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Food

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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Our Top 5 Australia Day Recipe and Wine Matching Ideas
Words by Ben Hallinan on 21 Jan 2017
Celebrate Australian wine this year on our national holiday with these great recipe and wine matching ideas from  Selector . Lamb Recipes
Lamb has become synonymous with Australia Day celebrations (due in no small part to a certain successful advertising campaign). This  boneless leg of lamb with a rosemary rub   recipe is the perfect way to add a refined touch to your Australia Day celebrations. The oak, spice and firm tanins of a fine  Coonawarra  or  Margaret River  Cabernet Sauvignon make this variety the classic wine match for a rich lamb dish like this . Alternatively, try one of the increasing range of  alternative varieties  such as Montepulciano or Petit Verdot. Find out more about Petit Verdot in our   recent infographic guide Lamb wine match: Bundaleer Montepulciano 2015 or the Credaro Five Tales Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Explore our lamb recipes Prawn Recipes
In this country, we are blessed with an abundance of quality seafood. This   Barbecue split prawns with chilli, oregano and olive oil  recipe is an excellent addition to any Australia Day get together. For the perfect wine match, go for a dry white with good acidity such as a fine   Semillon  , Vermentino or  Verdelho. Prawns wine match:  Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard Semillon 2009  or the  Tulloch Vineyard Selection Verdelho 2015 Explore our seafood recipes Vegetarian Recipes
It doesn’t have to be all about lamb and meat on Australia Day as this tongue in cheek video  reminds us.  Maggie Beer’s beetroot and vino cotto salad  recipe is the perfect accompaniment to any celebratory bbq or potluck dinner. Or, for something more substantial try  Stefano Manfredi’s spectacular potato gnocchi with burnt butter and sage  . For further inspiration look through the many  vegetable focused dishes  in our recipe section or consult our  vegetarian wine matching guide  . Vegetarian wine match:  Howard Park Riesling 2013  or the Soumah Savarro (Savagnin) 2012 Explore our vegetarian recipes Kangaroo Recipes
Lyndey Milan’s  Kangaroo with native spices, beetroot and rosella sauce  recipe is outstanding and exquisitely showcases the uniquely Australian ingredients involved. This dish is an impeccable match for a refined, elegant  cool climate Shiraz  from the  Yarra Valley  or a savoury  Hunter Valley  Shiraz. Kangaroo wine match:  Richard Hamilton Little Road Shiraz 2015  or the Seville Estate The Barber Shiraz 2015 Explore our kangaroo and game recipes Pavlova Recipes
Although our friends in New Zealand quite confidently claim ownership ( and they might be right  ), there's no question that pavlova is also a strong part of our national culinary history. Complete your Australia Day celebrations with Lyndey Milan’s easy-to-follow Festive Pavlova recipe  . Arguably, a  dessert wine  is a great match to Pavlova. But, you can keep the festivities flowing with refined  Tasmanian  Sparkling  or a fruit focused and refreshing  Prosecco  from the  King Valley  . Find out more about  Australian Prosecco in this recent article  . Pavlova wine match: Tamar Ridge Cuvée Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV or the Chrismont La Zona Sparkling Prosecco NV Explore our pavlova and dessert recipes Discover more Australia Day Recipe Ideas For more exciting recipe ideas visit our  recipe section here  or find some inspiration from the many  celebrity chefs we’ve interviewed  in  Selector  such as Jamie Oliver,  Adriano Zumbo  , Stephanie Alexander, Nigella Lawson and many more.
Wine
10 strange but true wine descriptors
What do cat’s pee, sea spray and horse hair have in common? They might sound like ingredients in a witchy potion, but they’re actually all aromas you could find wafting from your wine glass. Sounds strange, but it’s true and there’s more. Check out the top ten: Cat’s pee: Sauvignon Blanc lovers might be familiar with this one. It’s particularly apparent in cool climate examples and it’s not a negative description, so don’t let it put you off your next glass of Savvy. Kerosene: This can be found in aged Rieslings and comes from the compound 1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihyronaphthalene (TDN). Whether it’s a desirable trait or not comes down to personal taste. Wet stone: Take a whiff of Semillon, Riesling or Chardonnay and you might pick up this character. It describes minerality and is a savoury term, so it means you’re sniffing a great food matching wine. Sea spray: If your Chardonnay is transporting your senses to the beach, you’ve scored yourself a complex, well-made expression of the variety. Baked bread: There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread, even if it is coming from your glass of Sparkling wine. It’s a sign of secondary fermentation so it’s desirable in Sparkling and Chardonnay, but watch out if you smell it in other wines because it could be a fault. Struck match: While sulphur dioxide is a common wine additive, if you can smell struck match, the sulphur dioxide has been poorly handled. This fault can also be described as burnt rubber or mothballs. Sweaty saddle: Brettanomyces, or Brett, is a type of yeast that can, when used at low levels, can add positive attributes to a wine. However, the perception of excessive levels is a fault. Horse hair: Continuing the horsy theme, this is another description of Brett. Tractor shed: More precisely, the oil on the dirt that’s leaked from a tractor – another Brett descriptor. Mousy: Another term to describe a fault, this time from bacteria, mousy is interesting because it’s an aroma that only certain people can pick up. So if you can pick up a scent of rodent, you’re one of the chosen few!
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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