Trying to achieve the perfect food match for your favourite Australian wine can be tricky. But if you’re about to host a dinner party and are keen to show your guests you know your onions, finding that perfect pairing is an absolute must.
The good news is that there are some simple guidelines you can follow to transform a chore into an exciting endeavour. So, read on as we delve into how to achieve that ultimate union between Australian wine and great food.
First up - why bother going to the trouble of pairing wine and food?
As any sommelier with his or her salt will tell you, the aim of food and wine matching is all about enhancing the guest’s experience. A delicious wine that complements an amazing dish will be remembered forever.
When the right wine is chosen to be glugged alongside a certain dish, it has the potential to enhance and enrich the flavours, textures and qualities of the food. And that’s just what elevates the whole dining experience and makes the meal all the more memorable.
So where to start when it comes to pairing wines such as an Australian Shiraz? Let’s delve in with a few top tips.
Tip #1 – Keep your focus on the food
Is your meal heavy, or light? What are the key flavours? If you’re serving a dish with a sauce or dressing, this may well be the main taste influence, rather than the meat or vegetable elements themselves.
For example, roast duck served with a rich, fruity jus will call for a completely different wine than pan fried duck served with a pickled fennel and orange salad.
Tip #2 – Master the balancing act
Your main aim when pairing food with Australian wine is to get the balance of weight just right.
Lighter foods such as chicken, pork or fish, for example, are best paired with more of a delicate red or white.
A lighter bodied South Australia red wine such as Hedonist Ecology Grenache will deliver a burst of bright crispiness with these paler meats, whilst an Australian white wine like Corryton Burge Riesling Kith has just the right smash of zest and sprightly citrus flavours to bring out the subtler flavours in poultry, fish and white meats.
A more robust, full bodied Australian wine will pair better with richer, heavier dishes. Grilled red meat, game, casseroles and weighty pasta dishes match well with big, bold reds such as Australian Shiraz wine and Cabernet Sauvignon.
A great complementary Australian red wine for rich tomato-based dishes such as a gratifying penne puttanesca or spicy arrabiata for example could be Jauma Gentle Folk Village Shiraz. With its deep cherry and tomato flavours and a dainty finish of spice, it looks like it could be a top match.
And then there’s Longview ‘The Piece’ Shiraz, potentially the perfect pairing for a satisfying game pie packed with cranberries and chestnuts. This is an Australian Shiraz brimming with dark cherry, bright blackberry, anise clove and black pepper flavours, yet it’s fresh on the palate and perfect for washing down a slice or two of that winter warmer pie.
The key advice here is to take good care not to overpower delicate flavours with big, bold wines. In other words, go easy!
Tip #3 – Contrast or complement flavours
Once you’ve weighed up your food, it’s time to consider flavours. The key profiles to think about when choosing a well-matched Australian wine for your meal are salty, savoury, spicy, bitter, acidic and sweet. Your goal is to settle on a wine that will balance the main flavours of the food, and you have two options here.
Your first choice is to go for a wine that complements the dish, creating balance through similar profiles. For example, a velvety macaroni cheese or butternut squash soup could pair well with a buttery Chardonnay to enrich its creaminess. Longview Macclesfield Chardonnay with its hints of smooth butterscotch could be a good pairing here, as could Corryton Burge SA Chardonnay, an aromatic white that displays flavours of rich creamy shortbread on the palate.
Your second option is to choose a wine that contrasts your meal. This approach creates balance by bringing together opposing qualities. So we might, for example, pair our macaroni cheese or butternut squash soup with a South Australian white wine that’s crisp and zesty, such as Longview Vista Grigio Grüner, a punchy number brimming with aromas of pine-lime and freshly picked nettles.
Crisp wines with high acidity and minerality are also well matched to foods that are fatty, oily or salty in nature, because the acids offset those qualities on the palate.
Looking to create the perfect pairing with Australian wine?
Fancy making Australian wine the guest of honour at your next dinner party? The Oddbins Australian wine range is sure to have something that will pair well with whatever’s on your menu.
Not sure which is the best Australian wine to choose? Try our Premium South Australian wine mixed case, or our South Australian Adventure mixed case, or contact our helpful team for advice via Live Chat, e-mail or by calling 0800 328 23 23.