

Northern Rhône Syrah & Braised Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs are ribs made from Pork and have an enchanting smoky flavour that is delicious with the smoky, peppery and bacon flavours of Norther Rhône Syrah from France.   Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape, however, a Norther Rhône Syrah is going to be less fruit-forward and feature deeper notes of meat, herbs and spice, which complement the pork flavours of your Baby Back Ribs.  The refreshing fruit flavours are still there, so expect some delicious sherry, raspberry and blackberry flavours.

If your Baby Back Ribs are in a tomato-based BBQ sauce, a Norther Rhône Syrah should have enough acidity to not clash with the sauce, provided the ribs aren’t drowning in the sauce.

Argentina Malbec & Short Ribs Pairing

Argentina is beloved for both their Malbec and their beef, thus it should be no surprise these two pair so well together.  Medium in tannin and acidity, Malbec won’t overwhelm the tender and slow cooked flavours of your beef short ribs with its refreshing flavours of black cherry and plum.

With Malbec from Argentina, you can go two ways.  You can choose a reasonably priced Malbec that is under $20, or you can go for an oak-aged Malbec that will cost you $40 or more.  With ribs, the choice is really up to you.  The more expensive Malbec will taste amazing, and the vanilla and cocoa notes it brings to the table will complement the grill marks on your ribs.  Plus, you’ll get complex layers of leather, violet, tobacco, earth and licorice.

A young Malbec, on the other hand, will come across as more simple but will go along great with Short Ribs as it delivers contrasting fruity flavours, and finishes with a quick smoky kiss.

Trapiche Malbec

Pinot Noir & Dry Rub Ribs Pairing

For ribs dusted in an earthy dry rub, a subtle Pinot Noir makes for an excellent pairing.  Dry rub ribs need a subdued and elegant wine like Pinot Noir, as boisterous red wines will crush their delicate flavours.  Featuring bright flavours of cherry and strawberry, Pinot Noir has just enough flavour to hold up to your delicious ribs without overshadowing them.  You’ll also find an earthy or forest floor aroma to Pinot Noir, which complements the spices used in your dry rub.

Pinot Noir’s bright acidity also lifts up the meat and spice flavours of your ribs, making them taste even more divine.  The one warning I have with Pinot Noir is to never go cheap.  Anything under $25 will typically not do Pinot Noir any justice.  Pinot Noir is a difficult wine to grow, and that is reflected in its cost.  If you’re not willing to shell out the money for quality, try a Baco Noir or Pinotage with your Dry Rub Ribs.

Beaujolais Villages and Spare Ribs Pairing

Beaujolais-Villages pairs well with Spare Ribs as this red wine is high in acidity and low in acid.  Pork has some sweetness to it, and the cherry and strawberry dreaminess of Beaujolais, complements the pork flavours without overwhelming them.

The Spare Ribs I often eat are from Chinese Takeout and are resting in a honey-garlic soy sauce.  The earthy notes of mushroom, black pepper and cloves complement the soy sauce, while the juicy raspberry and cherry flavours of Beaujolais keep you refreshed from the pungent garlic flavours.

Can you pair White Wines with Ribs?

An off-dry Riesling is a great choice with ribs that are in a spicy hot rib sauce.  Thus, if you’re a fan of ghost peppers or habanero’s peppering up your ribs, the subtle sweetness of an off-dry Riesling is the way to go.  The sweetness of Riesling simmers down the fire in your mouth, allowing the subtle earthy flavours of the peppers to peek out from their fiery veil.

Sparkling wines such as Prosecco, Champagne and Cava are excellent with sticky and saucy ribs as the bubbles help clear away the BBQ sauce, along with the fatty greasiness of your ribs.  Riesling and sparkling wines won’t complement your ribs, however, their zippy acidity and refreshing flavours of citrus, peach and pear certainly make for a memorable meal.