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What Wine Goes With Prime Rib? Pairing Guide

What Wine Goes With Prime Rib? Pairing Guide

Prime rib is one of the most sought-after cuts of beef. It is juicy, moist, and tastes fantastic. 

However, it does not matter how well you cooked your prime rib if you served it with the wrong wine.

The wrong wine can ruin your beautifully cooked prime rib. Therefore, you need to know which wines pair best.

What Wine Pairs With Prime Rib?

All wines do not pair with prime rib. The following wines pair bets with juicy, moist, and rich prime rib. 


Baralo originates in the Piedmont province of Italy. Barolo is one of the most Italian red wines. 

Barolo wines are made from Nebbiolo grapes which are acidic and tannic. The final wine ends up with a full body with radiant notes of rose and dried herbs.

Barolo is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years, then aged for another year once it’s been bottled.

Since Barolo is tannic and acidic, it has a medium alcohol level. Therefore, the Barolo cuts through the richness of the prime rib

When choosing Barolo wine, look for the term Riserva. This indicates the Barolo wine was aged for a minimum of 5 years. This type of Barolo wine will take your prime rib to the next level. 


Merlot is a soft red wine with low levels of tannins. This versatile wine ranges from light-bodied to full-bodied. 

Its flavors include plum, vanilla, black cherry, cedar, and spices like cloves. 

Both light-bodied and full-bodied Merlot wines pair beautifully with prime rib. So, the wine pairing depends on your personal preference. 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich dark-colored red wine. It has a full body and medium acidity. Furthermore, the dryness and tannins work well with juicy prime rib. 

Cabernet Sauvignon’s alcohol content is relatively high. Since Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in oak barrels, it has notes of dark-colored fruits, vanilla, pepper, and tobacco. 

All of these beautiful flavors pair perfectly with prime rib and help to cut the fattiness

Australian, Chilean, Californian, or Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignons are best for prime rib.

Rioja Gran Reserva

Rioja Gran Reserva is a complex wine with high levels of tannins. Rioja Gran Reserva is aged for a minimum of two years and then aged for an additional 3 years once it’s been bottled. 

It is reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon. However, it has an intensified fruity dark cherry flavor. The robust dark cherry flavor adds a subtle, sweet, yet acidic taste, which cleanses and refreshes the palate. 


Malbec is a famous red wine that has a complex flavor. It has a velvety smooth body that melts on the tongue, precisely what you need after eating a rich, juicy bite of prime rib. Some people even compare drinking Malbec to eating a piece of chocolate. 

Like prime rib, Malbec has a soft, smooth texture that invites you to take another sip of the wine after you’ve taken another bite of prime rib. 

Compared to most wines, Malbec has lower acidity and smaller amounts of tannins, even though it’s a full-bodied wine. Therefore, it is an excellent pairing for prime rib. Malbec is also perfect if you do not like wines with a bitter finish. 

Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah is often compared to Sirah. However, these are two different wines with their own unique characteristics. 

Petite Sirah is tannic and acidic with spice, blueberry, pepper, and chocolate flavors. The fruity notes give Petite Sirah a complex flavor that contrasts nicely with the savory, rich prime rib. 


Grenache wine has a juicy fruity flavor with a subtle sprinkling of cinnamon. Grenache wine has a high alcohol profile and a medium amount of tannins. 

Styles of Grenache vary from dry to semi-dry and sweet. However, when it comes to prime rib, a medium-bodied Grenache with lower tannin amounts and high acidity is best

The wine will cut through the meat’s richness, especially if it’s served with heavy sides like mashed potatoes and gravy. 

Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux blends originate from the Bordeaux province of France. Bordeaux blends consist mainly of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. However, Cabernet Franc grapes may also be used in Bordeaux Blends. 

Nevertheless, the high tannic activity of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is softened by the Merlot creating a juicy fruity wine. This juicy wine matches the moist levels of the prime rib, creating the perfect combination. 


Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a red wine with higher tannins levels than Cabernet Sauvignon. It is also darker than Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with notes of smoke, pepper, tobacco, and berries. 

Syrah is better suited to those who are not used to or dislike fatty cuts of beef such as prime rib. The tannic and acidic flavor will help cut through some of the fattiness and richness of the meat. 


Tempranillo is a Spanish wine that develops complex flavors when aged in oak barrels. Tempranillo is one of the best wines for prime rib. 

The most recognizable flavors of Tempranillo are tobacco, dried figs, cedar, and cherry. 

However, how long Tempranillo is aged also affects its flavors. For example, Tempranillo wines have a juicy fruity flavor with a subtle note of pepper which works quite well with roasted medium-rare prime rib. 

In contrast, some vintage Tempranillo has deeper, darker fruit flavors with subtle hints of dried herbs and leather that pair well with herb-crusted or smoked prime rib. 

Can You Drink White Wine With Prime Rib?

Although prime rib is mostly served with red wines, you can serve it with white wines.

Since prime rib is rich and fatty, it pairs incredibly well with Germain Riesling wine. Riesling’s dry, nutty, yet rich flavor contrasts with the texture and taste of prime rib. 

Final Thoughts

Prime rib is reserved for special occasions such as Christmas, so you might as well serve it with a glass of wine.

Now that you know the best pairing for prime rib, you can sample a few of them the next time you cook or order prime rib.