Luscious, melt-in-the-mouth short ribs call for robust reds, but much like the Bacon Cheeseburger D’oh Nut, pairing overly rich, palate-coating wines with one of the world’s fattier cuts of meat is just gross. Instead, look for full-bodied reds that have enough acidity to keep your palate refreshed. Here, a few bottles under $17 to try.
Southern French Reds.
The rustic Grenache-based blends made in regions such as the Southern Rhone, Provence and the Languedoc are made for braised meats. They offer spicy fruit and coarser tannins that become soft and delicious with richer dishes, like short ribs. One affordable producer to look for: Mas de Gourgonnier. Domaine Charvin from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Canet-Valette from Saint-Chinian also make reliable bottles.
Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.
When served blind, wine geeks often have a hard time pegging Chilean Cabernet. They have some of the rich fruit of California wines with a bit more structure (tannins and acid), like Bordeaux. That combination makes them great with short ribs. Look for bottles from Peñalolén or Mapuche.
Sangiovese from Tuscany.
Sangiovese, grown in Tuscan subregions such as Chianti, Montepulciano and Montalcino, is too often reserved for pizza and pasta. Yes, super-cheap Sangiovese are best saved for lighter food, but pay a few more dollars and you’ll be rewarded with serious reds that have bright cherry fruit and smoky, herbal notes—delicious with beefy short ribs. Try wines from Mastrojanni in Montalcino, Fèlsina in Chianti or Avignonesi in Montepulciano.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.