Partner Food and Wine
When it comes to matching wine with food, we often hear many people say that they don’t know where to start. But it is not as hard as you may think! No matter what the occasion – be it a drinks party with nibbles or a sophisticated dinner – the same simple rules apply.
Partnership of equals
If you only remember one thing about matching food with wine, it should be that you need to pair food to the weight of the wine. By this we mean that if you are opting for a tasty hotpot or Sunday roast then a huge, heavy red will work a treat. On the other hand, a white fish such as monkfish will work best with a medium bodied white wine. If you are drinking your wine without food, it’s best to choose a neutral wine, such as a light Pinot Grigio.
Understand what makes wine taste great with food
The two things that make wines sound awful are the two things that make them great with food – tannin and acid. Acid cuts through fats and oils and tannin binds with protein appealing to your taste buds. So always serve very acidic or tannic wines with food and not on their own.
Don’t go overboard on the champagne
As much as you may like knocking back the champagne at the start of a meal, remember that most guests will probably be drinking on an empty stomach. Champagne is very acidic and so to ensure that you don’t kill your guests’ appetites, its best to serve just one to two glasses per person. Ideally, these should be served with canapés or nibbles.
Match food and wine origins
It’s no coincidence that wines of Chianti go brilliantly with the tomato rich pasta and roasted vegetable dishes that are the staples of the Tuscan diet. Similarly, it makes sense that the fruity, full-bodied Pinot Noirs of Burgundy go so well with herby meat and poultry dishes such as coq au vin. These food and wines grew up together and this is well worth considering when you are matching food and wine. A Spanish red will work wonders with tapas, as will a crisp Loire with moules marinere and whilst you may be more tempted to opt for a pint of water or lager with your Indian dishes, try a spicy white such as Viognier, Riesling or Gewurtzraminer.
But don’t forget that opposites attract
As in life, food and wine opposites can come together to make a blissful partnership. The reason that zesty whites such as Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs and South African Chenin Blancs go so well with fish, poultry and seafood is that they are naturally low acidity foods that need a bit of help to shine – a bit like adding a squeeze of lemon. Red meats are the same. Their flavours tend to be dry and heavy so they not only benefit greatly from the fruitiness of good reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz but they also work well with tannin. Tannin is present in all red wines and when you drink it with red meats it helps breaks down the fibres and helps release the lovely flavours.