I am planning a dinner for my girlfriend's birthday. I plan on having roasted beef tenderloin, with a red wine sauce. At first, I was going to use a red burgundy, and use the same for drinking at the dinner, but my girlfriend apparently hates dry wines. Is there a sweet or semi-sweet wine that would be good for the recipe? I am asking because I assume it's not good to use a dry wine for the dish, and a sweet wine for the recipe.
Which red wine is better.....
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You don't need to use the same wine to drink as to cook. The main purpose the wine in the dish serves, in my opinion, is to complement the protein properly. With wine and protein, you have to have a good balance of fat and acid. The more fat in the meat, the more acid you need in the sauce, or in the wine you are drinking to complement it. Balancing the two accentuates the flavor in each. If the balance is off, it can leave one or the other, or both, tasting flat.
Beef tenderloin can be a fairly lean piece of meat. If its not well marbled, and most filets aren't if they aren't prime grade or authentic Kobe beef, its probably not all that fatty and a really acidic wine, like burgundy, can overpower the flavor of the beef. With a less marbled tenderloin, you might be better off using a less acidic wine like a merlot, red zin, cotes du rhone, or even a slightly sweet one that still has some acid like a marsala or madeira, or maybe even what you are drinking. Tough to say without tasting it.
As far as drinking goes, the first rule of ordering wine for someone else is to order what they like. It doesn't do you any good to choose a wine that pairs perfectly with a dish but is too dry for them. Maybe you should buy one bottle of a sweet wine you know she likes, then one bottle of a wine that goes well with the dish. A pinot is a great choice if you have a really well marbled filet. If its a grocery store filet, I would choose something less acidic. Syrah (shiraz) would be a good choice if it isn't a heavy one. French ones are often lighter. Australian ones are often heavier. If you happen to have a pinot that has been aged long enough to mellow some of the acid out of it, or if you find one less acidic, it might go well with a grocery store filet. A cotes du rhone (Grenache) would be a good choice. Even a good Beaujolais.