Ever had a delicious dish accompanied by a wonderful wine – but the two of them together resulted in an utterly disastrous meal? Incompatible food and wine pairings can be a total party pooper for the palate. But we all know how tasty things can be when an eat-and-drink combo turns out to be terrific or when we stumble upon an excellent pairing we otherwise might not have thought of.
But how do you get a pairing right?
Conventional wisdom goes a long way of course. No one’s really going to argue with having a glass of Malbec with rump steak or a wee vintage Port with amami-rich cheese plate. Honestly, though, much might work best for you depends in large part on your own personal preference, quality of the wine (and the food), and all sorts of other factors – some of which you might not even be aware of.
So, for your most quaff-able of considerations, here’s a trio of food and wine pairings that definitely do the trick for me. Two might not come across as terribly revolutionary but many a wine lover might find my third suggestion rather novel.
Keep them in mind as you plot out your next dining adventures.
Love a big juicy cheeseburger? Me too! And if I can wash it down with the right wine, well, that just makes the experience that much bigger and juicier. I reckon a Côte du Rhone is a marvelous match for a decked out burger. Generally speaking, it’s a safe bet with both meat and cheese. Full flavoured with medium body and easygoing structure, the blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre can hold its own against the complex flavours of the burger without overshadowing what makes a burger moment worth savouring.
An ideal bottle to take to your next cheeseburger chow down is Côtes du Rhône, Parcelles 38 Vignobles Quiot 2015 (£9.95). Its fruitful and earthy notes will harmonise beautifully with your hamburger avec fromage.
Seafood and Eat It – and What to Drink with It!
The cold Atlantic Ocean crashing across the craggy coast of Galicia in northwestern Spain and mixing with the nutrient rich fresh water of the region’s rias (esturaries) results in some of the world’s most delectable seafood. This is where the highly prized – and highly priced – percebes come from, along with octopus, prawns, razor clams, and all sorts of other fruits of the sea and saltwater fish.
Of particular note is an area known as the Rias Baixas, where not only is the seafood amazing but so is the wine. Green and rugged Galicia’s “Celtic” climate is ideal for growing Albariño grapes. And as luck would have it, Albariño goes great with seafood. Indeed, I can think of few more pleasing plates than those featuring seafood from Galicia and paired with a local wine.
One great Galician wine is Most Wanted Albariño 2016 (£8.95). A casual quaff with stone fruit notes and zestful character, it does justice to fresh seafood and fish, works wonders with spicy dishes as well and is certainly sippable on its own.
If you think sherry is only something to be shared with Granny at the end of a Christmas feast, you and your grandmother are missing out on some truly magnificent oenological moments all the rest of the year. Next time you and your abulea hanker some hooch go for a dry aged sherry. And if you’re feeling hungry make it an oloroso served up with steaks, ribs or a roast. This pungent and nutty sherry amps up the flavour of most red meats with a long lasting finish that’ll have your taste buds saying ole!
Alfonso (£11.95), a dry oloroso from Gonzalez Byass, makes a mighty compañero when buddied up with even the beefiest dishes – and should shed new light on what it means to share sherry while giving you and your Gran a gorgeously flavoursome reason to catch up.
Written by Chris Osburn in association with his award-winning food, drink and travel blog tikichris.com.