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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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Food
Matching wine with Haigh's chocolate
Words by Paul Diamond on 29 Nov 2017
Individually, wine and chocolate are highly desired treats, but when brought together in a complementary pairing, they can transport your tastebuds to new and exciting places. This Christmas, we have teamed up with Australia’s most respected chocolate producer to bring you some matches that will have you wishing it was Christmas every month of the year! And, we're happy to announce an exclusive offer for Wine Selectors members and Selector readers. When you spend $75 or more with Haigh's online and use the code SELECTOR17, you'll receive a free packet of Milk Chocolate Frogs! Find out more below . Match 1: Shiraz and Haigh’s Dark Chocolate (50%+)
The fruit intensity and medium to full bodied nature of Shiraz make for a rich and mouth-filling combination. The key is starting with a chocolate with over 50% cocoa content and matching the general fruit flavours of the wine to a complementary chocolate flavour. Our Pick : Primo Estate Shiraz 2016 and Haigh’s 100g Dark Cardamom Tablet Tasting note : This match is mind blowing! The dark chocolate and the fruit intensity of the McLaren Vale classic from Primo Estate are perfectly weighted together, but what makes this match is when the mocha, plum and pepper flavours of the wine meet the cardamom flavours in the chocolate.  Boom! Match 2: Cabernet Sauvignon and Haigh’s Dark Chocolate (60%+)
For some reason, Cabernet and dark chocolate always works, and if there was going to be one generic chocolate and wine suggestion, it would be this one. Because Cabernet Sauvignon is generally full-bodied, it needs to be matched with intense flavours, so turning up the cocoa content in the chocolate is key. Our Pick: Rosabrook Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 and Haigh’s 100g Costa Rica Single Origin Dark Chocolate Tasting note : This is a decadent, seductive match! This premium Cabernet from Margaret River has plenty of dark berry intensity that matches the chocolate perfectly, but there is an extra sweet raspberry lift to the wine that adds a lovely complement to the bitter flavours of the chocolate. Match 3: Pinot Noir and Haigh’s Dark Ginger
Pinot Noir is a soft varietal with delicate tannins , so matching it to chocolate can be challenging. But when you get it right, the results are amazing. Less about texture/weight matching, pairing chocolate to Pinot is all about complementary flavours. Our Pick : De Bortoli Villages Pinot Noir 2016 and Haigh’s Dark Ginger Tasting note: This is crazy delicious. We stumbled onto this match, as ginger was not on the radar when tasting chocolates for Pinot. The ginger is soft, creamy, sweet and a little spicy and it worked so perfectly with the soft, earthy red fruits in this Pinot. When you think about this match, it makes little sense, but when you taste both together, it makes for a heady, seductive and exotic match. Match 4: Pinot Gris and Haigh’s Dark Champagne Truffle
Softer and more textural than its crunchier, crispier Grigio cousin, Pinot Gris is a great varietal for chocolate matching with chocolate. Generally low in acid with soft pear, florals and citrus, Gris works well with milk driven and fruit confected chocolates. Our Pick : Lisa McGuigan Pinot Gris 2015 and Haigh’s Dark Champagne Truffle Tasting Note : Hard to stop at one! This Haigh’s Dark Champagne Truffle is incredible and will work with a range of white wines, but we found that the soft lemon, pear and granny smith apple fruits are the best combo for the creamy balance between the Champagne cream and the dark chocolate coating. The dusting also adds a nice sweetness to the whole picture. Dangerously delicious. Match 5: Chardonnay and Haigh’s Dark Orange Slices
Chardonnay , with its nutty, stone fruited complexity is another variety that is hard to be generic about as there are so many nuances to each individual example. Like Pinot Noir, matching becomes less about weight, texture and acidity and more about flavour matching. And, like Pinot Gris, it goes really well with fruit confected and flavoured chocolates.   Our Pick : Tyrrell's Dry White Chardonnay (1976) and Haighs Dark Orange slices Tasting Note : Surprisingly, amazingly delicious. This was another out-of-the-blue match that, on paper, shouldn’t work, but very much does. The rich and round white melon and citrus envelop the jaffa-like orange flavours that seem to be extended and lengthened by the wine. The chocolate is dark, but the acidity in the wine lightens it, making a hero of the orange. Lovely combination. Match 6. Sauv Blanc and Haigh’s White Lemon Truffle
As a zesty, fresh and aromatic variety, Sauvignon Blanc is a good white chocolate option. When it comes to thinking about the wine, however, try to steer away from examples that have loads of grassy characters in preference for examples with citrus dominant characters. Our Pick : Hungerford Hill Fumé Blanc 2016 and White Lemon Truffle Tasting Note : There’s no way you will want to share this combination and when we finished tasting, we were looking for more of these special little truffles. This Fumé style Sauv Blanc is citrus driven and textural with little grassy notes that make the natural citrus stand out and was a perfect partner for the lemon spiked cream at the centre of this white chocolate coated treat. This is a definite crowd pleaser. Special offer for Wine Selectors Members
Spend $75 and use the code SELECTOR17 when you shop with Haigh’s online and you’ll receive a free 140g packet of Milk Chocolate Frogs valued at $12.50! The most iconic of the Haigh’s collection, these frogs are made from premium milk chocolate, which they have been making since the 1930s. Shop at Haigh's online now See the terms and conditions below .  
