Food and wine matching is not a complex science, writes Andrew Corrigan…
Wine can be considered a beverage and food in itself. Think of wine as a seasoning for the food and the need for harmony. Don’t feel that food and wine matching is a complex science! Don’t be bluffed by learned discussion about precise wine and food matches.
Instead regard most food flavours as a good match for wine – assuming some common sense; and avoid the notorious clashes. Match the “size” of the food flavour with the “size” of the wine flavour.
• Light flavoured dishes are best teamed with light flavoured wines;
• Fuller foods require fuller wines.
Here’s some examples:
• Match a light white such as Riesling to fresh prawns.
• If the prawns are to be incorporated into a “cocktail” with avocado, chopped grilled bacon fragments and a creamy mayonnaise dressing, then a slightly richer white might be better – such as a lighter style Chardonnay; although the Riesling would still be okay.
• A plate of hot fast cooked calamari with fresh lemon squeezed on it will team well with a young chilled Riesling, the latter having a crisp freshness yet softness and lightness.
• Acidic foods (pickled food, vinegar dressing) need wines of high acid (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc) otherwise the wine will taste watery. Salt in food cancels acid and bitterness in wine and hence salt is a friend to most wines.
• A soft meat dish such as veal or lamb is best teamed with a lighter red – such as Pinot Noir or a softer Cabernet Merlot.
• A slow cooked hearty meat dish such as beef cheek requires a big hearty red – a rich Shiraz or Durif or Zinfandel.
• Food sweeter than the wine will make the wine taste thin. For sweet food, choose a really sweet wine.
For tips on wine and food procedures, see Andrew’s book at www.tabletalk.net.au