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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Food & Wine Matching

Phil Parker runs Food & Wine tours around Auckland New Zealand

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Food and wine matching can be an area of wine enjoyment where many people get worried about making the wrong choice. Yet there are some food and wine matches where the components work in harmony, and the final experience seems far more than the sum of its parts.
Having said that, if there are any rules about food and wine pairings, the first rule is: drink whatever you prefer. The best wine to go with your food is: the wine that you enjoy.

So, relax. It’s fairly simple: match the intensity of flavour of your wine with that of your food. For example, a blockbuster Aussie Shiraz is likely to overwhelm the subtle flavours of a poached chicken dish. On the other hand, a delicate floral Pinot Gris matches well with a white fish like Terakihi. Each wine has its own floral, fruit, vegetal and other characters which can lead to a foodie marriage made in heaven.
The following are some classic food and wine pairings that have stood the test of time and numerous memorable shared meals.

Asparagus. Any which way – with a drizzle of olive oil, a dab of butter, hollandaise, aioli, a poached egg or even the good old asparagus roll.
Wine match: Sauvignon Blanc Suggestion - Grove Mill Marlborough

Mussels & Scallops.
Mussels - scrubbed, debearded and steamed. Leave in the shell, reduce the cooking stock and add some wine (Sauvignon Blanc) cream, seasonings and spices – paprika or chilli, garlic, chopped parsley and/or coriander.
Scallops - poached in water, wine (Riesling), lime juice and zest, seasonings and a bouquet-garni.
Wine match: Medium Riesling Suggestion – Villa Maria Private Bin

Chicken and Crayfish.
Chicken e.g. Cacciatore – needs a robust chardonnay with plenty of rich toasty oak and creamy flavours.
Crayfish – poached or grilled; not over-sauced but perhaps a beurre-blanc (white wine, shallot and butter sauce).
Wine match: Chardonnay Suggestion – Pegasus Bay

Beef. Burgundy (Pinot Noir) is the traditional match. Use well-aged beef, simply cooked. Roast a topside or fillet steak, served with a jus and seasonal vegetables. Merlot or Pinot Noir are a good match.
Wine match: a sturdy Pinot Noir suggestion – Clayridge Excalibur Marlborough

Lamb. Roast lamb - insert garlic slices and tender tips of rosemary into a leg of spring lamb, and serve with your choice of mixed roast veges and a silver beet salad. Or Lamb Provençale. Bone a leg or shoulder of lamb, and casserole with wine, tomatoes, onions, olives, rosemary, thyme and anchovies. Takes about three hours to cook but is meltingly tender and utterly delicious.
Wine match: Syrah Suggestion – Cottage Block Hawkes Bay

Paté. Makes a perfect match for sweet white wines. Use a good quality shop-bought, or your best homemade chicken liver. The classic French gourmet match in is Pate de Fois Gras (goose liver pate), matched with a sweet Sauternes.
Wine match: Dessert wine Look for a rich Late Harvest or Botrytised dessert Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Semillon, or Chardonnay.
Suggestion – Pegasus Bay Aria Late Harvest Riesling

Desserts. For example – a flan made with caramelised oranges, or
saucy steamed lemon pudding served with cream flavoured with lemon zest and Riesling. These citrussy desserts go well with a light dessert wine which has some residual acidity to balance the sweetness.
Wine match: Selaks Ice Wine blend of freeze concentrated Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

These suggestions are by no means hard and fast – feel free to experiment.
Here’s a few more:

Spicy foods – for the hot and spicy kind, beer is a good match to quench the thirst and the flames. For more delicate Asian foods like Thai and Japanese, Gewürztraminer or a medium Riesling are a good match.

Oysters & Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.

Roast Pork & Gewürztraminer.

Roast Chicken & Pinot Noir.

Venison casserole & Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cheese board & Tawny Port.

Tomato-based pasta sauce & Shiraz.

Bon appetit

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