Red goes with steak, white with fish. Easy right? While this may be tried and true there’s a lot of other wine and food pairings out there for the adventurous palate. We’ve asked the experts and here’s what they recommend to match food with wines for a delicious mix everytime.
3 simple rules to follow
Adam Nicholls quit the busy life to pursue his dream of owning a business specialising in food and wine. His private tour company, Wine Compass, has run over 1000 tours throughout Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley. He gave us 3 simple rules to start matching food and wines:
“There are a lot of complicated rules and differing opinions when it comes to pairing food and wine. For the everyday drinker it’s too hard to remember long lists of complicated rules and matches. But with a few simple rules, you have a rewarding food and wine matching experience
1. Make sure the wine isn’t bigger than than the food, either in flavour or weight. No point in drowning out your food with a too-big wine.
2. Remember that wine has great properties for elevating food: acid cuts through fat and tannin binds with protein, so you can pair based on structure rather than flavour if you like.
3. Of course the simplest rule of all is to match the colour of your wine with the colour of your food. Lighter white wines go with fish and deep reds go with a big, juicy steak for example.”
You can find a whole range of Adam’s tips for wine pairing here, or follow on Facebook and Instagram.
Only fools underestimate champagne
Natalie Pickett is a champagne lover and expert from The Bubbles Review. She shared with us some advice on how to properly match champagne with a meal.
“Champagne as a celebratory drink is well known, however many people don’t realise that champagne is an ideal accompaniment to a full meal, not just for the welcome bubbles. Champagne has an acidity which makes it a perfect palate cleanser and match to many favourite foods.
- Fried foods – perfect with fish and chips
- Creamy foods; egg - which is why a champagne breakfast is perfect way to celebrate a Sunday
- Cheese - especially creamy French cheeses
- Mushrooms, Chicken and Seafood
- A champagne blend using red grapes can also match red meat dishes.
- Stay away from blue cheese, tomato based dishes, and spicy foods as they can fight with the acidity.
- Different styles in Aussie sparklings and Proseccos can be fruitier - try these with Italian style dishes.
Drink bold, be brave
We asked passionate wine educator Virginia Jacobs from Wine Taste Talk to share how she matches wines with her meals.
“It’s more than the meat that matters. When matching food and wine look not only at the meat or protein that you are planning on eating, look also at;
Cooking method: a charry BBQ’d dish will work well with a more robust wine than a poached or steamed dish which would suit a more delicate wine.
Flavours: what spices or sauces are in the dish, tomato olives and anchovies, Middle Eastern, a mild creamy sauce or a fiery curry. Work with the most dominant flavour in the food don’t worry about every ingredient or garnish.
Think about salmon as an example, a poached salmon fillet with a Pinot Gris or the same salmon, pan seared and served with a soy mushroom sauce would pair well with a Pinot Noir.
Be a little daring, what is the worst that can happen? Try an unusual wine match or a wine you have not tried before. Perhaps having a trial run before your guests arrive. Have a back up bottle just in case.
Ask the sommelier or wine waiter for a recommendation. Some restaurants have suggested wines to match the menu, trying these can help you to understand why they work together. It’s all about balance really matching the intensity of the dish to the wine or vice versa if you have a special wine that you would like to drink and need a food match.”
Find out more on Facebook and Instagram.
Tips for your next dinner party
Invest in proper wine accessories
Store your wine properly and it will love you for it. Most wines should be kept at room temperature and in the dark until they’re ready to be opened. Corked bottles should always be stored on their side as storing them upright will dry out the cork and allow air to get in. A wine rack will offer sturdy storage for all your bottles and can easily be hidden in cool, dark areas like under the stairs, a pantry corner or in the garage.
Even when you have the right storage, a bottle that has been sitting idle for too long will be better with some extra TLC. If you have a special wine you’ve been saving consider decanting it an hour or so before your meal. This will separate the sediment from the wine and mean only the smoothest drops reach your glass. It’s also a quick fix for straining out cork if you have an opening accident before the guests arrive! Pass the wine through a sieve into the decanter, then back again into a separate jug. Repeat until the cork is removed and serve in your stylish decanter. It will be our little secret.
Didn’t finish a delicious bottle? Find yourself a wine or champagne stopper and keep the contents fresh for 7-10 more days so you can enjoy it another night. Find everything you need and more in MyDeal home and garden.
A fancy wine doesn’t require a fancy meal
Wine is often deemed a fancy experience, but it’s just as enjoyable in a casual setting. Just because you have a fancy bottle doesn’t mean you have to match it with a 6-course degustation meal. If you want to host a laid-back BBQ or steak night with friends then go ahead. Match your wines using the tips from our experts and take the whole party outside to your deck furniture to keep everyone relaxed.
Armed with all this knowledge we think you’ll be ready to match wines like a pro in no time. If you still feel unsure, check out our beginner’s wine guide with more expert tips.