Wondering whether to pair that Wagyu steak with a bold Shiraz or a cheap goon? The world of pairing wine and food is complicated, fun and very rewarding, adding another dimension to your culinary and drinking experience. To get to the bottom of some basic partner wins, we tapped Master Sommelier and Co-Founder of Good Pair Days, Banjo Harris Plane, for his tips.
Italian and Pizza
The acid in tomato-based sauces go perfectly with the zing and red-fruit flavours of a Sangiovese.
The many and varied spices used in Indian cooking can seem to be a challenge at first, but are actually a wonderful pairing with the clove and white pepper hit of Grenache. If white wine is more your thing, try some Pinot Blanc or richer Pinot Gris to tame the heat.
It’s all about purity and finding clean flavours to marry with the elegance and freshness of Japanese cuisine. Try unoaked Chardonnay (Chablis), dry Riesling and light sparkling wines.
Thai and Vietnamese
We're full-on exotic here, with lime juice, chilli and aromatic ingredients galore. If you enjoy it then the best match (in our humble opinion) is an off-dry Riesling. The gentle sweetness will tame the chilli and marry wonderfully with the full flavours. Otherwise try Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer or a light Pinot Noir.
Again, a no-holds-barred flavour fest, so Pinot Noir can be a great option for poultry and things like Beef with Black Bean. We also love Nero d'Avola. If you're in the mood for white, then Gruner Veltliner and Vermentino both have enough zing to work well.
Burgers and BBQ
The Sicilian marvel that is Nero d'Avola is going to work really well here, with it's soft texture and bright fruit flavours, but Dolcetto and medium-bodied Syrah are also great options to work with the charriness. If it's heavy duty meat, then Malbec should get the call-up.
Plenty of scope here, depending on how the seafood is cooked. Luxurious items call for richer Chardonnay or Fiano, whilst lean and fresh bits (sashimi especially) marry up with lighter Rieslings, Albarino and Semillon.
Luckily the world gives us a full range of dessert wines. Moscato with fruit-based desserts, port or Pedro Ximenez sherry with chocolate and traditional sweet wines with pastries, puddings and cream.
Full flavoured dishes that will love the acidity that Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc bring, or if you need a glass of red, perhaps the freshness of Barbera or Gamay. Lots of scope to experiment here, but nothing too heavy.
Spice without heat is common in middle eastern cuisines, so a Grenache will work well, as it does with Indian food. More medium-bodied Tempranillo will also be a great match. If in white territory, then Viognier or Vermentino can both work.
Freshness and a hit of salinity are what we're working with here, so look to Albarino, Vermentino or Chenin Blanc. Medium-bodied Mourvedre or Barbera can also work with meatier dishes.
Lots of variety here, so keep an open mind, but Shiraz and Cabernet Franc and the lighter end of the Malbec spectrum can all work well. If in a white wine mood, look to Pinot Grigio or Albarino for freshness.
To find out more about pairing the correct wine with your delicacy of choice or more importantly, how to find the perfect glass of wine for you, visit the Good Pair Days website to learn more.