Some general rules for food matching!
Food and wine matching is often seen as a bit of dark magic, or a trick of the trade. It’s a fantastic way of enhancing complex flavours of both the drink and food, however it needn’t be tricky. With a few basic rules or guidelines, food and wine pairing could become your latest skill!
Consider the flavour intensity and character across the key pallet components of; weight, acidity, saltiness, bitterness and sweetness of the food. Then the approach the wine with the same intensity
You may have heard the term ‘to marry’. The secret to food and wine tasting is trying to ‘marry up’ and balance the food with the wine.
Ensure one half of the match isn’t overpowering the other.
Those drying tannins that can be little too overpowering when simply drinking red wine disappear when matched to proteins such as red meat. This is a chemical reaction binding the tannins to the proteins and making them appear supple and even sweet
High tannin wines never work with white fish. But lighter reds can be great, especially with flavourful saucing
White wines, or even cider and beer can be easier to match with cheese. I know, controversial but true.
Semi sweet, or even sweet wines can make great matches with highly aromatic food, Think Asian such as Thai or Vietnamese with Rieslings, off dry Pinot Blanc and Chenin Blanc
Acidity give a wine length and drives its finish in the mouth, it is also key to matching with food, either by matching high acid food with high acid wines, or going the other way and having low acid foods with high acidity wines to clear up the flavours and give the food a length to work from. It’s all about experimenting
Never forget the texture food has in the mouth, offsetting certain textures works really well. We often match richer fatty fish such as ocean trout ceviche with modern styles of Chardonnay, these both have a full texture and sweetness that bounces off the stone fruit and gentle oak influence of the wine
Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with seared scallops and fresh herbs. It’s a light and bright canapé that freshens the palette, perfect after a hard day in the office. Try a high acid Riesling, maybe with a touch of sweetness, again refreshing and mouthwatering, lifting the coriander and mint flavours and cutting through the fresh natural butteriness of the scallop.
Thinking of a mushroom risotto? Try matching with Nebbiolo, a perfumed grape that gives sour cherry fruit some earthy notes, violet and roses on the nose and lots of fine tannin and lengthy acidity. It brings out the earthy mushroomy notes, and its tannins disappear with the starch from the rice and protean of the cheese.
Kingfish and ocean trout tartare, with flying fish roe, one of our most popular canapés often gets matched with a Australian Chardonnay. Not too oaky, never too buttery but a chardy with good acidity and gentle mouth grip zings with the raw fish and saltysweet pop of the fish roe
Charry steak or piece of red meat from the barbie? The obvious choice is a bigger Shiraz or Cabernet. They’ll work well, but how about a Spanish style Tempranillo. It has loads of sweet red fruit, some darker savoury edges and can be a little lighter than a Shiraz making it just that bit easier to drink during the day.