To some it’s the cause of great anxiety, but food and wine matching doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. At the end of the day, the best tip is simply to always drink and eat what you like!
However, if you’re entertaining and you do want to impress your dinner party guests with some well thought out wine and food matches, here’s three tips to help you choose the right bottle of wine.
1. Match to the dominant favour
- One of the easiest ways to create a pretty good match is to think of the similarities between the wine and the food. Light delicate food? You want a light delicate wine. A heavy dish with lots of flavours? You’ll need a big, rich wine that can match the food.
- Don’t forget to think about the dominant flavours in the food when you are comparing. This is key to getting the right match.
- You might have a delicate, white fish dish that you think a Riesling would be perfect with, but if it’s served with a rich, creamy sauce it won’t work. You need to match the wine to the dominant flavour of the food - the sauce. Instead pair your dish with a buttery Chardonnay. On the other hand if your fish has a tomato based sauce, choose a light, earthy Pinot Noir.
2. Check out the colour
- A simple but handy trick is to look at the colour of the wine.
- A light white with hints of green, often found in young whites, goes well with light green dishes like green salads and vegetables. Whites with a deeper yellow hue, match a dish with more weight like a golden roast chicken. Rosé is perfect with pink salmon. Pinot works with braised duck breast. Darker reds such as Shiraz and Cabernet are a match made in heaven with rich, hearty red meat dishes.
3. Acid and tannin are your friend
- Match fried, heavy or oily foods with wines that are high in acid or tannin. These cut through the richness of the food and act like a palate cleanser to create balance.
- Acidic whites include Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris and tannin is found in Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
- One exception to the rule - don’t pair creamy sauces with acid, choose a wine that compliments the creaminess such as a Chardonnay or a Merlot.
At the end of the day rules are meant to be broken right? So if your guest brings a top notch bottle of Chardonnay to drink with the Japanese feast you’ve whipped up it’s not the end of the world.
Food and wine are meant to be savoured and enjoyed and a dinner party with friends and loved ones is one of life’s greatest pleasures so relax, eat drink and enjoy!
Published 6 June 2017