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.
Salmon is richer, fattier, and has a more distinct flavour of it’s own, than the average bear…err…I mean fish. And so it needs a wine with a richer, more developed flavour to go with it. Enjoy a good Pinot Noir, a good quality restrained Chardonnay or a sparkling Blanc de Blancs with a grilled Salmon steak / kebabs. Choose a light Sauvignon Blanc / blend with Salmon baked in a dill and white wine sauce.
Sometimes a Pinot Gris will do, not just any excuse to enjoy it. The smells and tastes of apples and pears are usually accompanied by a crisp acidity and sometimes followed by a hint of oak for fulness.
If the fish is naturally light in flavour (such as Snapper), and the sauce does not change this characteristic, then we recommend a lighter wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon.
If however the fish is served with a significant lemon flavour in the recipe then the recommendation is undoubtedly true. The acids in the lemon will rub a softer, wine like Chardonnay the wrong way. The acids in the Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, on the other hand, will help the wine mate with the flavours of the fish dish.
If you have lavish quantitites of caviar and are eating it pure and unadulterated threre’s only one perfect match, and that is champagne. No other drink, even Vodka, preserves the delicate texture of the eggs quite as well.
Which Champagne is up to you. Our preference for a crisp, clean, unoxidised style such as Dom Perignon, or more inexpensively, Laurent Perrier or Taittinger or a bone dry non-dosage champagne. If you’re combining it with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon a blanc de blancs would be good.
The meaty Monkfish, roasted, grilled or pan fried finds a good match in a stylish, lightly oaked Chardonnay.
Haddock/Cod and chips from the local fish & chip shop are good with a simple Chardonnay or Semillon, or blends with Colombard. Tasty Cod in a homemade batter and crispy home style chips deserve a good quality Chardonnay, ideally unoaked with elegant but restrained character. Choose a soft Chardonnay , Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc ( varietals/blends ) with roast cod on a bed of spinach served with a creamy mash. These are also suitable choices for grilled or pan – fried Haddock/Cod fillet.
Crisp, dry whites are the best answer with oily mackerel. Try a young unoaked Chardonnay, Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc or similiar blends. Serve the same wines with Kedgeree, traditionally eaten for breakfast, and originating in Anglo-India, where it was known as kitchri, kedgeree also makes a wonderful lunch or supper dish. or if served at brunch, a sparkling Blanc de Blancs will do the trick.
Serve light, young Chardonnay, with grilled plaice. Dover Sole grilled with lemon juice and a light dusting of fresh herbs is flattered by a crisp, moderately fruity Sauvignon Blanc or a fine lemony, lightly oaked Chardonnay.
Grilled or poached trout tastes great, with dry unoaked whites, particularly the simpler Semillon Colombard Chardonnay blends. Grill the trout – stuff with fresh herbs and garlic – on the BBQ and a young, lemon fresh Semillon will do the trick.
The flesh of this cold-water fish is moist, white and delicate with few bones. An excellent alternative to Cod or Haddock, this extremely versatile fish suits a wide range of cooking methods. Try New Zealand Hoki pan-fried, poached, baked, microwaved, au natural, coated in batter or breadcrumbs or with your favourite sauce. Accompany with a fresh zingy herbaceous and citrus flavoured new season Sauvignon Blanc.
Like salmon, tuna is a fish that marries well with red wine. Choose softly fruity Merlot or Pinot Noir or a ripe Semillon Chardonnay blend with a simple grilled tuna steak, nothing added. On the other hand, tuna that is marinated with fresh herbs, garlic and chilli and then flash – grilled is good, with a flavoursome Chardonnay or Semillon Chardonnay or even a lightly spiced, but soft Shiraz.
Try a quality Sparkling vintage wine or a crisp, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc with the simplicity of smoked salmon. For a classic brunch dish, of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, serve with a good Unoaked Chardonnay.
The delicate flavours of natural Sushi and Sashimi are well matched with dry sparkling wines, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and fino dry sherry-style wines. When dipped in sauces, more intense flavoured wines are required to meet the flavour changes. Use the flavour profile to determine the appropriate wine in this case.
The combanation of white wine, garlic, a marry of herbs( and sometimes cream ) with the midly flavoured mussels, means white wines with high acidity and gentle fruit are the best option. Try Colombard Chardonnay or Semillon Chardonnay.
Crab, is Dry Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc territory, but crab cakes, often spicy and herby and served in a cream sauce, are good with fresh but not too fruity Sauvignon Blancs and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. Or try an unoaked or lightly oaked good quality Chardonnay.
Rich Lobster needs a rich wine. Go with a full-bodied Chardonnay. If you are out to be fancy, go with a French Chardonnay based wine such as, Corton-Charlemagne, we get to enjoy a slightly stony taste which adds a bit of complexity to the meal. Serve a cool-climate good quality Chardonnay, a premium Sparkling White wine, fine Riesling, or a Brut Champagne would also work well. Another great combination is a French Vouvray!
The briny nature of oysters require a crisp, structured wine to accompany them. A Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne will make a great match. If the oysters are significantly sauced or flavoured in some way, you may need to rethink this recommendation, based on flavour profile.
As with any food – and especially naturally mild foods – the flavour profile (and therefore the wine pairing) can be dominated by the other ingredients in the dish. So this recommendation may need to be changed based on the flavour profile.
Wok fried scallops with a Thai style flavourings, such as ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chili deserve a lively fresh aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. A traditional dish like Scallops Mornay prefers a subtly oaked, low acidity Chardonnay.
From a wine perspective, shrimp can be treated similar to chicken. In other words, it can be somewhat a blank palate upon which the other ingredients may dominate. In which case you need to select a wine based on these flavours.
If prepared in a light acidic manner (such as sauteéd in a lemon butter), then I recommend a light, acidic wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. If a more substantial sauce is coming your way, go for a Riesling or Gewurztraminer which have the flavours to keep up with the bold flavour profiles.
Crayfish is a delicate and slightly sweet though strong flavoured food and it needs a strong flavoured wine with soft acidity to carry the flavours, therefore we suggest a sparkling wine which has rich mealy yeasty flavours that work a treat. Shrimps work well with a light rose or a sparkling wine is a happy choice for a spectrum of dishes from soup to King Prawns. Don’t wait for a special occasion to enjoy it.