Serving a favourite wine with good food is the classic way to anyone’s heart—and a little know-how will kindle admiration, too. Experts tell us it’s important to know when to either contrast the flavours, or complement them.
“For this reason, shoppers need more precise information about the characteristics of the wine before the purchase,” says Jaime Moore, a brand manager at the Australian vintner, Lindeman’s. “Our entire Bin line is now updated with useful details of that kind.”
On the label of the Bin 65 Chardonnay for example, the local winemaker, Wayne Falkenberg, tells the shopper that this particular vintage “combines flavours of peach and melon with a soft, smooth finish. The palate is soft and smooth with gentle oak influence and cleansing acidity, creating a crisp yet lengthy finish. The nose shows citrus fruit aromas, stone fruit notes and subtle hints of integrated spicy oak.”
Take a look at these pairing tips, courtesy of Lindeman’s, starting with matches to avoid. Everyone’s taste is different, says Moore, but generally:
• Red wine with fish: due to the tannins in red wine, its flavour with fish may turn metallic. Some lighter reds might work, but generally stick to white wine for a guaranteed match.
• Red wine with soft cheese: the tannins react the same way to the richness of this dairy food, so best rule-of-thumb is to match red wine with hard cheese and white, wine with soft creamy cheese.
• Dry wine with sweets: sugary desserts deliver abundant sweetness to the palate which will completely alter the taste of the dry wine you were drinking with the main course. Better to switch to a sweet wine at dessert time.
• A Valentine cheese tray of aged gouda, aged parmesan, fresh chèvre, and aged romano with a white wine like Bin 65 Chardonnay to intensify all flavours.
• Filet mignon, prime rib, or rack of lamb, paired with a full-bodied red wine like Bin 50 Shiraz. The label tasting notes suggest the experience to be one that is “well balanced with plum and spice flavours”. Decant 30 minutes before and serve at 14º to 16º C.
• Tomato-based pasta or a hearty meat-lovers pizza with a medium-bodied red wine like Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon, with “rich mint and blackcurrant flavours and a smooth finish”. Serve at 14º to 16º C in traditional tulip-shaped glasses for maximum taste.