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Wine Pairing for Dummies in 30 seconds or 3 minutes!

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:

Sauvignon blanc

“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.”

 

Chardonnay

“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.”

 

Rosé

“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.”

Wine Pairing for Dummies - Rosé and Sharing platter

Cabernet Sauvignon

“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.”

 Wine Pairing for Dummies - Pasta with Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot

“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.”

Wine Pairing for Dummies - Cheese and Merlot

Shiraz

“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?

20 Comments

  1. 16/06/2015 / 9:37 pm

    Love it! And I agree about rosé and summer being synonymous 🙂 My fave French wines are pouilly fumé and beaujolais xx

    • Mel
      Author
      16/06/2015 / 9:51 pm

      I love Pouilly Fumé! That’s the white wine we had for our wedding reception. x

  2. 17/06/2015 / 12:32 am

    Thanks for this! This is really helpful. I never know how to order wine, so always let others do it for me.

    • Mel
      Author
      18/06/2015 / 10:38 pm

      I like the idea of letting others order wine! It would mean trying a range of nice wines.

  3. myrecipebookuk
    17/06/2015 / 7:20 am

    I very unknowledgable about wine, I’d absolutely love to go on a wine tasting course to learn more. I knew the very basic red v white rule but after than I tend to go for what’s on special offer/brands I’ve heard of/which has the prettiest bottle.

    • Mel
      Author
      17/06/2015 / 5:19 pm

      I love your ‘prettiest bottle’ rule! I’d love to go on a wine tasting course, too!

      • 18/06/2015 / 10:46 pm

        Maybe we need to drop hints at the River Cottage in the hope that the Foodies 100 add wine tasting into a future event.

        • Mel
          Author
          18/06/2015 / 11:08 pm

          Oh you’re a clever lady!

    • Mel
      Author
      18/06/2015 / 10:44 pm

      I would love to go on a wine tasting course, too!

  4. aimee linehan
    17/06/2015 / 9:36 am

    Usually i say any wine any time 🙂 but now i shall know what im doing when buying my next bottle. Thank you xx

    • Mel
      Author
      17/06/2015 / 5:19 pm

      Oh sweetie, thanks so much for your comment! Xxx

    • Mel
      Author
      18/06/2015 / 10:42 pm

      I like the concept! Any wine, any time sounds great. Thanks for the comment sweetie. x

  5. Alexandra Mercer (Life of Mummy)
    17/06/2015 / 12:18 pm

    I usually go for a merlot but if I’m on a really tight budget I find any Chilean red is normally quite nice x

    • Mel
      Author
      17/06/2015 / 5:20 pm

      I love red, too with meat or cheese. X

  6. 18/06/2015 / 11:50 pm

    Love this, I worked in a wine shop for a while, I drank quite a lot all in the name of education!!! x

    • Mel
      Author
      18/06/2015 / 11:57 pm

      You had a great excuse! I used to look after my mum’s office every summer when I was younger. When you sell champagne, you have to try it with potential clients. It would be rude not to!

  7. Mr Ben Groom
    23/06/2015 / 2:39 pm

    A very handy guide! Though I wish I knew which was best for drinking straight from the bottle! Not really! I know it’s Pinot Noir 😀

    • Mel
      Author
      23/06/2015 / 9:46 pm

      Oh no, no, no!

  8. Fionnuala
    23/06/2015 / 8:37 pm

    We are lucky to live very close to three wine regions, Baden and Pfalz in Germany and Alsace in France. I love that we can buy wines made locally, and the wine festivals in autumn are great.
    For white a Riesling is my favourite. In reds I like a Pinot Noir.
    #TastyTuesdays

  9. Lindy
    26/06/2015 / 2:17 pm

    love this- very handy!

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