When it comes to food and wine pairings, most of us aren’t that well educated. But there are some experts like Australia’s first full-time wine educator Christine Ricketts who can provide some advice for those of us who are less informed. She provided some valuable insight in a post on News.com.au.
Ricketts, a Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualified teacher trains 700 people a year in all levels of wine.
She says a common mistake is that people assume all Sauvignon Blancs go with any type of food because it is a wine that is drunk all the time or that high alcohol red wines go with spicy foods. She says these are 2 of the worst matches.
According to Ricketts, pairing your meal with the right wine really heightens the flavours of both and the wrong pairings can bring out the worst characteristics in both the food and wine.
She goes on mention that her perfect food and wine match is sparkling shiraz with gorgonzola (cheese) and a drizzle of truffle honey over it.
These are some of the pairings she says we should stay away from,
- Sauvignon Blanc & blue cheese
The sharp flavours of a mouldy blue cheese when paired with the pungent flavours of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can make the wine taste more tart than it really is. Instead, enjoy blue cheese with a glass of Champagne, and when it comes to cheese, Sauvignon Blanc and goat’s cheese is considered a match in wine and food heaven.
- Champagne and Chocolate
The sweetness of the milk chocolate brings out the acidic taste of champagne. Dark chocolate brings out the bitterness of the champagne which can be unpleasant.
- Riesling and Steak
When paired with big proteins, white wine that is as delicate as Riesling can be overpowered. A Shiraz would be a better choice because it is more muscular and the tannins bind to the proteins and salt in the red meat, softening the tannins in the wine.
- Barossa Shiraz and Spicy Food
The heat of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache doesn’t go well with spicy food. She suggests a crisp Aussie Riesling instead.
- Mataro and Seafood
Avoid having bold red wines, like Mataro or Cabernet Sauvignon, with lighter seafood dishes and light fish like oysters, sashimi and scallops. The tiny amounts of iron in red wine latch onto the fish oils and stick to the palates, causing a fishy, metallic aftertaste. Enjoy with a crisp rosé instead.
Other not so desirable pairings include green salad and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Chardonnay and mackerel which has an overpowering and almost greasy impact.