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Pairing Wine With Meatloaf

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Meatloaf is a common dish which uses ground beef as its base, mixed with vegetables and seasoned to perfection before baking it in the oven.

This dish, because of the way it is made, makes it relatively easy to choose a wine for pairing. The cooking method is simple and the meat is the star of the dish. In this case, when it comes to ground beef, a red wine with relatively good structure levels in terms of acid and tannin will do just fine. Preferably high in aromas and body where the intensity and complexity of the dish is met. 

Wine Characteristics To Pair With Meatloaf

Characteristic Detail
Sweetness Dry
Acidity Medium to High
Tannins Medium to High
Body Medium to High
Notes Fruity, Earthy

Referring to the chart above, the wine of choice is ideally dry. Dry means no sugar at all. Any wine with residual sugar will ruin the dining experience. Sweet wines are best kept for desserts.

Acidity in wine is, in most cases, favorable when it comes to pairing wine and food. The acid levels give structure to the wine and clear up the palate nicely. Especially with fattier dishes where the acid helps “cut” the fat off the palate.

Tannin in the wine helps in the same way acid does when pairing wine. It works great by contrasting the fat/grease and also binds with proteins to mellow it down and make it easier to digest. With a meat like beef, medium to high tannin is the way to go.

The body of the wine relates to the overall mouthfeel of the wine. It can also represent the “perceived strength” on the palate. When it comes to wine pairing it is best to match the levels of body with the intensity of the dish in terms of flavors. Similarly the flavor intensity of the dish should be matched with the aromatic intensity of the wine. Neither should be overpowered.

Best Red Wine To Drink With Meatloaf

As mentioned earlier, red wines would be our first pick since they are, in most cases, bigger and bolder than white wines. Even the light red wines may get overpowered by the dish so it is better to stick with something that has bright aromas and a decent body.   

Cabernet Franc from France

Cabernet Franc is the father of the well-known Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Franc x Sauvignon Blanc = Cabernet Sauvignon). It is a grape which grows very well in the Loire Valley in France. A cool yet sunny climate gives rise to wine with good acid levels and great aromatic and structure. Red fruit and herbaceous aromas are not uncommon.

Merlot from USA or France

Merlot is one of the grapes that offers a great balance of structure and flavors. The wines tend to not be too powerful nor are they too light. The wines for the USA are a little more concentrated in terms of fruit characterics and may be a little more fragrant when compared to wines from France which can be quite light and earthy.

Reds from Southeast France

Red wines from regions such as Languedoc and Roussillon produce some great red wines which are lesser known. Wines with a great bang for your buck made from blends of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, etc. These wines are powerful enough to stand up to strong dishes but are also great for sipping!

Best White Wine To Drink With Meatloaf

White wines are not highly recommended to pair with meatloaf. Ideally, stick with the reds but if you have someone who is allergic to reds or whatever the case may be, here are a few exceptional white wines.


Chardonnays from a warm climate like Australia tend to be quite big and round on the palate and also quite buttery on the palate which will help stand up to meat and intensity of the dish. Chardonnays are generally the most full bodied white wines and are therefore a good option, especially the ones coming from a sunny region.

Chenin Blanc from South Africa

Chenin Blanc is a popular grape grown in South Africa where the heat and sun provide the grape with a greater concentration of flavors that make the wine a possible match with the boldness of this dish.

Best Wine To Drink With Meatloaf

Red wines with bright fresh fruit, good acid and not too light will be ideal to go with meatloaf. White wines tend to get overpowered by a dish like this, even lighter red wines like pinot noir are best to be avoided. Instead we suggest wines like:  

  • French or American Merlot
  • French Cabernet Franc
  • Red wines from Southwest France
  • Zinfandel
  • French Syrah
  • Chardonnay