As the festive season creeps ever closer we know that lots of you will be starting to plan drinks and dinner parties to celebrate with your friends and family. Putting together your menu and choosing the best accompanying wines is not the easiest of tasks but there are a few very simple rules to follow that should help you achieve perfection …
Balance, Balance, Balance
The main principle of food and wine pairing is to balance the flavours so that neither the dish nor the wine is overpowering the palate. Majority of the time we are looking for the flavours to compliment each other and only on rare occasions do we want to contrast. Recognise the dominant flavours of each dish and pick a wine with the same characteristics.
From our menu: Beef fillet and braised ox cheek with celeriac mousse, salt baked carrots and potato galette; served with Chateau de Francs, Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon : Merlot).
Acidity & Tannins
Wines with higher levels of acidity and/or tannin complement fatty foods extremely well. Grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon will cut through the fat in meats such as duck and lamb, cleansing the palate and leaving you ready for your next delicious mouthful.
From our menu: BBQ smoked pork shoulder with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans; served with Esporão “Assobio”, Douro (Touriga Nacional: Tinta Roriz: Touriga Franca).
Sweetness & Salt
A general rule of thumb is that the wine should always be sweeter than the food; if you pair a dry wine with with a slightly sweet dish it will seem over-acidic and very tart which will be rather unpleasant. Salty foods are greatly enhanced by sweet wines so serving dessert wine with strong cheeses works extremely well.
From our menu: Roasted fig and goats cheese tart; served with Chateau Pesquié, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venice.