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Food and Wine Matching 101

Create inspiring food and wine matches

Follow the helpful tips below to ensure that at your next dinner party you impress your guests with your pairing prowess.

Acid + acid

If your food is high in acid – think tomatoes or a squeeze of lemon – you’ll need a wine that’s high in acid too. Riesling is the most obvious white choice, while Italian style reds will balance tomatoes and cut through olive oil. 

Same + same

Brings together complementary flavours – light-bodied wine + light dish, full-bodied wine + heavy dish and so on. Also pair similar textures and flavours – earthy wine + earthy food, citrussy wine + fruity dish, etc. 

Opposite + opposite

Try a fresh, crisp Chardonnay with a creamy pasta dish, or consider a clean, dry Riesling with a spicy chilli-filled Asian dish. Or if you’re serving a dish with very simple flavours, a complex wine can enhance the experience.

Heat + sweet

For spicy dishes, red wines high in alcohol and tannins are a no-no as the alcohol intensifies the heat. Choose sweeter whites such as off-dry Gewürztraminers or Rieslings.  

Sweet + sweeter

If your dish is sweet, the wine should be sweeter. Think milk and dark chocolate desserts with Tawnies and Muscats, while white chocolate pairs with Prosecco and lemon flavours are perfect with Botrytis Riesling.

Tannins + fat

This pairing is all about balance. Fat serves to even out tannin intensity, resulting in a smoother, softer red. 

Infographic - Food and Wine Matching guide

Wine styles

Try these suggestions to match with your favourite wine styles.

Fuller bodied red wines

Wines: Cabernet, Shiraz, Malbec, Durif

Food matches: Their robust structure makes these an ideal partner to hard cheeses and fattier cuts of meat.

Medium bodied red wines

Wines: Merlot & Blends, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese

Food matches: To match the moderate density tannins go for slow-cooked or rustic style dishes like pasta, Mediterranean fare, tapas.

Lighter bodied red wines

Wines: Pinot Noir, Grenache & blends, Nero d’Avola 

Food matches: With the finer styles, go for gamey, earthy foods like duck, while styles with higher acidity can take richer, spicier dishes.

Rosé

Wines: Dry, off-dry

Food matches: For drier styles, go for salads, charcuterie and antipasto. For off-dry styles, try spicy food or fruit-based dishes.

Fuller-bodied white wines

Wines: Chardonnay, Verdelho, Viognier

Food matches: A richer texture makes these fuller varieties a great match for poultry, pork, rich seafood, cream or cheese-based pastas.

Medium-bodied white wines

Wines: Arneis, Pinot G, Fiano, Vermentino, Marsanne

Food matches: Zesty acidity makes these styles perfect with lighter flavours like tapas,
pasta and salads.

Lighter-bodied and aromatic white wines

Wines: Sauvignon Blanc & blends, Semillon, Riesling, Gewürztraminer

Food matches: The high acidity inherent in these varieties makes them ideal for fried food, raw seafood, delicate Asian dishes, and simple Mediterranean food.

Champagne, Sparkling and Prosecco

Wines: Champagne, Sparkling & Prosecco

Food matches: With the richer styles, choose seafood and richer canapés, while lighter styles suit antipasto, fried foods and fresh fruit.

Dessert and Fortified wines

Wines: Botrytis, Tawny, Muscat/Topaque 

Food matches: Botrytis: Cream or fruit-based desserts, pâté. Tawny: Cheddar & blue cheese, dried & fresh fruit, nuts. Topaque: Caramel-based desserts. Muscat: Chocolate-based desserts, dates & dried figs, ice cream.

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Words by Ben Hallinan on 26 Mar 2017
Neglected for decades in France as a lesser blending grape, Malbec was resurrected and championed in Argentina as an excellent single varietal wine. It's now having a similar resurgence in Australia, with some excellent Australian Malbec wines appearing in the  Clare Valley ,  Langhorne Creek ,  Margaret River  and  Great Southern . To help us learn more about this plush and fruit driven red wine, we reached out to a few Australian Malbec experts with winemakers from  Forest Hill Wines ,  Bremerton  and Tamburlaine Organic Wines. AUSTRALIAN MALBEC AT A GLANCE THE VARIED ORIGINS OF MALBEC
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Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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