Knowing how to choose a wine to go with your meal is a much-desired skill for those who enjoy the finer things in life. While personal preference is of course a factor, in a restaurant, an expert sommelier will suggest a number of other considerations to make. In our dining rooms, for example, our server will make suggestions that can then lead to a well-informed, excellent pairing. Knowing how beneficial this information can be, we’ve put together a useful overview to help you understand what type of wine goes with what dinner.
Best Wines for Chicken
A helpful guideline with chicken is to consider the lightness of the meal. A simple chicken salad will call for a light and fresh wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a Chenin Blanc. On the other hand, a meal with more depth and intense flavour, such as curry, will match perfectly with a richer white wine. This could be a Chardonnay, or even a Riesling with sweet notes.
Best Wines for Fish
When choosing a wine to go with a fish dish, you need to be aware of the varying flavours and textures of the fish you will be eating. A meaty tuna steak for example can withstand a light to medium red wine such as a Pinot Noir. If the fish is more delicate, such as hake or plaice, you’d want to opt for a sharp tasting white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio or a sparkling white. Crisp white wines such as a Chablis or Champagne will pair well with shellfish.
Best Wines for Beef
The bold flavours of beef meals often accompany deep, flavoursome red wines well. A Shiraz is a superb choice when the meat is to be cooked in a way which enhances its smoky flavour, such as over charcoal. If you’ve chosen a lean cut such as a sirloin steak, go for something lighter like a Merlot. A fattier cut demands something a little punchier such as a Cabernet or Chianti.
Best Wines for Lamb
With a lamb roast dinner, a Bordeaux wine comes highly recommended. This versatile wine usually boasts rich, fruity, and spicy flavours which compliment the gamy taste of the meat well. Other favoured choices include a Tempranillo, with its strong earthy flavours, or a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re dining on cutlets, or rare-cooked lamb, a hearty rosé such as a Côtes de Provence is a fine choice.
Best Wines for Pork
As a considerably fatty meat, pork pairs well with a high-acidity wine that can cut through it, such as a fresh German Riesling. Another favourite pairing is a light and fruity red; a Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine goes wonderfully with unfussy pork meals such as sausages or cold cuts. A smoky pork dish - such as pulled pork or ribs - calls for a smooth, fresh tasting wine like a young Rioja.
Best Wines for Vegetarian & Vegan Meals
Meat-free dishes can be beautifully paired with a great range of wines. In general, something light such as a salad or risotto will match light and fragrant white wines like a Pinot Grigio, or a Pinot Grigio Blush if rosé is preferred. A hearty pasta or pizza dish should be eaten with something with deeper and more complex flavours, like a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon with its smoky, berry-dominated taste. Vegetarian curries usually work well with sweeter choices such as a Muscat/Moscato, or anything reminiscent of a dessert wine.
Armed with this general overview of what wine goes with what, it should be possible to not only order the perfect wine for your meal in a restaurant, but also serve impeccable wine-pairings at your own dinner parties. The most important thing to take into account when choosing wine is the tastes and preferences of those who will be drinking it. Even if you feel that a fresh, sparkling white will match best with what you are serving, if your guests don’t like that type of wine it simply won’t go down well.
Wine tastings and master classes are frequently held at Foxhills. Keep an eye on our events page for more information, and a chance to ask our sommelier any further questions about how to pair wine with food.