There are plenty of red wines that will go well with a steak, but these days, more and more chefs and sommeliers are choosing Cabernet Sauvignons from Chile for their incredible value matched by rich flavors and an innate ability to pair exquisitely with high-grade beef.
Chile’s 800-mile stretch of viticultural paradise is home to five diverse wine-producing regions: Atacama, Coquimbo, Aconcagua, the Central Valley, and Southern Chile. The most famous Cabs come from Colchagua and Maipo, both located in the Central Valley. Maipo versions are known for their complexity, intense black fruit flavors, spiciness, and acidity, while Colchagua Cabs tend to be fuller-bodied, with good tannic structure and outstanding aging potential.
Aside from the impressive quality of the wines, another high point of buying wine from Chile is that the country is putting forth one of the most extensive sustainability efforts (both environmental and social) on the planet. Wineries that meet the most rigorous standards of the country’s Sustainability Code, in areas like water management, waste reduction, recycling, human rights, and ethics, are identifiable by the “Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile” seal on their label. “Our Code probably has the broadest scope,” says Patricio Parra, sustainability manager at Wines of Chile, who notes that the industry’s commitment is both large and growing. “We currently have 76 certified wineries which represent 80 percent of the total bottled wine exports,” he says. To put it another way: It’s pretty easy to find a wine that is both delicious and socially responsible.
So how to choose the right match for your steak? It’s hard to go wrong; but to make things easy, we asked five star chefs for their favorite steak dishes to accompany great Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as their own preferred wine pairings for each recipe. Fire up the grill and create a truly sublime steakhouse experience in your own home.
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Diego Oka of La Mar by Gastón Acurio, Miami
Born in Lima of Peruvian-Japanese descent, Diego Oka has been part of celebrated chef Gastón Acurio’s culinary team since his first internship at the flagship Astrid y Gastón. In the years since, Oka has won a StarChefs Rising Stars Chef award, in 2016, and become recognized as a leading proponent of Peruvian cuisine in the U.S., leading kitchens in San Francisco, Bogota, Lima, and Miami. Today, he’s still part of the Acurio family, as the executive chef at Mandarin Oriental Miami’s La Mar by Gastón Acurio restaurant.
Recipe: Anticucho Corazón
About the dish: “The modern anticucho, which was adapted during the colonial era between the 16th and 19th centuries, can now be found all over Peru and is considered the number one street food of the country,” Oka says. “It has always been one of my favorite dishes. Anticucho can be prepared with any type of meat, but is most commonly made with beef heart.”
Diego Oka’s Anticucho Corazon Recipe
- 1½ pounds veal heart
For the Anticucho Sauce:
- 1 cup aji panca paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
For the Roasted Potatoes:
- 7 ounces whole marble potatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Microgreens, to garnish
- To make the anticucho sauce, add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. (Tip: It’s better if you prepare this the day before and use it the next day.)
- Preheat oven to 280 degrees F. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt,. and smashed garlic cloves. Roast on a sheet pan, in the oven, for 30 minutes.
- Cut the veal heart in half and remove the extra fat and nerves. Once clean, cut into square pieces, roughly 1.5 by 1.5 inches.
- Place two pieces of veal heart on each skewer.
- Brush the heart skewers with anticucho sauce and salt and then grill until cooked to medium.
- To serve, create a bed of roasted potatoes on a platter. Place the skewers on top. Garnish with microgreens and serve.
Nicholas Poulmentis of Oli.Vine, NYC
Born in New York City but raised in his parents’ native Greece, Nicholas Poulmentis returned to NYC to run several acclaimed Mediterranean-themed restaurants before winning first place on “Chopped” in 2018. Poulmentis is currently executive chef at Greek-inspired Oli.Vine restaurant in Astoria, Queens. In addition to running the kitchen, he also oversees the wine list, which is mostly focused on Greek and Mediterranean selections, but makes room for some Chilean bottles, too, including those from producers like Santa Carolina, Villard, Lidia, and Lapostolle.
Recipe: Sous-Vide T-Bone Steak With Caramelized Leeks
About the dish: “My inspiration for this steak came from a beautiful memory of cooking on Kythria, the island where I grew up in Greece,” Poulmentis says. “I was simply grilling a steak on charcoal and burning some fresh thyme and rosemary, while enjoying a nice red wine.” When it comes to a red wine that can stand up to a substantial steak, like a T-bone, he says he’s always looking for rich, complex flavors that linger in the mouth — all typical characteristics of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.
Nicholas Poulmentis’s Sous-Vide T-bone Steak with Caramelized Leeks Recipe
- 2 pounds T-bone steak, cooked sous-vide for 1 hour at 135 degrees F
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 leeks, cut into 3-inch pieces
- When the steak has finished cooking sous-vide, remove from vacuum-sealed bag and allow to rest.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Add salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and add the steak and cook to build a crust, about four minutes on each side.
- Add rosemary, thyme, crushed garlic, butter and leeks to the pan and place in a preheated, 500-degree F. oven for 12 minutes.
- Serve with caramelized leeks from the pan, sea salt, and a glass of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fernanda Tapia, Private Chef, Boston
For nearly six years, Chile-born Fernanda Tapia was the chef/owner of Boston’s beloved Comedor, creating Chilean dishes with an American inflection, like carne mechada braised beef shoulder and peekytoe-crab chupe. Tapia sold the restaurant in June of this year, but during the restaurant’s run, she was a two-time “Chopped” champion and named a Best of Boston winner by Boston Magazine. Today, she is working as a private chef and hosting virtual cooking classes. Tapia counts bottles from Neyen, Los Vascos, Harras de Pirque, and Miguel Torres as favorites from her native Chile..
