Hands up if you have been asked by Lucy as she is pouring you a glass of something at the bar, “what’s for dinner tonight” (usually to decide if she should invite herself over or not!)?
If there is one thing the Moody family enjoys almost as much as good wine, it’s good food. So, you can understand how important it is for them to get the pairing of the two spot on.
From the fiercely debated recipe which Heather and Lucy match to our Jockey Club wines every two months to Heather’s favourite food/wine combination of Chicken, Chips and Chardonnay – it’s serious business.
(…between you and me though, I’m not entirely convinced by the family’s favourite MacDonald’s hamburger/Pinot combination!)
But other than the old red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat rule…
What are the basics of pairing food with wine?
Regional matches provide a template for us to understand more about what’s going on structurally with wine & food pairings. They’re not always perfect, but they’re often a great place to start.
Think Sangiovese (Italy’s most commonly planted grape) with a tomato-based pasta or (as per the picture above) Sauvignon Blanc and goat’s cheese.
As a rule, the wine should be more acidic than the food. Otherwise, it will taste flat. A good example to help visualise this is a glass of oaked chardonnay with a vinaigrette salad. Considering the acid balance is one of the most important considerations in choosing a wine.
High acid wine will also add a range of interesting flavours to a fat heavy dish. There is nothing like a glass of sparkling to cut the fat… like some delicious triple cream brie perhaps?
The wine should be sweeter than the food it is paired with. Sweet loves salty. Think salted caramel (yum!). And when I say sweet, I don’t necessarily just mean sweet dessert wines (although Tawny Port and pretzels are amazing!), just think about the fruit sweetness of the wine you are choosing with your savoury meal.
And by bitter, I mean tannins. Tannic wines (like a nice big red) should be balanced with fat. Here, you need to imagine a nice big juicy steak and a glass of Somerled Shiraz, or Tempranillo and anything cheesy (pizza is my personal favourite!).
Bitter, however, does not go well with more bitter. Now, prepare yourselves. I am about to say something somewhat controversial… this is the primary reason why red wine does not normally pair well with chocolate. I know! I’m probably going to get shot down for that statement, but you can’t argue with science (actually, feel free to in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that one).
Other important tips
- The wines should have the same flavour intensity of the food – this is why red wine normally pairs well with red meat and white wines pairs well with light-flavoured meats like fish and chicken.
- It’s always best to match your wine to the sauce, not the meat
- More often than not, white, sparkling and rose wines will create contrasting pairings. That is flavours with few shared compounds like coconut and lime.
- More often than not, red wines will create congruent pairings. These being pairings with many shared compounds like beef and mushroom.
Let’s look at a real-life example…
Sunday is our next Harvest Lunch at Somerled Cellar Bar. Back by popular demand is Francisco’s delicious Paella paired with a glass of Somerled Tempranillo
During my research for this post, I came across this amazing Food and Wine pairing method poster and decided to give it a try.
The idea is to find the “shared pairing” amongst all the flavours in your meal. I looked up cured meat (for the chorizo), smoked for the preparation, alliums for the vegetable (ie. onion), exotic aromatic spices and rice and came up with… medium red wine! Or a Tempranillo… perfect!
If you’d like to try it for yourself, join us on Sunday from 12.30pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.
This post comes to you with a lot of help from our friends at www.winefolly.com. If you’re enjoying this blog, you should definitely check them out too.