Selecting a wine to go with the meal can be a little difficult because while no dinner has ever been ruined with the “wrong” wine, a glass of good wine can enhance your meal to perfection.
There is no written rule on matching food and wine because it’s eventually a matter of individual personal taste. Still, the best food and wine pairings create a balance between the components of a dish and the characteristics of a wine. At Fraser’s Restaurant, we know which wine complements your food, so we’re here today with some essential tips on how to pair great wine with great food.
Golden rules of food and wine pairing:
Your wine should enhance or complement the dish.
A reasonable starting point is comprehending the distinction between complementary or congruent pairings.
Complementary pairing simply means choosing a wine that parallels or balances some of the taste profiles in a pleasing proportion – consider a soft cheese with a good acidic Pinot G.
The second means selecting a wine that helps boost the flavours of both the food and the wine – in different words, emphasising the spice in a curry with the delicious spice notes in a cool climate McLaren vale wine.
The acidity of the food and the wine matters.
High acid wines blend well with the basic acidity in food, with a crispy white paired with a salad combined with a zingy vinaigrette is a good example.
Did you know? Acid also balances fat, so beer-battered fish and chips are best served with a savoury white wine like Pinot Grigio, Riesling or a Classic White Blend. Commonly speaking, you want the wine to be additionally acidic than your meal. However, be mindful with anything creamy; nevertheless – a rich, creamy sauce will tend to clash with wines that show higher acidity.
FYI, your wine should be as sweet as your food.
When we talk about the sweeter side of things, it’s generally suggested to serve wine that is at least as sweet – or maybe sweeter – than the food being served. If you’re looking for wines to enjoy with dessert – a dessert that’s sweeter than your wine will make the drink taste dull and dilute its character.
Wines with some fizzes such as Moscato or sweeter-style Prosecco can also be excellent with fruit-based desserts, or even the traditional combination of melon and prosciutto enjoyed with a bit of an antipasto spread.
What wines are great in general?
Oddly enough, if you have no clue what’s on the menu, one of the best wines to bring is a glass of fantastic champagne or sparkling wine. You’d be surprised how many dishes pair well with it. Our most recent sparkling wine and food pairing surprise was sushi – the two go great together!
Sparkling wines are a fantastic way to put on a show of elegance. They also combine tremendously with an aperitif to get your dinner party rolling since they are a great party and conversation starter and will help your guests’ appetites go. Champagne should top your shopping list if you’re buying wines for a party, but if you think champagne is cliché, you could always go for Presseco for a change.
If you are not in the mood to have champagne, try bringing a wine that everyone can drink before dinner starts. You don’t have to stress getting a wine that will not pair well with a particular dish. You have a couple of options here:
Are there any Chardonnay lovers here? If you are, then you most likely know how this wine tastes perfectly with white meat. If you’re cooking pork, chicken, and fish, try combining these dishes with a chilled bottle of Chenin Blanc. Also, Pinot Grigio is a light, dry wine that will go seamlessly with green steamed, sauteed, or roasted vegetables.
Sweet white wine is excellent as an appetiser complement. Sweet options go well with savoury appetisers and sweet, fruity options alike. Don’t doublethink about trying Moscato with soft cheese and molluscs, too. If Moscato isn’t your thing — or wine for that matter — you could settle for Savinnieres, which works well with roasted asparagus, and is often the most common drink at Fraser’s Restaurant and treasury wine estates.
When you’re settling down for your main course, you can only choose a red. What’s more? Red wine pairs well with red meat. While it might seem that the whole colour-matching idea is outrageous, it’s actually true.
Wine aficionados quickly recommend Cabernet Sauvignon as the best red wine for dinner get-togethers since it’s light-to-medium. Merlot, which is a medium red, tastes well with both red and white meat, more specifically chicken. If you want your guests to take small bites of something to conclude your dinner party, you can have a Pinot Noir bottle near a charcuterie board with tender meats and cheeses.
It is essential to know the difference between these wines when pairing them with food and buying wine for someone who prefers one. Pairing food with the wrong wine can often worsen both the food and the wine taste, making us understand “what you like is what you like.” If you don’t know your choice, give them a try and see what you like!
There is a great thing about wine; even the best wine experts will tell you they still have much to learn about wines every day. So, get out there and get your “wine-on” (responsibly, of course)!