Picking the right wine for the food you are having is important. A wine should match and complement the food and not take over so you can’t taste the food or worse ruin the taste of both the wine and food.
When looking at wine and food combinations go for complementary flavours or flavours that contrast and to avoid flavours that clash).
A dish with citrus would be complemented by a fruity wine;
A hearty stew would go well with a full-bodied wine;
A delicately flavoured dish, such as poached sole, would be in good company with a dry, crisp wine;
A rich cream sauce would contrast nicely with a highly acidic dry wine;
A simple snack of bread and cheese would go very well with a complex full-bodied red.
A wine high in tannins when drunk with a food high in tannins will render the wine almost undrinkably.
Protein tends to calm tannins therefore a wine with high tannins should go very well with rare beef.
Some wine and food combinations result in a flavor that was not present in either one, this is known as the 3rd flavour.
There will be times when you come across a wine that was developed for a particular type of food and fireworks result.
Red and Rose Wine Grapes
Bordeaux-style Red Blends – Go well with most types of red meat, hot or cold, roasted or grilled.
Shiraz / Syrah -Goes well with most types of red meat.
Cabernet Sauvignon – Ideal with roast lamb & beef peppered steaks, stuffed tomatoes or firm cheese
Cotes de Rhone – Goes well with steaks, sausages or hard cheeses.
Merlot – Good partner for a rack of lamb, game birds, cold meats or thinly sliced raw meat or tuna.
Pinotage – Suits game, some curries, spare ribs, pepper steaks and steaks with a source.
Pinot Noir – This is truly a food-friendly wine. Goes rather well with light meals such as salmon, tuna, chicken, ham, veal, risotto or pasta. A richly flavoured wine could even be partnered with a hearty tomato soup, something with a punchy flavour.
Rioja (Tempranillo)- Roast lamb, meatballs, robust cheese and hot/spicy tapas foods.
Malbec- Steak, Sausage
White Wine Grapes
Chardonnay – Matches well with shellfish and most other fish incl caviar (unoaked wine best), avocado Ritz, buttery dishes, Hollandaise, creamy sauces.
Chablis – This wine is delicious with seafood, poultry and vegetarian dishes.
Chenin Blanc – is a versatile wine with many varieties. Crisp, dry table wines, light sparkling wines, nectar-like dessert wines and even brandy, try it with fish.
Gavi – Best with Fish, drink young, most Gavi peaks within 1 year old and should not be left for more than 3 years
Gewürztraminer – Possible matches are smoked meats or curries – Thai/Indonesian dishes.
Muscat – Delicious served chilled on its own, however, also enjoy with particular foods such as asparagus, artichokes, fish, white meats or pastries.
Pouilly-Fuisse – Ideal as an aperitif or with light fish dishes, Ratatouille or roast pork but leave out the apple saurce as it can make the wine taste dull.
Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris- full-bodied character good with pâté, fish, fowl, pork blue cheese
Riesling – Partner with pâté, pork, Pepperoni pizza, babotie, smoked snoek, curries or Thai and Chinese food.
Rosé and Blanc de Noir – If on the dry side, can be a substitute for crisp, dry white wine, such as with ham, pork or Mediterranean salads. The off-dry styles can compliment mild curries and lightly-spiced foods.
Sancerre – Roast Pork, Ratatouille, shell food and fish.