Best Wine Pairing With Prime Rib & Why It Works | Our 7 Favorites!

wine pairing with prime rib

Quick Answer: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Super Tuscan are my favorite choices. Similar red wines made of similar grapes from two different regions, Napa and Tuscany. Both are high quality, full-bodied wine with dark fruit flavors, integrated firm tannins, and good acidity. They will work perfectly to not only complement but accentuate the flavors of the prime rib.

There’s nothing quite like a delicious prime rib dinner. The meat is tender and juicy, combined with the au jus sauce and horseradish the dish is one of my favorites. But what is the best wine pairing with prime rib?

In this blog post, we will list out the seven (7) best wine pairings with prime rib and explain why they work so well together. We’re about to show you how to wine and dine in style!

Table of Contents

What is Prime Rib?

prime rib cut prime rib dinner packs prime beef rib

The Prime Rib, aka Standing Rib Roast, is one of the most popular cuts of beef and it’s also one of the most expensive. The Prime Rib comes from the cow’s rib rack cage between the sixth (6th) and twelfth (12th) ribs.

The two main qualities that USDA inspectors consider when grading beef are the amount of fat and the age of the cow. Prime beef will therefore be more tender, juicy, and flavorful.

  • The fat, or marbling, is a source of flavor and moisture. Thus the more marbling there is, the higher the grade the meat will receive.
  • Another important aspect is the age of the animal. The younger it is, the more tender the meat will be. To meet prime standards, beef cattle must be 9 to 30 months old maximum, although most are butchered before they reach 24 months.

Prime rib is usually roasted with the bone in which adds flavor and the well-marbled cut keeps the meat tender and juicy. The prime rib is usually roasted until it’s medium rare or medium, any more and the meat will start to dry out. This dish is often served with an au jus sauce and spicy horseradish.

What are the Best Wine Pairings with Prime Rib?

heavily marbled prime beef rib roast

1) Cabernet Sauvignon

Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 wine

Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, bold wine with dark fruit flavors. This wine’s high tannin content will cut through the richness of the meat, while the meat will in turn soften out the tannins in the wine. 

Also the fruit forward flavors of the wine will bring out the flavors of the meat and the au jus sauce. Plus, the weight of the wine will match well with the heaviness of the dish. It’s just a great classic food and wine pairing!

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is my favorite wine to pair with prime rib. The wine is high quality and has all of the characteristics that I look for in a great Cabernet.

2) Super Tuscan

Super Tuscan vs Chianti Classico

Super Tuscan is wine made of Bordeaux-style grapes, but from the Tuscany region in Italy. Learn more…

Super Tuscan wines are high quality, full-bodied red wines with dark fruit flavors, firm medium to high tannins, and well-balanced acidity. Sound familiar? That’s because these are all the qualities that make a great Cabernet Sauvignon.

So, like a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, a Super Tuscan is a great pairing with prime rib because it’s a wine that can stand up to the rich flavors of the dish. The tannins and acidity in the wine will help cut through the fat in the meat, while the dark fruit flavors will accentuate the flavors of the meat. And most Super Tuscans are aged in oak, giving them spice flavors that will pair well with the seasoning of the prime rib.

3) Merlot

Merlot vs Pinot Noir Comparison

Merlot is a Bordeaux-style grapes, like Cabernet Sauvignon, but it’s typically lighter in body with softer tannins. Learn more…

Merlot is another great pairing wine with prime rib. And it’s just a really versatile wine that pairs well with a lot of different foods. Also, the softer tannins and medium body of the red wine won’t overpower the flavors of the hearty dish, it will just be a perfect balance with it. And the juicy fruity flavors of the wine will really complement the au jus sauce and the juicy flavors of the meat.

My favorite Merlot to pair with prime rib is also from Napa Valley. Because the wine has all of the rich and fruit forward characteristics that I look for to pair with red meat. 

4) Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello vs Barolo

Brunello di Montalcino is a red wine made with 100% Sangiovese grapes from the Tuscany region in Italy. Barolo is a wine made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes from the Piedmont region in Italy. Both are excellent choices to pair with prime rib, but I’ll go with Brunello. Learn more about Barolo vs Brunello…

Brunello di Montalcino is a full-bodied wine with medium to high tannins and strong acidity. This wine is all about structure, and because of that it can really hold up well to hearty dishes like prime rib. The tannins in the wine will help cut through the fat in the meat, while the acidity will help balance out the richness of the dish. Plus the savory herbal notes of this wine will enhance the flavors of the meat.

And lasty the wine will taste better and get a little smoother because of the prime rib’s proteins.

5) Zinfandel

best zinfandel tasting notes

Zinfandel is a red wine made with the Zinfandel grape, which is considered California’s heritage grape. Learn more…

Zinfandel is a jammy fruit-forward, medium bodied wine with strong acidity. And it usually has a hint of pepper/spice to it. Those who enjoy dipping their meat into horseradish will find that the pepper notes in the wine will help amplify the spice flavors. And the wine’s medium body and acidity will be a perfect balance with the heaviness and richness of the dish.

6) Malbec

malbec vs merlot comparison

Malbec is a wine made with the Malbec grape, which is originally from Cahors in France but now most commonly associated with Argentina. Learn more…

Malbec is a full-bodied, high tannic wine with flavors of blackberry and dark plum. The wine’s smoky and peppery flavors will bring out the earthy flavors of the meat. As well as complement all of the accompanying sauces.

Having difficulty choosing between a Malbec and Merlot? Read more…

7) Syrah or GSM Blend

Petite Sirah vs Syrah comparisons

Syrah is originally from the Rhone Valley in France but now most commonly associated with Australia. GSM stands for Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and it’s a blend of those three grapes (aka Rhone Blend).

Both Syrah and GSM blends are full of the peppery spice and herbal flavors with a medium acidity. The red wines are medium to full bodied with firm tannins and dark fruit flavors, perfect for a hearty roast. And the spice flavors of the wine will really go well with the seasoning on the meat and the horseradish sauce.


What is a good pairing wine with prime rib?

There are a few different wine styles that would be good with prime rib. Look for tannic red wines with moderate acidity. And here are some of the best: Cabernet Sauvignon, Super Tuscan, Merlot, Brunello di Montalcino, Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah, or a Rhone blend.

Does Pinot Noir pair well with prime rib?

Yes, Pinot Noir is a good wine to pair with prime rib. It’s a light to medium bodied wine with soft tannins and high acidity. The wine’s bright fruit flavors will really complement the au jus sauce and the juicy flavors of the meat. And the high acidity should cut through the fat of the meat.

What Alcohol goes well with prime rib?

While wine is always a good choice to pair with prime rib, you could also go with a beer or even a cocktail. It’s truly based on your personal preference.

What red wine goes with rib roast?

Any red wine that you like will most likely go well with a red or grilled meat (especially your holiday roast).


We hope you enjoyed this blog post on pairing wine with prime rib.

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