The closest result so far from one of our polls was the recent question on what to drink with a roast rib of beef. Clearly imagining a classic English Sunday roast 33% of you opted for red Bordeaux with just under a quarter of you (24%) preferring a Rioja.
Reaction to the new world options was more surprising with Australian Shiraz (29%, but at some points in the lead) proving considerably more popular than Californian Cabernet (just 14%), despite the fact that a great many visitors to the site are based in the US. It can’t just be a question of alcohol - many shirazes are have just as high an ABV as a Napa cabernet so perhaps it’s a question of tannins?
My own view is that all four options are good ones, the choice being dictated by how the beef is cooked and what is served with it in the way of a sauce or accompanying vegetables. If the beef is served quite rare or is barbecued, if it is served with a concentrated jus, if it is accompanied by a rich creamy gratin or strongly flavoured vegetables such as mushrooms, then an intensely flavoured red such as a shiraz should stand up better. If it’s cooked medium rare with a more traditional gravy and simply prepared vegetables then more mature wines such as aged Bordeaux and Rioja would be more appropriate. But, as ever, it’s a matter of taste.