Chimichurri Steak Wine Pairing

A few years ago I had the bright idea of having "wine pairing" parties. Since most of my friends at the time did not know too much about wine or didn't care for it, I thought this would be a great way to introduce them to wines in a fun party atmosphere. In theory, this was a great idea. In reality, it was so unbelievably fun and crazy that I had to vow it would be the first and the last wine pairing party of its kind.

Lets put it this way. The year prior I had planned a "chocolate and wine" party where I supplied all the wine and food and just asked everyone to pitch in $5 for the wine (these were the post-college days where we were all still pretty poor). It was awful going around asking everyone for money that I desperately needed to pay for the wine. I told myself never again.

Now for this new party, I decided to have everyone just bring their own bottle of wine. The theme of the party was "Argentina" and thanks to a cool cookbook I found, Andrew and I made a slurry of different Argentinean dishes we had never tried. I gave everyone suggestions of buying malbec, cabernet sauvignon, or torrontes from Argentina under $20 so that at the party, everyone could try the different wines of Argentina.

The next morning, I counted 26 bottles of empty wine. 26! We only had 20 people come to that party. Woops! That's right, so much wine was drank that everyone at least had a whole bottle to themselves. As the blurriness from the prior night started to become clear, I remembered how much fun, yet how crazy, it got after a few hours. The problem with wine is that it doesn't fill you up like beer, so people having a great time don't really know when to stop. Oh, then I remembered, when the wine ran out that everyone bought, I started opening up my personal collection (which is always a bad idea). And then when I went to bed (yes there were still people over when I went to bed...classy), everyone went to the local bar and continued the party. Needless to say, despite the great time we had at this Argentina wine pairing party.... for safety's sake...I haven't planned any more.

Moral of the story: wine pairing parties can be really fun, but proceed with caution (I fully plan on doing some posts in the near future about how to have wine pairing parties).

Now that my hubby and I are all grown up and much classier than those days of  crazy drunken parties (yeah, right), I'd like to share with you this Argentinean staple that was quite the hit at our original party. Argentina is on my wish list of countries to visit; mainly for visiting wineries, but also to sample all of their delicious food. Apparently they eat beef, beef, and beef. And then more beef. Sometimes with a side of beef. And Chimichurri sauce, that delicious looking green condiment you're looking at in all of this post's pictures.

The Pairing

Luckily for you, steak has a lot of friends in the red wine world--cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot, zinfandel, red blends...they all pair really well with steak. In the top picture I actually have a bottle of cabernet showcased. But when it comes to Argentinean-style steak with chimichurri on top, I suggest keeping up with the theme and pairing it with the country's most prized grape: malbec.

Malbec is a pretty purple grape; put it next to a glass of cabernet sauvignon and you'll see what I mean. Its big, fruity, and usually well-oaked. It's a heavy-bodied wine (think whole milk compared to water), so it needs a heavy meal to pair with it. Enter a juicy, peppered steak. Match made in heaven. Since the chimichurri has a great deal of garlic aroma and flavor to it, it pairs nicely with a fruit-forward red like malbec.

Other wines you can pair with Chimichurri Steak:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina makes some great ones at great values)
  • Merlot
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • Zinfandel
  • Red blends (think: cab-based, syrah based)

In the Mood for Beer?

  • Amber ale will work best with steak
  • California Common (Anchor Steam)
  • Pilsner
Chimichurri Steak Wine Pairing | CaretoPair.com
Chimichurri Steak Wine Pairing | CaretoPair.com

 The Recipe

I'm not used to putting sauce on my steak, but gosh-darn-it this was delicious. Chimichurri is based on garlic, parsley, and vinegar. Most recipes state to serve it with flank steak, but really, it can go on anything. The steak we used in the pictures was a NY strip and it was delish. Grill it, pan fry it, prepare your steak your favorite way and enhance it with this chimichurri sauce (and some malbec). Chimichurri can also go on chicken, pork, veggies...pretty much anything you want. And side note, if you're a garlic lover, this sauce will make you go crazy just by the way it smells. It was hard for me not to eat it before the steak was even done!

Ending Fun Fact: Argentineans eat their steak well-done. I was told by an American that lived there that he would have to tell restaurants to serve him his steak blue (raw) and even then it would still come out medium. Crazy!


Chimichurri Sauce

Author: Dani (CaretoPair.com)

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 5 mins

Total time: 10 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup chopped flat-leaf parlsey
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano (optional but worth it)
  • 2 Tbsp minced onion or shallot
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp freshly sqeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until well mixed but not pureed. Serve on top of your favorite prepared steak.
  2. Enjoy with Argentinean Malbec or any red Argentinean wine!

Happy Pairing!