The Meat Course

Cold Meat Platter

The majority of meat courses (with the exception of poultry and ham) will call for red wines, but once again, this isn't a hard and fast rule. How the meat is cooked and the predominance of other ingredients in the dish will influence the choice of wine. As a general rule, simply cooked roasts warrant opening better bottles and those with some age. Spicy dishes or those with lots of different flavours would be better with younger, fruitier wines.


Solid, young, simple reds, eg Côtes-du-Rhône, Languedoc, any young Syrah/Shiraz, Spanish Garnacha (Navarra), South African Pinotage, Barbera, Valpolicella, Salice Salentino, anything from Zinfandel or Primitivo, Nemea from Greece, Beaujolais (preferably Morgon) or sturdy Southern French rosés. The list is endless. The best wines for the job will have enough flavour to cope with all the seasonings that go with barbecues and all the smoke!!


  • Steak, burgers, mixed grills, kebabs or meatballs As for barbecues.
  • Boiled A good partner with old wine – go for the finest you can afford from Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Northern Rhône, or mature Rioja.
  • Stew Full-bodied reds such as St. Emilion, Pomerol, Burgundy, Rhône, either full flavoured northern Syrah or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, top Languedoc reds, Australian Shiraz, Californian/Chilean Cabernet , fine Italian from Tuscany or Piedmont, Rioja Reserva.
  • Roast The finest red that you can afford.
  • Stroganoff Very full-bodied red eg Valpolicella Reciotto Amarone, Châteauneuf, top Languedoc, Heavy Australian, Château Musar or top Californian Zinfandel.

Black pudding, sausages

Good gutsy reds from Rhône, Languedoc, Italy or Oz. Some would say that good beer is best.

Cassoulet (rich, garlicky bean stew from south-west France with lots of other things thrown in)

Cahors, Madiran, Corbières, Minervois or any other full Languedoc red.

Chicken, turkey, guinea fowl

Go well with any wine, red or white. Perfect foil for Red Burgundy especially one with age. Also good with rich full-bodied whites, eg classic White Burgundy, Alsace Pinot Gris, German Riesling Spätlese. If spicy, then go for full-throttle reds from Australia or the Rhône.

Chicken in a creamy sauce

Very easy to match; white is obvious choice and best of all is Jura, especially Château-Chalon. White Burgundy, Alsace Pinot Gris or creamy New World Chardonnay also good.

Coq au vin

Any red Burgundy or top Beaujolais eg Moulin-à-Vent. One bottle for the pot, one (or two) for the table.

Choucroute or sauerkraut

Dry Alsace white, young dry Riesling or Sylvaner or a large quantity of chilled Pilsner.

Cold meats

As for charcuterie. Cold beef goes wonderfully well with something finer from Bordeaux or Burgundy. Salt beef with its mandatory gherkin, rye bread and horseradish goes better with beer, good tea or maybe a young gutsy northern Rhône.


Not easy to match with wine. Alsace Gewurztraminer can work as can spicy rosés such as those from the south of France.

Duck and goose

Brilliant with the richest wines around such as red or white Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, St. Emilion or Pomerol or even Margaux, top Côte de Nuits or grand whites from Burgundy, mature Alsace Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris, Pfalz Riesling, mature vintage Champagne. Also excellent with robust reds from the south west of France such as Cahors and Madiran.

Feathered game (pheasant, grouse, partridge, wild duck, pigeon, wood cock)

Top red Burgundy or northern Rhône, mature St.Emilion or Pomerol, mature Madiran or top Languedoc, Chianti Classico, Barolo, Rioja Reserva, top Californian red especially Zinfandel, top Australian Shiraz.

Game pie

As above.


Malt whisky, Rhône, Moulin-à-Vent, young Cornas, Greek Nemea, Chateau Musar, Alsace Pinot Gris or young Pouilly-Fuissé.

Gammon, ham

Red Loire, Médoc, red Côte de Beaune, Pinot Blanc from anywhere, Alsace or Rheingau Riesling.


  • Roast Côte de Nuits, Médoc, Chianti Classico, Rioja Reserva, Madiran, northern Rhône.
  • Chops As for roast but younger and less grand, also add Beaujolais, Côtes-du-Rhône and young Loire reds, Chilean Merlot, Argentinean Malbec. In the summer, try dry southern French rosé.
  • Stews As for roast but leaning towards heartier wines so St. Emilion, Pomerol, southern Rhône, southern Italian, Greek.

Liver and bacon

Young quality (cru) Beaujolais, Chinon, young Claret, red Bergerac, Barbera, Italian Cabernet/Merlot eg. Maso Lodron, Argentine Malbec.

Confit of goose or duck

Reds from south west France eg. Madiran, Cahors, Pécharmant, Côte de Bourg or for white, Alsace Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer.

