Drinks

Choose the per­fect wine and food pair­ing and you’ll be swip­ing right like a Tin­der su­per­star, says Mike Ben­nie.

delicious - - CONTENTS -

Mike Ben­nie on the alchemy of a per­fect food and wine pair­ing.

WINE AND FOOD

match­ing is by no means an ex­act art. Som­me­liers are wine waiters (and much more) with the job of syn­chro­nis­ing things on plates with things in glasses. That sort of de­means the task of as­cer­tain­ing what a diner wants, what a diner likes, what a diner is eat­ing and whether the pair­ing will work.

For award-win­ning som­me­lier Cait­lyn Rees, from Fred’s in Syd­ney, “my ap­proach is to choose a wine or bev­er­age that will nei­ther over­shadow nor be over­shad­owed by the dish. The two should com­ple­ment each other. I feel like it works when you keep go­ing back to the wine, then the food, then back again be­cause the com­bi­na­tion is more en­joy­able.”

With that think­ing, clas­sic matches see ries­ling or semil­lon paired with oys­ters, where the tart, tangy whites work like a fi­nal squeeze of lemon juice with a wealth of seafood. And lamb seems to find great syn­co­pa­tion with caber­net sauvi­gnon and caber­net blends. For duck, it’s pinot noir.

Pair­ing a coun­try or re­gion’s cui­sine with a wine or drink of that place can also be a de­cent path­way to suc­cess­ful food and drink match­ing. For ex­am­ple, some of Aus­tralia’s lesser-known grape va­ri­eties of Ital­ian ori­gin seem to be kin­dred with red sauce Ital­ian pasta dishes and pizza.

How­ever, it’s not al­ways so cut and dried. Matt Swieboda of Syd­ney wine bars Love, Tilly Devine and Dear Sainte Eloise takes a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive: bot­tle first, dish sec­ond. “Wine is the main at­trac­tion, so we de­sign our menu to work well with a range of wine styles. This is made eas­ier by most of the wines shar­ing com­mon themes of low al­co­hol, high acid and savoury flavours.” It’s a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, but rules are made to be bro­ken.

In­deed, I say en­joy your own ad­ven­tures in food and wine, and though co­he­sion be­tween glass and plate can make or break a meal, in the end, it’s up to per­sonal taste. It’s why I drink big-flavoured chardon­nay with my steak, at times.

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