Several books have been written on the subject of matching food and wine, and yet many people, even those who enjoy wine with their meals often fail to pay enough attention to their choices. It is true that most food can be enjoyed with any type of wine, yet the secret is to match both so that they enhance the enjoyment of each other.
In that sense, some food and wine matches are made in heaven, while others simply clash. If you try to match artichokes with wine you will understand how both clash and the taste of both suffers. Ditto for eggs and asparagus. On the other hand, a sautéed monkey fish goes well with a light pinot noir or you can select a full bodied un-oaked chardonnay or a white Cotes du Rhone made by blending rousanne and viognier, or a monovarietal viognier.
In matching food with wine; the intensity of taste of the main ingredient is important, as is the method of preparation. A poached salmon tastes completely different to a planked – or BBQ salmon. Take halibut in a ginger broth with baby beets and crème fraiche. Here a racy gruner veltliner from Austria would offset nicely the sweetness of the food. Baked mackerel has a strong and pronounced fish taste, and so a red wine, even a light red wine would clash, but a pan-fried swordfish with a pinot noir is fine.
Grilled scallops and pinot blanc from Alsace are proven winners, and so are oysters on the half shell with dry chenin blanc, dry Riesling or Chablis.
On the other hand, lobster preparations benefit greatly from full bodied, minerally chardonnays from Burgundy, Ontario, Carneros in California, Chardonnay from Tasmania, or Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia.
Fish and crustaceans generally go well with fruity, light white wines. For smoked salmon, try dry champagne or an Alsatian pinot blanc, and see how a match made in heaven works. If you happen not to like wine, but love smoked salmon, try a single malt Scotch whisky.
Cabernet sauvignon and/or Bordeaux blends, and merlot from Washington State or California complement lamb, beef, or even game specialties pending on their preparation. Sushi and sashimi have become the preferred food young professionals. Some claim green tea is the best, but beer and sake complement both quite well. If you like to try wine try off-dry Alsatian wines. If you are looking for a wine match, try a dry Montilla-Moriles from Spain or a Prosecco di Valdobbiadene from northern Italy.
Dry Riesling also goes well with sushi. Here are a few food and wine suggestions you may want to try Sauteed foie gras d’oie – Sauternes or a Late Harvest Riesling or off dry Alsatian gewürztraminer Roast leg or grilled lamb, Medoc red wines. Soft and creamy cheeses and dry white wines from the Loire, Ontario, New Zealand are proved matches. A perfect match is goat cheese and dry sauvignon blanc from New Zedaland, particularly those from Marlborough. Pastas with tomato sauce require acid-driven European wines. (A light Valpolicella or Beaujolais goes well or fettucine with a light Chianti.
Generally, local European specialties and wines are good matches.
Thai food demands acid-driven wines, creamy, buttery, sauced seafood cries for fruity, balanced chardonnay that has not been barrel aged for too long, or dry riesling. If you like rare-cooked steaks, try cabernet sauvignon, but pepper steak demands a strong red Cotes du Rhone as do game stews.
Glazed pork goes best with an off-dry wine. Roast turkey can be paired with a light red wine i.e Valpolicella, Beaujolais, pinot noir from Burgundy, or Oregon, or Tasmania or Yarra Valley both in Australia, cabernet franc from the Loire Valley or a full bodied white from Australia or California.
For those who like desserts, fruit salads sweet Riesling, or berry wines (strawberry, cherry, raspberry, blueberry) are recommended.
If you happen to like cheese- or carrot cake, try a late harvest riesling from either Ontario, or Germany, or Austria, or a Tokaj (two or three puttonyos) from Hungary.
Chocolate lovers will be satisfied with young ruby ports, and those who prefer milk chocolate, icewines. Blue cheeses and Sauternes, or late harvest or icewines go wonderfully together.
Sweet foods make dry wine taste bitter, because of the tannins are emphasised and fruit flavours masked.
Acid foods make a wine taste flat and dull, because the acid is masked.
Bitter foods mask wine taste off, they overpower fruit flavours.
Spicy foods make wine taste bitter, because spices emphasise tannins.
Creamy chardonnay and crab, boiled or in crab cakes, are fine.
Earthy pinot noir and sautéed mushrooms are excellent match.
Fruity merlot and roasted lamb complement each other.
Late harvest wines, sweet ports and sherries with desserts are proven successes.
Serve off dry wines with foods containing chillies.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.