Pairing The Right Wine with Meatloaf Can Make or Break The Meal

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Most people associate wine with rich French cuisine, fine dining, meaty Italian stews, or savory cheeses. However, some foods you would least expect to go with wine, go with wine. These combinations can both impress and astonish foodies and wine drinkers. 

One of these unlikely combinations is with meatloaf. American Meatloaf originated in the Eastern United States when people would combine their scraps of meat with onions and herbs and form a loaf for baking or smoking. 

The dish has become synonymous with American home-cooking and easy recipes. 

Red wine pouring into a wine glass in front of a black background - Pairing The Right Wine with Meatloaf.

Can You Pair White Wine With Meatloaf?

Because of the meatloaf’s meaty texture, onions, and tomato sauce, it deserves a red wine, especially something powerful or luscious. White wine will not hold up to the dish as well. Many wines, especially white wines, will be overpowered. 


Why Are Wines With More Tannins Recommended For Meatloaf?

Meat, tomatoes, and tannins have been a match made in heaven for centuries. Tennis will stand up to the bold flavors of beef and tomatoes. 

The herbs and spices in meatloaf also require a wine with more tannin structure, or else it will make the wine taste flimsy and watery. In short, a wine that fills your mouth with boldness is going to suit the food that does the same. 


Which Wine Varieties You Should Avoid Pairing With Meatloaf?

Avoid any sparkling wines, rosés, and white wines when pairing for meatloaf. These wines will feel weak when paired with meatloaf’s rich flavors and herbal aromas. 


Merlot vs. Zinfandel: Which One Is Better for Pairing with Meatloaf?

A lot of wine pairing depends on the style of the dish made and the drinker’s preference. For many people, the bold flavors and tannins of zinfandel are perfectly made to pair with meatloaf. After all, zinfandel is one of the best wines for red meat out there. 

However, others will prefer the softer, rounder qualities of merlot. This is especially true if your meatloaf has a lighter sauce and is more fluffy and delicate. 

The rule of thumb is to go with the zinfandel for a richer tomato sauce and beef-based meatloaf. For a more herb-forward, less tomato-heavy loaf, go with the merlot. 

Final Thoughts on Wine Pairing with Meatloaf 

Meatloaf is an American meat dish that normally contains ground beef, onions, tomato sauce, and herbs. It’s baked in the shape of a loaf. 

Because its rich flavors require a bold red wine with plenty of tannins to stand up to it, it will all be powered by white wines, rosés, and sparkling wines. The most popular pairings include Zinfandel, Merlot, red-blends, and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo will be a perfect match.