Baffled by the wine list? Here’s Andrew Corrigan’s tips for choosing the best drops to accompany a meal out.

Dining in a restaurant where there is a great accompanying wine is a pleasure.

To ensure choosing a drink is also a pleasure the wine list should be easy to read. Bottles should be grouped in food matching styles working from lighter fresher dry whites through richer whites into light reds, heavy reds, sweet wines and so on.

When choosing a drink to go with your meal, select wines based on grape variety and don’t worry too much about the brand or too-precise food matching. Often just a general match to the food will work well.

Start by trying a light white with light foods and a richer drop with fuller flavoured food.

Here are some common matches

  • Riesling or Sauvignon with oysters and salads
  • Pinot Noir with chicken and duck
  • Shiraz with lamb and Cabernet with beef

Wines that complement food are lighter and drier in style and don’t clash with food. These are good examples:

1. Ad Hoc Straw Man Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010, WA
Fresh light style, great with fresh seafood and light dishes. RRP$19.80.

2. Chalk Hill Barbera 2010, McLaren Vale, SA
Barbera is Italy’s answer to Pinot Noir and it is a new variety to watch in Australia. It delivers medium-bodied, succulent cherry flavours and is great with antipasto and light barbecued dishes. RRP$25.

3. Cirillo The Vincent Grenache 2011, Barossa Valley, SA
A bigger red but not as overpowering as most South Australian Shiraz. A spicy berry character teams well with lamb and casserole chook dishes. RRP$18. Andrew Corrigan is a Master of Wine.

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