EXQUISITE WINE PAIRING
Choosing the wrong wine can easily turn a great meal out or a swinging dinner party into a culinary disaster. Here are some of the basic rules about pairing wine that can help even the most inexperienced oenophiles get it right.
Staying true to our meaty theme, this issue’s Exquisite Wine Pairing showcases the finest wines that go best with different types and cuts of meat. Our editors also elaborate on the qualities of each to ensure a more satisfying pairing.
The key to pairing most chicken dishes is matching the intensity of the dish with the wine you choose. For light spiced or plain chicken dishes, the white meat pairs well with white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, while the stronger flavoured dark meat also works with medium-bodied
reds wines such as Pinot Noir.
Rich dishes with cream sauces pair really well with oaked Chardonnay or most whites from Côtes du Rhône, whilst chicken paté cries out for a very dry Chenin Blanc. For Chinese sweet and sour try a Moscato or even a sparkling rosé; with Thai or Indian curried chicken or classic spiced Indonesian dishes like ayam betutu, choose a Riesling or Moscato where the inherent sweetness is
a perfect foil to the heat of the sauce.
For smoked, grilled or roast chicken New Zealand’s wonderful Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay is a great option. Subtly oaky and backed by a tremendous fruity character, it also works with chicken
Caesar salad and creamy chicken pasta.
The factor to consider most when pairing with duck is that it is a rich, fatty meat that needs a wine with sharpness and acidity as
well as lasting flavours. More often than not, this leads to a wine where Pinot Noir is the dominant grape, however, how the duck is cooked and what spices are used can alter
the choice dramatically.
Italian duck is often braised with tomato and olives and a quality Chianti Classico matches particularly well. For cold duck, duck rillettes, paté or terrines then a fruity Beaujolais is your
friend, which will provide an epic contrast.
Having made the point about acidity, there are always exceptions. Duck cooked in the
Chinese style with hoisin sauces is one such example and pairs extraordinarily well with Château Clinet Pomerol, one of the
finest merlot blends on the market. This ink-purple wine is silky and intense on the
palate with notes of freshly picked wild fruits sprinkled with spices that balance and
contrast the sweet and salty sauce.