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Wine Food & Wine Pairing - There Are No Rules!

When it comes to ‘food and wine matching’ there are, quite frankly, no rules and there shouldn’t be. Just drink – in moderation – what you fancy with food you like. But sometimes, don’t you find that the flavours just don’t ‘go’? That something is missing in the taste stakes and the wine in your glass leaves you cold? Well, Wine Guru to the rescue!

Here’s a handy guide to some simple guidelines which just might get you back on track.

Hint 1: Body

Match the ‘body’ of the dish to that of the wine. Stands to reason that a big, bruising blockbuster of a red will completely swamp a delicate dish like grilled white fish. And if you’re after ‘delicate’ wine bear in mind the alcohol content – resist anything over 13.5% on the label. Beware of white wine labels which wax lyrical about ‘vanilla’ or ‘toast’: that suggests lots of dominant oak flavours.

Hint 2: Acidity

If there’s lots of acidity in the dish – like limes or lemons – then the wine needs to be pretty tart and acidic, too, or the wine will end up tasting flabby and flavourless, try a refreshing glass of Chablis or Letter Collection Pinot Grigio. The same principle applies to salty foods like pesto, chose an acidic wine like Fern Hills Sauvignon Blanc which will stand up to the saltiness of the dish.

Hint 3: Tannins

Do many red wines taste too chewy and dry to you? That’s probably the tannin in the wine which mainly comes from the skins of the grapes. Try a glass of full-bodied red with red meat or cheese (or vegetarian/vegan alternatives) – that should soften that grippy sensation on your tongue and make everything lovely and smooth.

Hint 4: Desserts

Fancy a glass of something with your dessert? Well, if you don’t want everything ending up tinny and unpleasant make sure the wine is sweeter than the pudding. And chocolate can be really difficult to pair with a wine (it’s the way it coats the mouth, which is gorgeous, of course, but hard work for wine). The Muscat/Moscato grape is a great go-to.

Hint 5: Inspiration

If you’re really stuck for inspiration, just remember, serve the wine of the country with the local food. Pizza Night? No problem! Step forward Italian Pinot Grigio, Chianti or Nero d’Avola! Further afield, a glass of Argentinian Rios de los Andes Malbec is robust enough to match steak and Regional Selection Mediterranean Rose is the perfect pairing to Salad Nicoise.

Hint 6: Variety

Finally, why not try a different wine tonight? Variety is the spice of life and it’s fun to mix things up. And you’ll find plenty of choice in your local SPAR! If you enjoy bold, smooth, fruity reds from the New World then why not experiment with SPAR Regional Selection Primitivo from Southern Italy. A superb Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 Silver Medal winner. Or our Regional Selection Chenin Blanc from South Africa is amazingly versatile, with or without food.

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