One of the great pleasures of drinking wine is matching it with equally mouth-watering food.
Traditionally, red wine with meat and white with fish are no longer flexible enough to accommodate the multi-cultural taste influences that modern cuisine reflects. Common sense dictates that every wine experience should start with taste. When pairing food and wine, you should keep in mind that you are trying to find balance and harmony – balance between flavours, textures, intensity and taste. To increase your chances of a successful match, consider how the food was prepared, seasoned, the texture and also any accompaniments. Food and wine has its own flavour and texture, so too does every palate. So please use this tool as a guide only. There are no hard and fast rules, rights or wrongs. Just experiment to find your matching ideas.
Fairly spicy curries, with are rich and often tomato-based, are great with a fruity, flavoursome red with low tannins. Try a good Shiraz – fruity rather than spicy – or a Shiraz Cabernet blend, Merlot will work well here too. To deal with a hot, curry try a Chardonnay, not too complex, or a Sauvignon Blanc with its mix of tangy acidity and structure. Alternatively , the freshness and flavour intemsity of a slighter sweeter style will cope well with hotness, such as a chilled Gewurztraminer or an inexpensive Riesling.
Light savoury reds and young crisp whites will cope well with a variety of Tikka / Tandoori dishes / sauces. Try with a young Shiraz, Ruby/Shiraz Cabernet, or a light Colombard Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, as these are all safe options. Well we think so anyway!
Complement the rich tomato sauce with an Italian classic, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, or a Chianti DOC. A young Cabernet works well as does a ripe Shiraz.with lots of fruit on the palate with good acidity. Blends and moderately spicy Shiraz fit the bill well.
Choose a good quality Chardonnay with subtle oak and restrained fruit to accompany milder, aromatic and gently spiced curries using coconut or yogurt.
Crunchy bean sprouts and noodles are good with a simple, crisp Unoaked Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. Noodles with bean sprouts with prawns ore chicken. and given a kick with lemongrass, coriander, garlic chilli ect. make an interesting partnership with a young, not to floral Riesling, as well all the above.
Simple white blends and young light Rieslings with their hints of sweetness are the best all-round options with Chinese food. Try Semillon Chardonnay or Colombard blends. An inexpensive sparkling wine will serve you well here. But, if you prefer a red wine, choose a soft fruity, low tannin, fairly simple wine, not too complex. A Shiraz Merlot or a Cabernet Merlot should do the trick. When it comes to Sweet & Sour go for a cool refreshing bowl of rice!
A good, crisp Sauvignon Blanc will cope well with the potent mix of hot and spicy flavors, herbs and fish.
Stir Frys, because they have an array of different flavours and textures require wines that lift the flavours, such as Chenin Blanc, Riesling and the sweetness of a Gewurztraminer. Viognier works well with dishes that might normally call for Gewürztraminer. Spicy dishes, such as spicy oriental stir-frys, especially Thai-style which is made with coconut milk, may be accompanied and complemented.
An authentic Northern Indian rice dish made with chicken ( just like Paella ). Either way the spices tell the story of the flavors of India. High acidity wines like Riesling or a good Viognier hold up well with spicy rice, to balance the status quo.
For highly spiced Szechuan style salads, try a Gewurztraminer. Cantonese style are much more subtly seasoned. For the best result try a sweet fruity wine, such as a German Riesling. Meanwhile, a red Bordeaux is particularly appropriate for Shanghai cuisine. A Merlot works well with Peking style, which often features heavier meats like duck and beef. So does a burgundy such as Pinot Noir.
Choose a ripe, Oaky Chardonnay to match the different array of flavors that are evident in the crispy batter, that complement the chicken flavors and textures. If adding a peanut dip, it’s a whole new ball game – try with a Semillon or Semillon Blend. Pure comfort food!
Choose a light Gewurztraminer, to bring out the flavour of the parcels of vegetables in the soup. The Riesling should be light & sweet to conflict with the spicy vegetables. Go on, give it a try!