Wine and Venison Pairings

Pairing wine with venison can be a delightful experience, as long as you consider the rich and gamey flavors of venison.

Remember to consider the specific preparation of the venison steaks, including any sauces or marinades, as these can influence the wine pairing. It’s also a good idea to trust your own taste preferences and experiment with different wines to find the combination that you enjoy the most.

Venison Steaks

Pairing wine with venison steaks involves considering the rich, gamey flavors of the meat. Here are some wine suggestions that can complement the robust taste of venison steaks:

Cabernet Sauvignon: This classic red wine is known for its robust tannins and deep, dark fruit flavors, making it an excellent match for the strong flavors of venison.

Merlot: A softer alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot’s velvety texture and plum-like flavors can work well with venison, especially if the cut is leaner.

Syrah/Shiraz: Syrah’s bold, peppery characteristics and dark fruit notes can complement the gaminess of venison steaks. Look for a Syrah or Shiraz with a good balance of fruit and spice.

Zinfandel: Zinfandel, known for its ripe fruit and sometimes spicy notes, can be a good match for venison, particularly if there’s a slightly sweet or fruity element in the preparation.

Malbec: Malbec’s dark fruit flavors, plush texture, and moderate tannins can complement the richness of venison steaks.

Pinot Noir: For those who prefer a lighter red wine, Pinot Noir can be an excellent choice. Look for a Pinot Noir with bright acidity and red fruit flavors.

Wine Pairings for Venison Stews and Braises

When it comes to pairing wine with venison stews and braises, which often feature rich, hearty flavors, you’ll want wines that can complement the robustness of the dish. Here are some wine pairing suggestions for venison stews and braises:

Syrah/Shiraz: With their bold, peppery characteristics and dark fruit flavors, can stand up well to the gamey nature of venison.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon, know for its strong tannins and robust flavors, pairs excellently with the richness of venison stews.

Zinfandel: Zinfandel, especially those with ripe fruit and peppery notes, can complement the flavors of venison, particularly if there’s a slightly sweet or spicy element in the stew.

Merlot: Merlot, being a softer red wine with less tannin, can work well with venison stews, especially if the cut of meat is leaner.

Malbec: Malbec, with its dark fruit flavors and velvety texture, can provide a nice contrast to the gamey taste of venison.

Barbera: Barbera’s high acidity and bright fruit flavors can cut through the richness of the stew, offering a refreshing balance.

Pairing Wines with Light Venison Dishes

When pairing wines with light venison dishes, such as venison fillets or cuts prepared with lighter sauces and seasonings, you’ll want wines that complement the delicate flavors without overpowering them. Here are some wine pairing suggestions for light venison dishes:

Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is an excellent choice for lighter venison dishes. It has bright acidity and red fruit flavors that can enhance the subtle flavors of the meat without overwhelming them.

Chardonnay: Opt for a unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay to complement the delicacy of the venison. Look for wines with crisp acidity and notes of green apple or citrus.

Grenache: Grenache, particularly in lighter styles, can offer red fruit flavors and a touch of spiciness that pairs well with lighter venison dishes.

Rosé: A dry rosé with its refreshing acidity and subtle fruit notes can be a versatile choice for lighter venison preparations, especially if there are slightly sweet or fruity elements.

Tempranillo: Lighter styles of Tempranillo, such as those from Rioja, can provide a nice balance of fruit, earthiness, and gentle tannins for light venison dishes.

Merlot: Merlot, with its soft tannins and approachable fruit flavors, can be a good match for lighter venison cuts, particularly if they are leaner.

Sangiovese: Sangiovese, especially in wines from Tuscany, can offer bright acidity and red cherry flavors that complement the lighter nature of venison dishes.

White Burgundy (Chardonnay from Burgundy): A well-balanced white Burgundy with its subtle oak, minerality, and acidity can work well with lighter venison preparations.

Sparkling Wine: A sparkling wine or Champagne, with its effervescence and refreshing qualities, can be a delightful choice to cut through the richness of lighter venison dishes.

Wine Pairings for Pasta with Venison Red Sauce

When pairing wine with pasta featuring a venison red sauce, you’ll want a wine that complements the rich, savory flavors of the meat and tomato-based sauce. Here are some wine choices that can enhance the dining experience with pasta and venison red sauce:

Chianti (Sangiovese): Chianti, particularly those made primarily from Sangiovese grapes, can provide a nice balance of acidity, red fruit flavors, and herbal notes that work well with the acidity of the tomato sauce.

Barbera: Barbera wines, with their bright acidity and red cherry fruit, can complement the acidity of the tomato sauce while providing a lively contrast to the richness of the venison.

Merlot: A soft and approachable Merlot can be a good match for a venison red sauce, especially if the wine has plum and dark berry flavors. The mild tannins won’t overpower the dish.

Zinfandel: Zinfandel, known for its ripe fruit and peppery notes, can be a flavorful pairing, particularly if the venison red sauce has a slightly spicy kick.

Cabernet Sauvignon: If the venison red sauce is robust and hearty, a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with its strong tannins and dark fruit flavors can stand up well to the dish.

Syrah/Shiraz: Syrah or Shiraz, with their bold, peppery characteristics and dark fruit notes, can complement the gamey flavors of venison and the richness of the red sauce.

Venison Burgers

Venison burgers, with their lean and flavorful meat, offer a unique taste that can be complemented by a variety of wines. Below are some wine choices that can pair well with venison burgers. Also, checkout our Best Venison Burgers recipe.

Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is a versatile choice that works well with the lean and gamey flavors of venison. Look for a Pinot with bright acidity and red fruit notes.

Merlot: Merlot, with its soft tannins and plum-like flavors, can complement the richness of venison burgers without overpowering them.

Zinfandel: Zinfandel, known for its ripe fruit and sometimes peppery notes, can be a great match, especially if the venison burgers are seasoned with a bit of spice.

Syrah/Shiraz: Syrah or Shiraz, with their bold, peppery characteristics and dark fruit notes, can stand up well to the strong flavors of venison.

Malbec: Malbec, with its dark fruit flavors and smooth texture, can provide a nice contrast to the gamey taste of venison burgers.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon, with its strong tannins and robust structure, can work well with the bold flavors of venison, especially if the burgers are seasoned with herbs and spices.

Final Thoughts
Whether it’s a $5.00 bottle or a $50.00, drink what you enjoy and but don’t be afraid to try something new.