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Top 6 ways to match food and wine: what matters in the wine?

Chillies

Hello and happy Monday morning Majestic people. How are we into the middle of January so quickly? The first of the winter snow has fallen in London this morning, which only makes me want to stay indoors and avoid any extra spending temptations of the sales and eating out. The perfect fix is that warming home made food, a good bottle of wine and nights in on the sofa in front of the TV.

Last Monday I gave you the basic top 5 ‘Matching Maxims’ when choosing food and wine to go together. Continuing with our food and wine matching focus this month, here are 6 top tips to help you find the right wine when eating in or out…

1. Acidity
Crisp acidity in wines can pair up well in two ways. When it’s not cutting through oily, fatty, creamy or salty foods, it can brighten the natural flavours of a dish. Clean, crisp whites work with any dish that responds well to a squeeze of lemon – like freshly shelled oysters.

2. Sweetness
As well as mirroring sweet food components such as fruit and desserts, sweetness in a wine can contrast wonderfully with salty and spicy food.

3. Body
Alcohol adds texture and body to a wine. This should match up to the weight of a dish, just as gutsy, spicy Côtes-du-Rhône does alongside a hearty beef stew.

4. Tannin
In red wines, it’s the tannin that complements red meat, as this actually helps the protein and fats in the meat to break down in the mouth. Look no further than fillet steak with a fine, youthful Bordeaux.

5. Oak
Creamy, complex oak characters go brilliantly with creamy dishes and sauces, while toasty oakiness can bring out the caramelised flavours of fried and grilled food. Beware pairing oaky wines with spicy foods – they’re apt to clash.

6. Age
Bottle ageing can add complexity to reds and whites alike, replacing acidity, fruit character and (in reds) tannin over time. Keep food matches simple, sticking to grilled or roasted meats and fish.

My January detox of sorts lasted all of 5 days, but a friend said to me ‘why suffer through January, the worst month of the year?’ Which is a good point. So just as I signed off the blog from last Monday, better food and better wine is a good New Year’s resolution.