Wine and food matching - FAQ

Questions and answers

Are there any foods that are difficult to match?

Yes - there are some notoriously difficult foods to find a wine to match.

Chocolate is a difficult food to find a pairing. Sweet wines are not the way forward, contrary to popular opinion. A wine must be sweeter than the food to stand up to it. The best thing for chocolate is a sweet or fortified Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Banyuls or Port.

Asparagus is a tricky one too as it can give a vegetal sensation to the wine but New World Sauvignon Blancs often fit the bill.

Eggs are another headache for matching, particularly with still wines.  The issue is the yolk tends to stick around on your tastebuds and makes the wine taste rather odd. Sparkling wines are a great palate cleanser with their bubbles and crisp acid, and thus suit eggy dishes well.

What are the best wines for cheese?

Many people assume red wines are best with cheese but it ain't necessarily so.

Soft cheeses needed a wine with backbone so a brie or Camembert would be best served wtih Chardonnay or Chablis.

Goat's cheese can be pungent but it's also creamy so opt for a wine with acid but some aromatics. The classic match is a Sauvignon Blanc.

As cheeses get harder, it's best to look at wines with a little oomph so for a cheddar go for Sauvignon Blanc, a Rhone red or Rioja.

The salt in blue cheeses calls for a wine with residual sugar.  Sauternes and Port are the classic blue cheese pairing. Anything with some lovely sweetness is perfect. And delicious.

What's the best wines for spicy foods?

Spicy foods need something to contrast them and stand up to the spice.

For example, Thai dishes work well with off-dry or medium-sweet wines. The sweetness can temper the heat of the spice. Wines with lower alcohol are best for spicy dishes so you don't get the burn of the spice and a wine that burns in the throat! So, try an off-dry Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Torrontes.

Of course, there's no set rules. So, you can try what you like. Recently, the Chilean wine industry started pushing Carmenere with curry.

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