Pairing wine with food for a perfect dining experience

Finding a wine to complement a meal is not so difficult. The basic rule of white wine with fish and white meat and red wine with red meat is a reliable place to start. Here are some more tips to make pairing easy.

 

Pairing wine with food for a perfect dining experience

Red Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon

A grape prominent in Bordeaux and New World wines.

Description: Has a distinctive and emphatic taste, with high tannin levels and flavours of oak, that's too strong for delicate foods.

Pairs with: Poultry, roast beef, roast lamb, kidneys, mature hard cheeses

Merlot

The most widely used red wine grape in Bordeaux, now grown around the world.

Description: Ripe, smooth and more adaptable than cabernet sauvignon.

Pairs with: Calves' liver, grilled steaks, stews

Syrah/Shyraz

Widely used in the Rhône Valley, California and Australia.

Description: Has flavours of blackcurrant, black pepper and spice.

Pairs with: Steak, roast beef, wild game, meat stews, mushrooms, Mexican chilli, chargrilled food

Pinot Noir

An elegant grape, but challenging to grow and rarely used in blends.

Description: Has soft tannins, shades of cherry, strawberry plum and leaf tea.

Pairs with: Salmon, tuna, venison, duck, baked ham, goose

Barbera

Italy's third-most-planted red grape, also popular in California.

Description: Cheap and cheerful, juicy and fruity: perfect with Italian food.

Pairs with: Pizza, tomato and meat pasta, salami

Gamay

French grape used in Beaujolais, but also in parts of Burgundy and California.

Description: Best drunk as a young wine, which is light and summery.

Pairs with: Cold meats, mushrooms

White wines

Chardonnay

Originated in Burgundy and used in Chablis. The most widely planted white wine grape in the world.

Description: Dry, rich, honeyed, sometimes oaky, though unoaked wines are available.

Pairs with: Omelette, fish, chicken, shellfish, mild game, coconut curries

Sémillion

The major white-wine grape of Bordeaux. Also grown in Chile, Argentina, California and Australia.

Description: Strong notes of date or fig. Often blended with Sauvignon. Sweet Sauternes and Barsac are made from overripe Sémillon.

Dry Sémillon pairs with: fish, shellfish, pork.

Sweet Sémillon pairs with: blue cheese, mature hard cheese, creamy puddings

Sauvignon blanc

Originated in the Loire valley. Popular around the world.

Description: Makes light-to-medium-bodied white that pairs with a ride range of flavours.

Pairs with: Goat's cheese, asparagus, seafood, Thai food

Riesling

Classic grape from the Rhine and Mosel in Germany, Alsace in France and also popular in Australia.

Description: Light, aromatic and with a steely acidity; very flexible for pairing with food.

Pairs with: Fish, pork, shellfish, omelette, duck, goose, sushi

Pinot Grigio

Widely grown in the Venezia and Alto-Adige regions of Italy, and increasingly popular.

Description: Crisp and bone dry with an acidic bite, versatile for drinking on its own or with food.

Pairs with: Light and creamy pasta dishes, pork, vegetable ravioli, pâtés

Pairing the right wine with your meal is a great way to enhance your dining experience. It's alright to play around and experiment with your pairings as all tastes are subjective.

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