It’s easy when you know how. Master these essential wine-matching facts and become quite the wine buff.
Need to become a wine matching expert in minutes?! Raise your glass to this speedy wine-matching guide.
Last week, I headed along to a wine mis-matching class with Unearthed to experience wine matches that worked... and those that didn't. You definitely learn by your mistakes, and by those winning combinations, so here in a nutshell is how to wine-match:
**1. Match wine to the most dominant flavour in your food**
Delicate flavours like seafood and chicken pair brilliantly with lighter wines, while robust flavours (think roast beef and lamb) go well bold, ballsy wines (chianti, shiraz etc).
**2. Pair fried foods with acidic wines**
Tucking into fish and chips? Open the champagne why don't you. No we're not kidding - when you're eating something fried, a high acidity wine is a great contrast that will cut through the oily nature of the food.
**3. Match acidic foods with an equally acidic wine**
Like attracts like with this one, so if you're going for flavours of tomato, lime or lemon make sure your wine is up to it on the acidity front. Bizarrely the combination of acidities can mellow the overall flavour combination.
**4. Keep things sweet**
If you're onto the dessert course, match your sweet flavours with a wine that is just as sweet. Anything less sugary stands a good chance of jarring the flavour combination.
**5. Do occasionally break the rules...**
...but only in the name of a winning flavour combination. No-one needs to combine fried haddock with a tannin-packed red, in a bid to acquire rebel status. Chances are your mouth won't approve, and your belly won't be too impressed either. (Don't say we didn't warn you).
**1. Don't overpower delicate foods with bold, brash wines**
No-one likes a bragger, and sometimes a full-bodied red has no place alongside an elegant plate of seafood pasta. It would be like Vin Diesel dating Emma Watson. Wrong. Just wrong.
**2. Don't pair oily foods with high tannin wines**
Try high-acidity wines here instead, as they're great at cutting through oily foods giving the flavour combination more balance.
**3. Don't pair spicy food with wine high in alcohol, tannins or oaky flavours**
Acidic wines work really well with spicy foods (which often fall into the oily category too).
**4. Don't forget about regionality**
Generally speaking, what grows together goes together. If you're stuck on which wine to choose, just think about where your dish/ingredients originated. There's your wine-matching clue.
**5. Don't match wine that smells of wet cardboard with anything**
If your wine is giving off a whiff of damp cardboard/mould it's corked. No need to match this bottle with anything, as it's only journey should be straight down the sink.
Nibbles & wine-matching tips
Here are some winning combinations I picked up from Unearthed's wine-matching class:
Wine match: Marco Felluga, Pinot Grigio, Italy, 2013.
Verdict: the buttery flavour of the olives came across beautifully with this Pinot Grigio, which was also a great match for the spice featured with these olives.
Wine match: Birgit Eichinger, Gruner Veltliner Lamm. Austria. 2012.
Verdict: the velvety nose and sweet spice of this glassful matched the flavour of the charcuterie without overwhelming the food.
Wine match: Von Winning, Reisling, Pfalz. 2013.
Verdict: very drinkable alongside the prawns. Again just a great match with no competition on the flavour front.
For more information about Unearthed's tasty nibbles range, visit: http://www.discoverunearthed.com
**Written by:** Helenka Bednar