Beef Wellington is a filet of beef that is first covered in a mixture of chopped mushrooms, onions, shallots and herbs that have been sauteed in butter. The filet is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Hefty in flavour, Beef Wellington requires a dry full-bodied red such as a Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Brunello or Syrah to stand up to the beef flavours, while complementing the other aspects of this dish.
Pinot Noir & Beef Wellington Pairing
Pinot Noir goes well with Beef Wellington as it’s an acidic red that can shear right through the carbohydrate heavy pastry, and mingle with the mushroom, onions, shallots and herbal flavours. While often smelling like wild strawberries, Pinot Noir also has an appealing earthy funk that complements the mushroom flavours you’ll find in Beef Wellington.
Burgundy is a French variant of Pinot Noir. Typically they are much more complex than what you’ll find in the New World versions of Pinot Noir due to the climate, terroir and centuries of production. With its notes of barnyard (that’s a good thing), along with its carefree fruity notes, a French Burgundy is a highly sought after wine when produced right. We love how its earthy notes jive well with the shallots, onions and mushroom flavours of the Beef Wellington, while the fruity flavours keep your refreshed. For similar reasons, a medium-bodied Oregon Pinot Noir is fabulous as well.
Bordeaux & Beef Wellington Pairing
Bordeaux is a blended red wine of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Intended to be incredibly food friendly, the balanced acidity and tannin in Bordeaux pairs well with the deep flavours of Beef Wellington. Here, you’ll find the tannic aspect of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are tamed by the filet of beef, while the acidity of the wine cuts right through the toasty puff pastry crust.
The various flavours of Bordeaux are wide in scope, as they are dependant on the blend. However, you can typically expect bold fruit flavours like plum and cassis that keep you focused and interested in this pairing. For leaner cuts of filet, select an older Bordeaux, as it requires less fat content to tame its tannin that have faded with age. An older Bordeaux might be wasted or crushed by a fattier cut of Bordeaux, so it might be worth seeking out a younger or less expensive variant.
Rioja Gran Reserva & Beef Wellington Pairing
Rioja is a Spanish medium-bodied red wine with bright berry flavours and a citrus tang. Similar to Bordeaux, Rioja is a blend of several different grapes, however, in this instance, Tempranillo is of often the most common followed by Garnacha.
When aged in oak for several years, Rioja is called Gran Reserva Rioja. Here, you’ll still find those bright berry flavours, along with a tannin bite. This oak induced tannin is tamed by the heavy beef flavours found within your Beef Wellington. The oak ageing also develops leather, chocolate and pepper notes that play off of the earthy onion and mushroom flavours baked into the Beef Wellington.
Brunello di Montalcino & Beef Wellington Pairing
Brunello is a hearty red wine, and it needs a dish with a lot of substance, such as Beef Wellington. Here, you’ll find the powerful acidity of Brunello has no issues ripping its way through the puff pastry and drive the meaty flavours upwards where it collides with Brunello’s delicious blackberry boldness. Rich with spicy notes, along with hints of cedar, leather, and chocolate, Brunello adds a new element of complexity that fits in perfectly with the mushroom and shallot component of Beef Wellington.
Syrah & Beef Wellington Pairing
Last, but not least, a simpler pairing for Beef Wellington would be a French Syrah. Featuring fruity notes of tart blackberry and jammy blueberry, Syrah has a variety subtle notes that are more inclined to come out an play when paired with the onion, mushrooms shallot and herbal flavours of Beef Wellington. Within your Syrah, you might find hints of olive, pepper, vanilla, chocolate, mint, licorice, rosemary, bacon, smoke and tobacco merging with the flavours of the Beef Wellington creating a delectable dining experience.
Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape, and when I think of Syrah, I think of France or California. With Shiraz, my mind tends to go toward Australia. The regional variations of the wine are similar, but you will find slight differences that make the styles of wine more suited for various dishes. In general, Syrah is a little more restrained in its fruit flavours, and you’ll find deeper notes of earthiness, as well as a zesty acidity. Shiraz is much more jammy and tends to feature peppery notes that are hard to ignore.
I prefer a French Syrah with our Beef Wellington, versus an Australian Shiraz as I find Syrah to be a little more restrained in its fruit flavours, and more complex with its earthier notes. An Australian Shiraz would remain delicious with Beef Wellington, but we’d shave off half a star as it might be a little more jammy, and less acidic than a French Syrah.