Festive Food and Wine Matching
Food and wine: two of our absolute favourite things, and the key ingredients to most celebrations. We love them both separately, but when you find a great food and wine match, it can really heighten the enjoyment of both the food and the wine. If you find yourself hosting a few get-togethers this festive season and you’re looking for some guidance on matching wine to your menu, you’ve come to the right place.
The most important thing to remember is, everyone has different palates, and their tolerance to taste will vary. We’ve listed five tips to help you enjoy your food and wine to their full potential.
One: Balance flavours. Flavours can be balanced by using both contrasting and complementary pairings. Pairing a wine and food that have shared flavours, such as an earthy Pinot Noir matched with a mushroom based dish, will create balance by amplifying those shared flavours. Contrasting pairings work well because balance is created by the different elements, for example having a glass of Champagne with oysters; the delicate bubbles and fresh acidity are a clear but pleasant contrast against the saltiness and velvety texture of the oysters.
Two: Pair acid with acid. Acidity in food is generally a good thing when pairing with wine, as it decreases the perception of acidity in wine, and can bring a very high acid wine into balance. However, if your wine only has low acidity, food with high levels of acidity can make wines seem flat, so it’s important to pair high acidity wines with high acidity foods. Pairing a young Hunter Valley Semillon with a dish that has citrus elements like this Kingfish Sashimi would be an ideal match based on the acidity in both.
Three: Pair sweet wine with sweet food, spicy, salty or fatty food. Sweet wine can be balanced by pairing it with a sweet dish, such as a Late Harvest Semillon and pavlova. The sweetness in the pavlova makes the wine seem less sweet and more acidic. Pairing sweet wines with spicy, salty or fatty food also works because the food decreases the perception of sweetness in the wine. Think Thai food matched with an off-dry wine such as Gewürztraminer.
Four: Pair weight with weight. Lightweight foods such as chicken or fish are best paired with delicate wines, like a white or light bodied red, so the flavour compounds in the food aren’t overwhelmed by high tannins and body in the wine. If you’re serving a rich, heavy dish like our Wagyu Beef Cheeks, the flavours would be too overpowering to be paired with a white wine or light bodied red, so you would select a full bodied red that also has robust and hearty flavours, such as a Shiraz.
Five: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Some foods have no ideal pairing, so explore different options. You might find an unorthodox pairing that you love!