Marqués de Vargas Conde de San Cristóbal 2014

While the quintessential steak and wine pairing might be seen by some as passé, there are still many moments when having a go to bottle of red that’s perfect with that steak you were craving is absolutely necessary. During the winter months in particular I find myself really craving this pairing. Sure, I like steak and red wine all times of the year, but in the winter, when it seems like the best thing to do is hibernate, a rich rib eye, New York strip, or silky filet are 100 percent what I’m after.

Bordeaux or Napa Cab tend to be the go-to wines more recommended for steak. But I want to encourage you to think outside the box. Grab a rich, delicious red from Ribera Del Duero. Located in the northern part of Spain, extremely close to the famed region of Rioja, Ribera is a wine many have yet to discover. But it’s a wine definitely worth your time.

Made with a majority of Tempranillo, Ribera is a region that also allows other grapes to be added to the blend. This opportunity allows for the creation of often rich, powerful wines that are balanced by Tempranillo’s acidity.

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One of my favorite recent discoveries is Marqués de Vargas Conde de San Cristóbal 2014. Retailing at only around $20, this wine is an excellent value for a decadent home-cooked steak night.

The wine pours a rich, deep purple with aromas of rich berries, leather, and spice emanating from the glass. It’s a wine that needs to open up a bit, but when it does, its tannins deliver a wallop of mouth-drying power that many find absolutely necessary when it comes to pairing wine with steak. Alone, this wine might taste astringent on the finish, but when combined with food, it delivers exactly what wine and steak lovers are looking for.

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