A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD AND WINE MATCHING 

This is the question that I am asked most, so I have put together a few guidelines and classic combinations. Of course not all dishes are the same, as how foods are cooked and the sauces/spices they are cooked in will affect the wine. Please do ask me for advice, although trial and error with a few bottles open can be quite fun! 

What wine shall I drink with this dish? 

This is the question that I am asked most, so I have put together a few guidelines and classic combinations. Of course not all dishes are the same, as how foods are cooked and the sauces/spices they are cooked in will affect the wine. Please do ask me for advice, although trial and error with a few bottles open can be quite fun! 

Drink what you enjoy 

A wine that you enjoy drinking is more important than any recommendation you might be given. 

Start by thinking about the dish as a whole 

What are its dominant characteristics? 
 
With these in mind; 
 
Keep flavours in balance 
Match subtle foods with subtle wines 
Match citrus dishes with citrus wines 
Match big flavourful foods with big, flavourful wines 
Match the richness of the food and the richness of the wine 

Alternatively challenge and contrast flavours 

For example the higher acidity of Pinot Noir will challenge fatty lamb. 

Wine and spice 

Spice as found in Indian food, can clash or destroy the flavours in the wine. For white try sweeter wine such as an off dry Riesling to contrast. For red, Carmenere pairs well. 

If in doubt… 

Remember that food generally goes best with the wines from the same country. For example, if you’re eating Italian food, then an Italian wine would be a good bet. It’s not a golden rule, but often helps. 

Classic Combinations 

Chardonnay  

Chardonnay is really versatile – clean, crisp styles such as Chablis go well with simple seafood, grilled chicken and salads. Richer Chardonnay works better with cream base sauces as the oak mops up the richness of the dish. 

Riesling  

Riesling is very versatile and isn’t afraid of sweetness – off dry styles are lovely with spicy food. Sweeter styles match fruit-based deserts best. 

Sauvignon Blanc  

Sauvignon Blanc’s fresh flavour lends itself to salads and seafood. It’s happy beside goats cheese and asparagus too. 

Viognier  

Viognier is a brash variety with intense flavours of apricots, peach and the natural low acidity. It easily stands up to gusty food like pork loin with apricots stuffing, chicken Kiev or spice laden food 

Rose  

Rose is simply a marriage made in heaven with salmon and cold cuts. 

Cabernet Sauvignon  

At its best with beef or venison – the intense fruit matches full flavoured meat. 

Malbec  

Malbec’s rustic flavours mean that sophisticated food is out and gutsy dishes in. Think sausages, steaks off the barbecue or a classic casserole. 

Merlot  

Merlot and lamb are great friends – the sweetness of the meat picking up the sweet flavours of the wine. Also works well with simple pizza or pasta. 

Pinot Noir  

Pinot Noir’s red fruit flavours, gentle nature and high acidity cuts through the fatness of the lamb. It’s also a great partner to all sorts of poultry, especially duck 

Shiraz/Syrah  

Elegant Syrah with it peppery flavour is great with spicy dishes like Moroccan lamb. Bolder Shiraz is best with bold red meats, especially beef. 

Tempranillo/Rioja  

Tempranillo is a medium weight variety but it’s concentration of black fruit make it a really food friendly lamb match 
You may well have your own favourite combinations and I would love to know what they are as the world of wine is a constant journey of discovery. 
 
Email your favourite combinations to rodney@rodneyhoggwines.co.uk 
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