Recipe: Flank Steak With Tabasco Salsa
About the dish: “One of my fondest memories from growing up in Chile was eating steak by the grill with a spoonful of pebre, which is Chilean salsa made of cilantro, onions, chiles and extra-virgin olive oil. I wanted to honor that tradition and add a couple of great summer ingredients like cherry tomatoes, scallions, and kick up the heat with some dried Tabasco chiles,” Tapia says. “Chilean Cab is so bold and has so much body that it can stand up to rich and strong flavors. I can’t think of a better pairing than Chilean Cab with grilled steak and spicy food!”
Fernanda Tapia’s Flank Steak With Tabasco Salsa Recipe
- 9 ounces flank steak
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped, including stems
- ½ bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 dried Tabasco chiles (can substitute ½ fresh Fresno chile, or 1 jalapeño), finely chopped
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Big pinch of paprika
- Salt, to taste
- Optional: mixed green salad and grilled bread, to accompany
- To make the Tabasco salsa, combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Adjust seasoning with salt. This salsa tastes best when made at least 1 hour in advance.
- Season the steak(s) heavily with salt and black pepper. Set a pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add steak and cook over high heat until golden brown, about 3–4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
- Let rest for at least 5 minutes and slice against the grain of the meat.
- To serve, spoon lots of Tabasco salsa over the sliced steak on a platter. Best eaten with a mixed green salad and grilled bread.
Marjorie Meek-Bradley of St. Anselm, Washington, D.C.
Food critic Tom Sietsema’s “favorite steakhouse in Washington,” St. Anselm is revered for its focus on all things grilled, with chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley masterfully charring everything from salmon collars to epic 65-ounce ax handle ribeyes. Meek-Bradley was a top-three finisher on “Top Chef” and a James Beard Foundation Rising Star semifinalist, for her signature dedication to showcasing excellent ingredients in unfussy, but deeply flavorful ways.
Recipe: Skirt Steak with Roasted Pepper and Green Bean Stew
About the dish: “I love cooking skirt steak — it has so much flavor and does really well with a nice marinade,” Meek-Bradley says. “I thought that the earthiness of the cumin would play nicely with the tannin in the Cabernet—and the richness of the roasted peppers and steak would pair well with the acidity.” She’s also a big fan of Malbec and Syrah from Chile’s Colchagua Valley.
Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s Skirt Steak with Roasted Pepper and Green Bean Stew Recipe
- 4 6-ounce skirt steaks
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
For the Marinade
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic, microplaned
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the Roasted Pepper and Green Bean Stew:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 each red, yellow, and orange bell peppers — roasted, peeled, and cut into strips, or one 12-ounce jar of fire-roasted bell peppers
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon salt, divided in half
- 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 18-ounce can of stewed tomatoes
- ¼ cup of capers
- 1 6-ounce jar of Castelvetrano olives, pits removed and smashed
- Optional: rice or roasted potatoes, to accompany
- To make the marinade, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour half of the marinade over
the steaks, reserving the other half for the stew, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
- To make the stew, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a large pot, preferably a Dutch oven on the stove over high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and ½ tablespoon salt; sauté until tender. Add the roasted peppers and chopped garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the reserved half of the marinade and cook for about 2 minutes. Crush the stewed tomatoes slightly and add to the pot. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add half a cup of water and the green beans, capers, and olives. Mix everything together and put the Dutch oven, lid on, into the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and increase heat to 450 degrees F.
- To cook the steaks, preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Coat the pan with 2 tablespoons canola oil. Season the steaks with the remaining salt and sear them on each side for about 1 minute.
- Remove the steaks from the pan and layer over the stew in the Dutch oven. Return the pot to the oven for 5–10 minutes more, lid off, depending on how you like your steaks cooked — 5 minutes should give you a nice medium.
- Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve with rice or roasted potatoes.
Lance Knowling of Blujeen, NYC
Lance Knowling knows barbecue, thanks to his childhood in ribs-loving Kansas City. The winner of multiple New York food awards as well as accolades from New Jersey Monthly and the Star-Ledger, Knowling has wowed guests with his down-home-style grilled meats, including catfish, family-recipe BBQ ribs and a celebrated skirt steak. Noting that “a bold steak needs bold flavor,” Knowling recommends pairing steaks with wines that not only bring out the inherent flavors of the dish, but that also add other dimensions to the meal.
Recipe: Chili-Rubbed Grilled Skirt Steak
Pairing Suggestions: 2018 Odfjell Orzada Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Santa Ema Amplus Cabernet Sauvignon
About the dish: “This is a nod to my childhood in Kansas City: a nice steak on the grill with some sort of potatoes,” Knowling says. “I love the simplicity and yet the complexity of marinating meat and grilling over an open flame. Skirt steak is one of my go-to cuts – it’s full of flavor and one of the only steaks that is delicious when cooked well-done. And Chilean Cabernet complements the meat, the smoke from the grill, and the spices in the marinade perfectly. I serve this many different ways, but one of my favorites is with a simple potato hash brown and grilled rainbow carrots.”
Lance Knowling’s Chili-Rubbed Grilled Skirt Steak Recipe
- 2 pounds peeled skirt steak
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon dark chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Good aged balsamic vinegar, to finish
- Optional: potato hash and grilled rainbow carrots, to accompany
- Cut skirt steak into 4 8-ounce portions and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, spices, and lemon juice to make a marinade.
- Add the steaks to the marinade and massage the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate and let marinate 2–4 hours.
- Season the steak with salt and pepper and place on a hot grill, cooking on both sides to the desired temperature. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
- Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar.
- Serve with potato hash and grilled rainbow carrots.
These dishes call for a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Find your perfect Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon with our taste profile quiz here!
This article is sponsored by Wines of Chile.