Last week, for Wriggly’s first birthday, my friend Cé stayed over and as we were enjoying a glass of bubbly, we started chatting about wine pairing (as you do). When we were flatmates, I had loads of hobbies (did anyone notice my never-ending string of hobbies?).
We were both members of our local gym, but apart from the steam room and the sauna, we were not the most assiduous of gym-goers (understatement in my case). Cé decided to join an evening class, and what did she go for? Wine tasting, of course!
For a couple of years, she would leave our flat around 6 p.m. every Tuesday, to come back home after ten, every time more knowledgeable about wine, and also considerably chirpier.
I am always partial to a good glass of red wine with strong cheese, or a crisp, ice-cold white on a summer’s day, but although I know the very basic rules of wine pairing, I am by no means an expert.
A few glasses of Millésimé champagne later (anything else would have been rude on baby’s birthday!) and I convinced Cé to come up with a Dummies’ Guide to Wine Pairing, and oh my goodness did she deliver!
Here are Cé’s nuggets of wisdom. It is not a complicated guide, just a few sentences to explain what food complements a range of popular wines.
If you have 30 seconds, read this quick guide
Red: cheese, hearty meals (e.g. casserole, pie, bangers & mash)
White: Fish, seafood, light dishes (e.g. pasta, poultry, Caesar salad, fish pie, scampi)
Rosé: starters, pasta, salads, antipasti
Sparkling: any time, any occasion! It is also ideal for dessert.
If you have 3 minutes, find out a bit more here
Just to make it easier, Cé listed them from lighter wines to stronger ones. Here is what she said:
“Oh that’s my favourite! It’s crisp and light. It will be as good on its own as it is with a dish. I love it with oysters (yes, oysters!), seafood, fish. Aww, a smoked salmon salad and artichoke hearts… now my mouth is watering.”
“That’s a fruity and smooth wine that can be enjoyed on its own. It’s lovely with salad or a light bite. It’s feminine and soft and makes the perfect sunset drink.”
“For me, rosé is more of a summer wine. Summer is aperitif time. Think cured meats, olives, hummus, crisps and dips. Rosé is like a mouthful of sunshine, fruity flavours and just thinking of it makes me feel relaxed.”
“This medium-bodied wine goes perfectly well with pasta, chicken dishes and barbecue. It has a smooth taste which makes you want just a drop more.”
“As a true French girl, red wine like Merlot always brings cheese to my mind. This medium-bodied wine is soft on the palate and works particularly well with goat’s cheese.”
“Shiraz is like a good friend. It provides great company, feels like a warm hug and I am always sad when my glass is empty. Full bodied, it is perfect with meat, strong cheese or any chocolate dessert.”
What is your favourite type of wine?