Food & Wine Tips

Tip 1 - Flavour

Think: what are the dominant flavours in my dish?
 
Hint: it’s not usually ‘chicken’ or ‘pasta’, as most wine labels will have you believe. It may be the tikka massala sauce, the mushrooms, the fruit, even the herbs, the chilli, the side order – or the ketchup!
 
Action: find a wine that works with those dominant flavours. Eg with chicken tikka massala, you need a wine that works well with spice, tangy tomatoes and creamy richness – aromatic off-dry whites work well, among others.

 

Tip 2 - Weight
 

Weight in this sense means how heavy the food or dish is. This is different to how flavoursome it is.
 
For example -
 
  • Rice is heavy but doesn’t have much flavour, green peppers are full of flavour but not especially heavy.
  •  
  • Delicate dishes or ingredients (eg fresh shellfish) work well with lighter styles of wine (eg Muscadet, young Chablis).
  •  
  • Heavier dishes need fuller-bodied, more powerful wines.
Tip 3 - If in doubt, stay local
 

It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but if a dish has a particularly regional feel to it, one of the first and best
places to look for a wine match is in the same area.
 
Boeuf bourgignon and red Burgundy. Lamb and Rioja. Oysters and Muscadet. Truffles and Barolo.
 
It even works further afield – green-lipped mussels with Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.
 

 

Tip 4 - Sweeter is better
 

When it comes to sweet food, don’t try to be clever.
 
Always choose a wine that is as sweet as, or just slightly sweeter than the dish. Otherwise it makes the wine taste sour.
 
But remember that many so-called savoury dishes can have a fair bit of sweetness to them – just as many so-called dry wines can have a bit of richness to them. Even in these cases, though, the rule still holds.