Fall is upon us and Thanksgiving is this weekend!
Lately, I’ve received a bunch of questions about food and wine pairing: “What goes well with this wine?” or “I’m having roast ham – what wine should I serve?” for example. There are hundreds of books written on this subject but here is some quick and practical guidance on food pairing that you can use as a ‘go to’:
My approach, when asked about food and wine pairing always starts with the same question: “What do you normally like to drink?”
If your answer is something like; “I have favourites but I love to try new things.”, then I’d offer the following 2 principles for pairing:
- Match strength. The sauce or spice that is added to the main course is typically the dominant flavour (ex. Mustard on ham), so the strength of the wine and the dominant flavour in the food is the key consideration. If you are having a simple grilled fish with lemon and herbs, then a lighter styled white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or un-oaked Chardonnay. If you are having beef with a peppercorn sauce, then you need a big bold wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Australian Shiraz or Malbec.
- Think regionality: If you are having a past Bolognese, inspired by the cuisine of north-eastern Italy, pair it with a Valpolicella or Ripasso Valpolicella. If you are grilling steaks and covering them with Chimichurri, then a Argentinian red (Malbec or Cabernet) would be delicious.
If your answer is something like; “I like lighter wines, anything too heavy I can’t drink”, then I’d suggest you keep within that zone of what you know you like. You can still pair wines using the above principles, but stay within you preferred style. Using the examples above, your pasta Bolognese will go wonderfully with a Valpolicella which is lighter than the Ripasso.
Food and wine pairing is more of an exploration than a science, since we all have different tastes. The joy of exploring different pairings is that it often exposes you to new wines or food that you might fall in love with!
Have a great long weekend and stay safe.
Back by popular demand
The Southern Hemisphere Red Showdown mixed case!
3 bottles x 2018 Bodega Toneles Tonel 22 Malbec – Argentina
3 bottles x 2018 Valle Andino Carmenere – Chile
3 bottles x 2017 Franschhoek Landmark Railroad Red – South Africa
3 bottles x 2019 Tall Poppy Hillside Shiraz – Australia
2018 Bodega Toneles Tonel 22 Malbec
A wine with more structure than your average Malbec. Pure, ripe red fruits abound on the nose with a hint of violet. Intense berry, chocolate and sour-cherry together with soft tannins and a long finish. A kiss of American oak makes this well-made wine a crowd pleaser. Ideal for grilled meats, empanadas and pastas.
2018 Valle Andino Carmenere
Pleasant aromas of dark fruit, spice and chocolate. The taste is very soft with good intensity and structure.
Pair with slow roasted meats with root vegetables.
2017 Franschhoek Landmark Railroad Red Shiraz Cab
A red blend with layers of juicy berry fruit, a hint of oak spice, and seamless tannins. The perfect all-rounder – equally quaffable on its own, slightly chilled and when paired with a dizzying variety of dishes.
Shiraz 50%, Cab Sauv40%, Petit Verdot 10%
2019 Tall Poppy Hillside Shiraz
Aromas of blackberry, plum, leather and a hint of vanilla. The taste is dominated by black currant and raspberry fruit with a touch of black pepper and spice. The fresh fruit flavours are complemented by a balance of natural tannins. Ideal accompaniment to red meats, vintage cheeses and pasta.
2018 Domaine Cherrier AOC Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc
Golden yellow with reflects of green. Hints of banana first appear on the nose which then open with intense aromas of citrus zest, peaches and exotic fruits. In the background, floral notes of broom, elder flower and lily appear. Firm attack on the palate, which then allows a good volume mid-palate. Back on aromatic white flowers and tropical fruits. More tense finish.
A fresh tasting wine to enjoy with oysters on the half shell, or as an aperitif.