Above: Even though the bistecca fiorentina (Florentine porterhouse) is the classic pairing for Sangiovese, it doesn’t mean that a pairing with other cuts of grilled beef won’t work beautifully together as well. The sirloins above were a great pairing the other night for a bottle of Fattoria dei Barbi Rosso di Montalcino.
Oysters and Muscadet, foie gras and Sauternes, white truffles and Nebbiolo, steak and Sangiovese…
The marriage of Sangiovese and steak (ideally, blood rare) is widely considered by connoisseurs to be one of the greatest food and wine pairings of all time.
There’s just something about the way that the acidity and red stone fruit flavors of traditionally vinified Sangiovese work with the umami and salty flavors of the beef that rewards the palate in a wholly unique and unforgettable way.
Of course, Brunello di Montalcino (which is made from 100 percent Sangiovese) and bistecca fiorentina (the Florentine porterhouse) is one of the most famous and celebrated expressions in this tradition.
But that doesn’t mean that every time you grill beef, you need to open a Brunello.
In Montalcino, people also love to open Rosso di Montalcino with their bistecca fiorentina. Some people even find it preferable: The extreme freshness of the younger-vine wine serves as a counter point to the charred meat and fat. And some would even go as far to say that the plumpness of Rosso di Montalcino works better than the often angular and more nuanced Brunello.
The bottom line: Whether your pairing your steak with Brunello or Rosso di Montalcino, you really can’t lose!