Pairing food and wine can be a tricky business. Most of us have been told at some point, white and lighter styles of wine for white meats and seafood, and red and heavier styles of wine for red meats and rich sauces.
However, again this is a personal choice, and you should experiment and see what works for you. Here are some general tips on wines which I believe suit certain foods.
It’s wide open here.
The variety of flavours from subtle to intense and the varying styles means you should pick a wine that’s either in contrast to what you’re eating (without overwhelming the food or being overwhelmed by the flavour of the food), or enhancing the flavour of the meal.
Not really, ok, so white fish, white creamy sauces, cauliflower, roast chicken etc, then white wines like Semillon, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Riesling, Chardonnay.
Salmon, tuna, pork, game meats, red meats, pumpkin rich sauces then anything from Rosé to Durif, Petit Verdot.
Such a variety here – mostly I would say, whatever you choose, pick a wine with delicate or fine flavours.
Rieslings are great, or any soft white style. Pinot Noir, or a lighter style aged red goes well as it reflects some of those soy and savoury flavours in the food.
Champagne or sparkling white wines work for most of these (especially yum cha). Rieslings, both dry and off-dry work well as they cut through any fat or spicy flavours. Sauvignon Blancs, Viogniers and Traminers are good if you’re after a bit more fruit, floral and/or soft flavours from your wine.
If duck or pork is involved then a Pinot Noir can sit well, and even a Sparkling Shiraz if you want something richer and heavier. Chardonnay for some reason never works for me here, but that’s me.
There may be some French styles containing Chardonnay that just squeeze in.
Beer! Craft beer at that but, if you must have a wine, you’re looking for something to cut through the richness of the food, as well as handle the spice and big flavours.
If you want something refreshing, Riesling (if it’s early on and the food is dryer), a fuller bodied Rosé chilled can do the job, as well as your big jammy Shirazes and Cabernet Sauvignons from the Barossa and Coonawarra.
If you’re really brave and want something big, why not try a Durif from Rutherglen.
I think most of your red varieties work well here. Anything from a light Rosé to a big rich full bodied Shiraz or Petit Verdot.
Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and other Italian wines are great depending on the richness of the food and your tannin tolerance (that furry feeling you get on your tongue after swallowing the wine).
Grenache and Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre blends work well with lamb dishes.
If its earlier in the day, or seasonally warmer, then people generally prefer lighter, fresher wines like Champagne and Rosé, however, if you’re having a late BBQ breakfast, or brunch of bacon, eggs, sausages etc, a nicely chilled Sparkling Shiraz wouldn’t go astray.
Conversely, the later in the day, or in the seasonally cooler months, medium to fuller bodied styles come into their own which could be anything from Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon through to Vintage Ports.