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.
Green Veggies – Opposites attract and green vegetables have a natural lean less to them which finds it’s perfect mate in a fuller wine (like a Chardonnay) or the minerality of a Chablis.
Mushrooms/Potatoes – Both mushrooms and potatoes create a mildly flavoured, earthy canvas upon which a Pinot Noir can paint marvelous masterpieces in your mouth.
Tomatoes – While opposites may attract, when it comes to acidity one must fight acid with acids. So pair your tomatoes with a midly acidic wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Beaujolais, Rioja, Valpolicella or Chianti.
For hearty bean or pulse based dishes try a light to medium bodied red, like Merlot.
One of the wonderful things about bruschetta is its versatility. Like the little black dress, it suits just about everyone. Bruschetta offers itself up to an infinite number of variations — it can go vegetarian, carnivore-friendly or dairy-free, and act as an appetizer or serve as the foundation for a whole meal. Each variation of bruschetta — has its own personality. Pair it with some inexpensive wine, such as Semillon / Colombard Blends and Gewurztraminer and your table will radiate understated elegance.
Pairings are determined by how the vegetables were cooked. Grilling zucchini, over a charcoal or gas grill creates a savory bitterness that is nicely complemented by red wines such as Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel. Among whites, the full-bodied, intensely floral Gewürztraminer, Marsanne and Viognier marry well with most vegetables. Inventive food-wine flavor pairings are essential to the innovative style of cooking that has come to be known as New World Cuisine.
If you’re serving potato skins as a side dish, then you’ll want to choose a wine to go with the main course. To match the potato skins and BBQ sauce combination, though (and with a salad, a big platter of dips does make a fine meatless dinner), the choice is obvious: Riesling, dry or just off-dry.
A simple tomato salad, with a light vinaigrette dressing, is best with Sauvignon Blanc. Add advocado and /or mozzarella to the plate and serve with an unoaked or lightly oaked simple Chardonnay or Chardonnay Colombard blend is a good option.
Chardonnay, Chardonnay blends or a good ole aromatic Sauvignon Blanc are good accompaniments to vege stews. When serving heartier stews, a young light to medium bodied Merlot or Pinot Noir will satisfy any discerning palate.
Stick to simple, fresh whites, such as Colombard or Semillon blends. Or if you need an adventure try a Sparkling Rose low in acid.
A Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling are good here, so long as they are low in acid to serve with a ratatouille, as are a young fresh and vibrant Chardonnay. Young medium bodied red wines with plenty of aromatic fruit and some spicy character are good here, especially Shiraz and Cabernet Blends.
Fresh steamed asparagus, either with butter or hollandaise sauce, is great with Sauvignon Blanc, because of its herbacous and aromatic palate or a moderately fruity or lightly oaked Chardonnay.
Simple unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay / Colombard blends are the best choices with a spinach and parmesan salad or spinach souffle. A fruity Unoaked Merlot could probably handle the spinach as a red alternative; just avoid tannin. For a special occasion serve spinach pancetta with an egg salad, a crack open a bottle of Sparkling White or Rose, depending on your mood.
When made with a array of cheeses that produce strong flavors and a creamy texture, make sure a bottle aged oaked Chardonnay is served. If on the other hand a light sauce is made using cheddar and gruyere cheeses, either a lightly oaked Semillon or Chardonnay pairs well.
Serve Sauvignon Blanc, or a crisp Chardonnay with guacamole, which can be quite spicy. A creamy, garlicky houmous is best served with a crisp, simple white blend, or try an inexpensive Sparkling blend. If your in for the night and are going to serve nachos with a cool salsa dip make sure you investigate the NEW blend from the land down under the Shiraz Viognier, a light blend that takes your taste buds to another level !
Creamy, often garlicky baked aubergine and dip are often served with a cool, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc or a simple Chardonnay. Stuffed aubergine, which is herby, needs a good young red blend, such as a Shiraz, Cabernet and Mourvedre.
Never a hardy, dry red! Any egg based dish is difficult to match up with a wine because the egg can alter the taste perception. A rule of thumb is to use the wines from the area a dish originates from and this makes sense, well sort of. Wines with low acid, fruity, dry white wine will do. If you do prefer a red wine then a light Rose with its fruity bouquet is a good choice for those hearty onion and smoked bacon versions such as quiche Lorraine. But for a culinary adventure, my suggestion is a good Gewürztraminer. It is a unique wine worth tracking down.