White wine with beef? Haven't you heard of the golden rules of wine and food matching? Are you mad? Well, not entirely. Most of the flavours and tastes in this dish - snapping-fresh spring vegies, lemon juice, salty anchovies and capers, pungent chives and garlic - are aimed straight at the heart of an aromatic, assertive white wine so it seems crazy not to follow their lead. It's true, though, that the juicy, bloody slices of rich-tasting but lean beef probably call for a red. So I suggest you compromise and choose a strong-tasting white like a sauvignon blanc (remembering that savvy is a genetic parent of the cabernet sauvignon vine, and shares many of the leafy, herbal aspects of the red grape's flavour profile), but one made more like a red wine. Luckily, a small but steadily growing band of adventurous winemakers are fermenting their sauvignon grapes in oak barrels, either partly (they'll ferment some of the juice in barrel, some in a stainless steel tank, and then blend the two components) or wholly. And the results can be remarkably satisfying, deliciously full-bodied white wines, perfect with spring beef salads like this.
Roast beef and white wine might seem like strange bedfellows, but in this pairing they’re highly compatible.