Ossobuco (stewed veal shin)

Barolo, Bandol, Madiran, St. Emilion, top Italian or New World Cabernet.


Roast pork is extremely versatile and goes with either red or white. For reds, as for lamb or whites as for duck. Also cider or best bitter ale.


Excellent with Pinot Noir especially Burgundy eg Volnay or Savigny. Also good with cru Beaujolais, Saint-Emilion, Crôzes-Hermitage, Châteauneuf, many Languedoc reds, Rioja, Dolcetto, Valpolicella Classico, Nemea. Also wonderful with vintage Champagne.


Depends what's in it but typically, Pinot Bianco, Barbera, Dolcetto or young Chianti. If with white truffles, then Barolo. With black truffles, then Rhône.

Pasta, meat sauce

Montepulciano, Valpolicella, Salice Salentino, Brindisi, Aglianico, Languedoc or Cotes du Rhône

Stews, casseroles, shepherd's pie, steak and kidney pie or pudding, Couscous

Côtes-du-Rhône, (eg. red Lirac) Châteauneuf, Cru Beaujolais, Santenay, Mercurey, Claret, Australian Shiraz, Barbera, Southern Italian, Spanish, Languedoc, Chateau Musar, Greek Nemea…the list could go on.

Venison, boar, game etc

Big, strong reds Cornas, Hermitage, Barolo, Valpolicella Amarone, Châteauneuf, Priorato, Australian Shiraz, Cabernet or blends of the two, big Languedoc reds, St.Emilion and Pomerol, Bandol, old style red Burgundy and certain whites like Alsace Pinot Gris and Rhine Spätlese.

Members' Comments (7)

"Osso Bucco is NOT oxtail stew! this gives a very wrong impression of it. it is cross cut veal shank that includes the bone marrow, in a tomato and onion sauce, traditionally served with a risotto milanese and a gremolata topping (grated lemon rind, finely chopped garlic and parsley) Osso Bucco means bone with a hole, oxtails are not hollow and do not have bone marrow as does the veal shank. it is a delicate and delicious dish and I am amazed to... Read more > see the Wine Society get this so wrong!!!"

Ms Selina Dix Hamilton (08-May-2015)

"Quite right, Ms Dix Hamilton . I’d even go so far as to say that by the same rationale, a recipe for ossobuco is not the best use of a good, sticky, gelatinous oxtail either – they are, as you say, hardly interchangeable and the hole is the least of it. As to how this error crept in, I’m quite amazed too, given how passionate we are about food here and how minutely we proof-check. Thanks for spotting it. We will make the necessary corrections... Read more > forthwith.

Interestingly, my Italian cookery guru, Anna del Conte claims the inclusion of tomatoes to be an Emilia-Romagna tradition, and omits them from her recipes for ossobuchi alla Milanese recipe, though she graciously and probably wisely braces herself for ‘some disagreement”! Have you tried it without, by any chance?

Janet Wynne Evans (12-May-2015)

"I'm looking for good red wines to match with :
1. Cottage pie made with venison mince, and
2. Roast haunch of organic venison.
Not at the same time!!

Many thanks.

Gareth Morgan"

Mr Gareth Morgan (17-Dec-2015)

"Thanks for your query! A good start would definitely be our Food & Wine Matcher: you can find a number of good wines for venison dishes by price point here .

A quick ask around the office has also yielded a few possible candidates, without presuming to know a budget:

• Viña Zorzal Graciano, Navarra 2013 (£6.95) - has a great affinity with pastry.
• The Society's Exhibition Gigondas, 2007 (£13.95) - this should stand up... Read more > well to the pie or equally be good with the haunch.
• La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva, Rioja 2007 (£19.50) - a good bet, we think, for the roast.

Do hope this is of use. Many thanks!

Mr Martin Brown (18-Dec-2015)

"Apologies - here is the link to the Food & Wine Matcher suggestions mentioned above:"

Mr Martin Brown (18-Dec-2015)

"I'm somewhat surprised at your limited choice of "robust reds". You mention Madiran but not a single Garnacha or Argentine Malbec and what about a Uruguayan Tannat?"

Mr Maurice Barham (09-Dec-2016)

"Curry and dry sherry - it really works! I have been amazed by how well the texture, body and flavours of dry oloroso withstand and complement the richest curry sauces. Amontillado and palo cortado also work well and they knock spots off most red and white wines served in Indian restaurants. Forget sweet rieslings or chunky reds, even lager, and try a sherry. The only issue is that most establishments keep sherry bottles open far too long and it... Read more > is well past its best. Maybe a combination to try at home except in the most enlightened restaurants?

Mr Richard Bailey (16-May-2020)

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