Top Tips on Pairing Wine and Food

01 Jun, 2015

Hosting a dinner party can be a stressful ordeal. There’s no doubt it’s fun to get your family and friends together for some wining and dining, but when the success of the event is on your shoulders it can feel like more of a burden than a joy. There are, however, plenty of great ways to liven up your evening and give it a special feel, and one of the best choices is to make some interesting wine selections to pair alongside your dishes.

So if you’re thinking of having people round for dinner, here are some fun wine pairings to consider.

1. English Sparkling Wine

The growing fame of this bubbly drink is beginning to rival its famous sibling from across the Channel, and though English Sparkling Wine may not have the historic name of Champagne, it certainly does have a refreshingly light taste. You can pick up very reasonably prices bottles of English sparkling at retailers like Tesco.

For pairing, you can consider a few options, but the best ideas are the traditional mix of “fiz-and-fish”, or a variety of other seafood, such as crab, scallops, or prawns.

2. Torrontés

Produced solely in the elevated valleys of Argentina, this white wine has citric hints of lime and lemon, notes of jasmine, and a spicy but refreshing finish. It is a greatly versatile wine that can be paired up with a number of cuisines, but if you’re looking for something authentic, than why not pair it with a favourite starter from its home country, the sweetbreads and fatty cuts of chorizo served fresh off the grill.

3. Chianti

One of the classic Italian wines, it wasn’t that long ago that it was considered less superior to some of its neighbouring regions. But since new standards of perfection were put in place by the DOCG in 1984, Chianti has been producing some of Italy’s best wine. Your pairing options depend on the type of Chianti you get.

A plain Chianti is a perfect match for a charcuterie table, while a Chianti Classico mixes great with a risotto or creamy dish. For a favourite pairing of the region, however, the Chianti Classico Riserva must be served alongside Bistecca Fiorentina, a chargrilled T-bone steak.

4. Pinot Noir

This slightly sweet red wine, with notes of berry and fruit, is a favourite of many regions from across the world, but for an ultimate pairing, try a New Zealand Pinot Noir with the country’s famous rack of lamb. There will be nothing quite so decadent and sumptuous as this wonderful mixture of flavours, which are derived from the same terroir.

5. Port

This after-dinner favourite can be served on its own or alongside a delicious dessert. Try serving a Vintage Port with a rich and chocolaty dish, or drizzle some White Port on sorbet to give it some extra kick. Either one is a great choice to cap-off your meal.

So remember, just because it takes a little preparation, doesn’t mean that you can’t pull-off the ultimate dinner party—after all, your wine pairings are already set.

Please feel free to give us your own wine and food pairing tips in the comments below.

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