One of the positives about having a private chef in your home is the ability to pick and choose your own wines – no need to pay restaurant prices. However, it can be daunting about where to start, and what wines go with which dishes – or how to match a glass with specific flavour profiles – so we’ve founded up a cheat sheet of our favourite pairings, regardless if you’re a novice or a sommelier.
Let’s start with the varieties –
There are so many varietals of white wine to choose from – sweet, dry, bitter, and acidic – it can be a great option for those that want a simple pairing for white meats. Generally speaking, fish and white meats such as chicken and turkey are a great match for white wines. Chardonnay is a wonderful white wine option if you have a creamy sauce, or lighter foods, while a Sauvignon Blanc (from Bordeaux) is great for something sweeter, like dessert. If you are enjoying entrees, white wine is a great place to start before you move onto the fuller-bodied reds like Merlot and Shiraz.
Likewise, if you are enjoying bubbles – prosecco and champagne – you can also enjoy this varietal with fish, or cheese and crackers to begin your meal.
Red varietals can often be daunting when you first read them – Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabinet Sauvignon, and Gamay are some of the wines that are great for pairing with richer, full-bodied meals like steak or red meat.
If you are new to drinking red wine, Gamay and Pinot Noir are a lighter option for you and pair perfectly with dishes that do not have a heavy sauce – lamb, salmon, and pasta. If you are having a heavy roast, Pinot Noir and Shiraz (also called Syrah) are the perfect pairings to heavier winter dishes like stews, pasta bakes, or roasts.
Now – how about the food?
Wine should generally pair with the meal that you are eating, so aim for opposites attracts here. If your food is acidic and punchy, aim for a dry white or red. While if it is rich in sauce (like Italian food), then a lighter Shiraz would work wonderfully. You can aim for a complementary pairing (something that works well together) or a congruent pairing (something that is an opposite pairing), depending on your mood and the vibe you want to set for the evening.
What are your favourite wine pairings? Let us know in the comments!