Balance is the name of the game when it comes to pairing the right wines with the right foods this festive season. Here’s our handy guide on how to balance the flavour, weight and intensity of your wine with your festive menu:
- Sweet white wines can work really well with salty canapés. For example a sweet Sauternes is delicious with Roquefort cheese or a delicate Champagne is fantastic with pretzels.
- Bitter wines (usually red), which contain a higher level of tannins, are the perfect accompaniments to fatty foods like classic steak, lamb or foie gras. For instance, Ribshack Pinotage-Shiraz is the ideal match for the Roast Loin of Venison included in our Boxing Day Dinner Menu because it has a bold and full-bodied flavour. The tannins in the wine attach to any fat left behind in the mouth, helping it to feel refreshed and clean between mouthfuls.
- Delicate wines, such as Pinot Grigio, Soave and Muscadet are light enough to be paired with shellfish and seafood. However, salmon works better with a stronger, full-bodied Chardonnay because it’s often served with a fatty sauce and accompaniments.
- Try to match your wine with the most prominent element in the dish. Hearty meals tend to work well with richer red wines whereas light snacks are better with delicate white wines.
- Take in the aroma of the wine and look for flavour links that may indicate which dishes it will complement. For example, a dark Cabernet will bring out the richness of a sticky dessert that includes dense currants.
Trusting your taste buds and factoring in your own palette is the most important rule of all; you’re the host of the party and so it’s only fair that you get to choose which wine will be the star of the evening.