For me, a dinner party is all about good food, great company and a relaxed atmosphere. And part of creating a relaxed atmosphere is to have on hand some gorgeous, big flavoured wines, that compliment what your guests are consuming. Trouble is, it can be very easy to match a delicate dish of sea food with a wine that is too robust, and overpowers all the intricate flavours. Or it is just as simple to serve a light, refreshing wine with a dish that is too meaty and requires something with a bit more depth. So how you do match your wines with your food unless you go round tasting them all before you serve them? There are a few rules and tips that you can adhere to that always work when matching wine and food. The old advice to give a red wine with red meats still holds true and to serve a white with seafood, fish and poultry is fine. But if you really want to enhance the flavours of your cooking, take a look at what we suggest, and your dinner parties will be all the better for it!
Seafood & Fish
Most seafood and fish tend to have delicate flavours that are all too easily overpowered by big, dense wines. So stick to light, refreshing and fruity wines that have some element of citrus in them. A zesty Kiwi Sauvignon such as Marlborough Tukituki Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 would definitely hit the spot and serve to clear the palate after every mouthful. Or if the fish you were serving was a little meatier, as salmon or tuna tend to be, you could even go for a luscious Australian white like D’Arenberg’s fruit packed pineappley The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne, 2010. The point is to have wines that are refreshing, fruit based with a citrus overtone.
Chicken & Pork
With chicken and pork, you can serve slightly more robust whites or even light reds, depending on what sauces and herbs are accompanying the dishes. With rich sauces I would suggest a crisp white, such as Moncaro Verdicchio del Castelli di Jesi Classico, 2011. A gorgeous white with palate cleansing properties and a crisp finish. With lighter sauces, or if you are serving a more summer menu, then a white Semillon or dry Sauvignon Blanc can go well. The apple taste of a very dry Sauvignon compliments pork beautifully.
Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz are the three varieties that seem to work well with beef dishes. A good wine to drink with steak is a young claret, in fact, a young claret with a rare steak makes a great alternative to the traditional choice of beer. Or you could try any Argentinian Malbec wines, very common in this region. A gutsy Vinabla Malbec, 2010 will stand up well to meaty flavours.
Duck is not a meat that is commonly served an people therefore are sometimes at a loss as to what wine to serve with it. If you remember that the meat is essentially sweet and a tad greasy, you will want a fairly crisp, or a strong wine to combat this. Opt for a strong Burgundy red or a robust Pinot. However, if the duck is being served with an orange sauce, then choose a chardonnay.