Food and wine go hand in hand, and according to Christine Ricketts, Cellar Director at Australia’s leading direct-to-consumer wine retailer Cellarmasters, it’s worth knowing what wine goes best with which food.
“When you pair your meal with the right wine, it really heightens the flavours of both the food and the wine itself,” she explains. “The simple rule is that white wines tend to pair better with lighter foods such as veggies, chicken or fish, while red wine needs protein like meat.”
Here, Christine lists her favourite wine and food pairings – take note!
Riesling & scallops
Originally from famed Rhine region of Germany, Riesling has historically been made as a sweeter wine. However, Australian winemakers have been making this white wine into a dry, crisp style which has started to gather world-wide recognition. An Eden Valley or Clare Valley Riesling is characterised by pronounced acidity and citrus fruit, which is why this delicate white wine pairs perfectly with scallops or other light seafood styles like sashimi and shellfish. Wine recommendation: Mockingbird Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2017
Shiraz & Steak
Shiraz wines from warm climates like the Barossa or McLaren Vale are made from rich, ripe fruit with a sweetness to them, which makes them the perfect accompaniment to a steak. The generous fruit flavours of a warm climate Shiraz will balance the saltiness of the meat, while the spiciness of the wine add complex flavours to the pairing. Try out this customer favourite Chargrilled Pepper Steak recipe for inspiration. Wine recommendation: Cat Amongst The Pigeons Alley Cat Barossa Shiraz 2016
Sangiovese & Pizza
Sangiovese is Italy’s most popular grape, and you can can expect firm tannins and flavours of plum, cherry and sour cherry in this overall food-friendly, red wine. The fruit-forward flavours in the wine will balance the savouriness of the pizza toppings, while the high acidity in the wine pairs beautifully with the pizza’s tomato base and cuts through the cheese. Wine recommendation: Stefano De Pieri Di Qualita Sangiovese 2016
Pinot Noir & Duck
This is a match made in food heaven, and one of the most successful combinations is Peking Duck served with delicate, ethereal Pinot Noir. The sweet, rich dark meat of the duck comes to life with the cherry, strawberry and wood smoke flavours of a cool-climate Pinot Noir. The acid in the wine helps cut through the fat of the duck skin, while the savoury forest floor and mushroom-like characters in the wine help carry the savoury, soft spice flavours of the marinated duck skin and tender roasted meat. Wine recommendation: Dovetail Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2017
Rosé wine & pork
Salty, flavourful grilled pork and even pork sausages have found the perfect match in a dry Rosé, as the acidity of the wine balances the meaty, fatty flavours and elevate the essences of the meat. If you are having ham, the crisp, tangy berry flavours of the wine work a treat with the meat, and as a bonus, the vibrant pink colour complements the ham. Take a look at this delicious Japanese Pork Spag Bol for another take on this pairing. Wine recommendation: Blood Brother Republic Mclaren Vale Rosé 2017
Cabernet Sauvignon & Lamb roast
The deep, intense colour rich fruit flavour and firm tannin structure of Cabernet matches well with the richness and texture of lamb. The mint and herb flavours of a Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly from the Coonawarra region in South Australia, is the ultimate pairing with lamb - especially if you’re serving the meat with a traditional mint sauce. Wine recommendation: The Ridge Terra Rossa Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Chardonnay & Chicken
Chadonnay and chicken is a tried-and-tested combination and considered one of the best food and wine pairings in the world – but just make sure to choose the right style of Chardy to go with your food. For a rich roast chicken, consider an oaked Chardonnay with richer, butterscotch and toasty characters behind the natural peach, melon and tropical fruit flavours. For lighter, fresher chicken dishes, try a lighter style Chardonnay made with little or no oak contact, which highlights the bright nectarine, white peach and citrus characters of the grape. Wine recommendation: Miles From Nowhere Margaret River Chardonnay 2016
Sauvignon Blanc & Goat’s cheese salad
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a fruit driven wine, and Goat’s Cheese is a classic match. The zippy acidity in the wine matches the acidity in the cheese, resulting in a fresh and invigorating pairing. Wine recommendation: Three Ducks Flying Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Champagne & cheese
Champagne is the ultimate wine to enjoy with cheese, as its carbonation helps break down the coating of butterfat that cheese leaves on the palate, reducing clashes and leaving a clean taste in the mouth. Champagne’s ample acidity and toasty, nutty flavors complement most cheeses, ranging from fresh to aged. Wine recommendation: Pol Roger Brut Réserve Champagne NV
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