Wine
The 10 Biggest Wine Myths
‘All wine gets better with age’, ‘The more expensive the wine, the better it tastes’, ‘The French invented Champagne’ – can you tell myth from fact? Discover the truth on the 10 biggest wine myths   Myth 1: All wine gets better with age
Fact: A lot of wine in Australia is made to drink within 12-18 months. There’s a real trend at the moment, especially with reds, for winemakers to craft young, fresh wines to drink immediately rather than to age. You can still find wines that are made to age for decades, with Hunter Valley Semillon and Australian Shiraz being great examples.     Myth 2: Bottles of wine sealed with a cork are better than those with a screw-cap
​ Fact: In a perfect world, the perfect cork is the perfect closure, but in reality, perfect corks are extremely rare. Screw-caps eliminate many of the problems that can come with corks such as cork taint, oxidation and leakage and give the wine-lover confidence they’re getting quality and consistency. Find out more about corks vs screw caps here .   Myth 3: The more expensive the wine, the better it tastes
​ Fact: One of the joys of wine is that it comes down to personal taste. How much a wine sells for can indicate the quality of grapes and how expensive the winemaking process was. However, a lot of wine pricing is driven by economics and supply and demand, but this will never guarantee that a $500 bottle will taste five times better than a $100 one.   Myth 4: Blended wines are inferior
​ Fact: This myth has been driven by Australia’s insatiable thirst for single variety wines. However, one of the ironies of this is that some of Australia’s greatest wines ever made were blends. In fact, one of the most famous blended wines in the world is Champagne . Blended wines are a classic case of the end product being greater than the sum of its parts.    Myth 5: The French invented Champagne
​ Fact: It is argued that English scientist and physician Christopher Merret invented Champagne in the 17 th century when he added sugar to a finished wine to create a secondary fermentation.   Myth 6: Red wine with meat, white wine with fish
​ Fact: This is not a myth in that generally, the high tannins in red wine are a delicious complement for the fat in red meat, and the acidity in white wine gives brightness to a match of chicken or fish. However, it’s not a hard and fast rule. For example, you can pair red wine with fish; the secret is matching weight with weight. If salmon is poached, it will be silky, therefore a Rosé or Pinot Noir can work, while roasted salmon/ barra might pair well with a bolder red. Sauce is another factor, a creamy sauce screams for white wine, but a spicy red sauce or mustard sauce could work well with Sangiovese or even cool climate Shiraz !   Myth 7: A heavier bottle equals higher quality
​ Fact: Bottles with thicker glass are pricier because there is a higher investment in the packaging process, but it says nothing about the wine quality.   Myth 8: The correct serving temperature for red wine is “room temperature”
​ Fact: The ideal temperature to serve red wine is 14-18ºC. Serving it too cold will dull the aromas and ultimately the flavours in full-bodied red wine. Room temperature in Australia during the peak of summer may be anywhere from 25–35ºC, so don’t be afraid to pop your favourite red wine in the fridge for half an hour before your barbeque, unless, of course, it’s come from a temperature controlled environment. Learn more about how to store wine at home here .   Myth 9: An expensive decanter is the only way to decant wine
​ Fact: You can decant wine in any clean vessel such as a vase, a saucepan or a teapot. The process is simply to bring the wine into contact with oxygen to really bring out the aromas and flavours and help it to breathe. A stylish decanter obviously looks beautiful, though, and adds to the theatre of wine enjoyment. Learn more about how and when to use a wine decanter here.   Myth 10: If a wine smells and tastes like a particular fruit, it has been made with the addition of that fruit
​ Fact: The only fruit wine is made from is grapes. The other aromas and flavours you might detect are the result of aroma and flavour molecules that a grape shares in common with a particular fruit. For example, Cabernet grapes contain the same flavour molecules as blackcurrants, and Sauvignon Blanc has the same molecules as those found in green vegetables.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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