Australian Wine Pairing with Food
We believe wine appreciation is uniquely personal as tastes and preferences are as varied as people. There are no good or bad wines, just different types of wine. Really, it's about buying and drinking the style of wine you like. There's no point in drinking wine you've been told is good if you just don't like it. Also, the wine you are drinking should complement and enhance the food you are eating.
Here are some suggestions to assist you in matching the main characteristic of foods to our delicious Australian wines. Or for quick reference, go to our Wine & Food Pairing Table.
Medium to Full Bodied Red Wines
Rich foods such as red meat roasts of ribeye, lamb, game and heavy stews need a medium to full bodied red wine to balance the power of the meal. Medium to full-bodied wines are often associated with higher levels of tannin. Basically, tannin is the taste in wine that is often felt on the teeth and tongue and makes the mouth feel dry. Tannin can come from many sources but mostly from the grape skins themselves and the oak barrels used for aging the wine.
High levels of tannin counter the high levels of protein in these types of food dishes to soften it and ease digestion. Tannin also enables the wine to be aged for extended periods of time. As red wines mature tannin forms sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Decanting to let the wine breathe ahead of serving is a good idea for tannic wines.
Light Bodied Red and White Wines
Lighter foods of white meat like chicken, pork or fish need a delicate red or white wine to complement the meal. Light bodied red and white wines are often associated with higher levels of acidity. Most of the acid will be tartaric. Acids give crispness, brightness and in particular, the thirst-quenching qualities to wines. Acidity in wine comes from the grapes themselves and like tannin is a desirable and essential property in wines.
High levels of acidity are a great match for white meat and fish as the acids react with the oils in the foods to balance the affect. As you expect red wines to have considerable differences in body of light to full, there are also large variations in white wines. Consequently, care should be taken when pairing white wines with food.
There are many permutations in wines, each with different levels of acidity and tannin. This multitude of diversity ensures endless possible combinations of food and wine pairings.
If you choose a wine that complements your meal and brings out the best in the food’s flavors, your dining experience will certainly be enhanced and enjoyable.
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Some Guidelines to Help You Make More Appropriate Choices.
Pair wines and foods of similar flavors - Similar food and wine flavors obviously complement each other eg. light white fish like Sole with a lemon sauce and a Sauvignon Blanc both have citrus flavors.
Pair wines and foods with similar weight or texture - Similarly weighted food and wine balance each other. Food and wine can be light, medium or heavy-bodied. Creamy chicken dishes and Chardonnay are both medium-weight and rich so they complement each other.
Pair wines and foods with similar sweetness - It’s preferable for the wine to be equal to or higher in sugar than the dish. Turkey or roasted pork with apple sauce pairs beautifully with Semillon, Sem Sauv Blanc, or Verdelho.
Salt - Crisp wines balance salty flavors. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc balances salty olives and feta cheese.
Sauces - Choose the wine to the sauce served.
* Light citrus sauces complement a Sauvignon Blanc and light or Unwooded Chardonnay.
* Heavy cream and mushroom sauces are great with full bodied Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
* Rich, red and meat sauces match Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and of course, Shiraz.
Protein - Match wine to meat, fish or poultry when serving without a sauce. Pinot Noir tastes great with duck.
Spicy Food - Sweeter wines offer relief from spicy foods. Semillon, Verdelho and Rosé pairs well with Asian foods. And of course, don’t forget our great Australian sparkling wines. Try Sparkling Shiraz (or sparkling Syrah as it known in the US) or a bright Blanc de Blanc or Sparkling Rose.
Tannins - Tannic wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon cut through the coating that fat leaves in the mouth. Cabernet Sauvignon is terrific with steaks and lamb.
Acid - Wine should be equal to, or higher in acid than the dish. A perfect example is pairing Pinot Noir with a tomato salsa or tomato based sauce.
For a quick reference, go to our Wine & Food Pairing Table.
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