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Top 5 ways to match food and wine: what matters in the food?

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath 2

Hello and welcome to blue Monday! Today is supposed to be the worst day of the year… I don’t remember a longer time since payday, all those Christmas drinks parties out in town seem so long ago, Christmas and New Year a faint smudge on a blurry memory. But it SNOWED. I spent Sunday all day on Hampstead Heath slipping and sliding, snowball fighting and failing miserably to make a snowman… wrong type of snow. Too fluffy.

When it got dark I retired to my favourite new burger joint in Hampstead. Dach and Sons. What the burger is to good, the sweet potato wedges drenched in maple syrup are to sublime! Seriously, go and try those orange wedges of wondrous delight.

So #bluemonday doesn’t feel so blue after a top weekend, and I have the final part of our 3 part food and wine matching master class to share with you Majestic people: Top 5 ways to match food and wine: what matters in the food? Here it goes, some top tips to take your food and wine experience to the next level…

1. Acidity
With tart foods, always aim to choose a wine with equal or higher acidity. White wines and fizz are usually better with acidic foods, with the honourable exception of high acidity Italian reds such as Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.

2. Saltiness
Salty dishes should be balanced by crisp acidity and/ or some residual sweetness in the wine. The former refreshes the palate; the latter can act as a nice contrast to salt. Be careful when matching salty food to red wines: salt amplifies tannins and oak.

3. Sweetness
Dishes with a sweet element require a wine with equal sweetness or possibly rich ripe fruit. For instance, the tropical fruit of an off-dry Riesling is a great partner to grilled swordfish with mango salsa.

4. Bitterness
Ingredients such as aubergine and cooking methods like char-grilling come with a bitterness that can be mirrored by the bitter tannins found in red wine. That’s why barbequed steak is so well suited to a good Cabernet Sauvignon.

5. Spice
Spicy food can be a matching minefield, clashing with oak, tannins and alcohol. Steer clear of full-bodied reds altogether and go instead for crisp, off dry whites, like lychee-filled Gewürztraminer – the perfect foil for Thai green curry.

Remember, if like me you’re cooking more at home this January and decided to treat yourself to better wine rather than quantity, these 3 lists (other 2 links below) of top tips are guaranteed to help you improve your food and wine matching skills.

Have you had any food and wine matching successes from these blog posts? Let me know in the comments below.

Top 5 ways to match food and wine: The Matching Maxims
Top 6 ways to match food and wine: what matters in the wine?