One way to impress guests this Christmas is knowing how to pair a good wine with delicious food, without compromising the flavours of either.
We recently visited Bibendum, a leading drinks supplier, to learn more about wine pairing. Here, Rob Kirby, Chef Director at Lexington, runs through the six wines we tasted and offers some food pairing tips.
Traditionally different grapes were grown to compliment specific dishes from the same area, France and Italy being the most famous for this.
With global palettes and wine growers exploring new terroirs, including the UK, this is no longer the case. Wine certainly enhances flavours and can be the icing on the cake with a good meal, however there shouldn’t be any hard rules because everyone’s palette is different.
The best thing to do is get out to a good wine shop, get cooking and pop that cork!
1. Els Pyreneus La Cote Flamenc Picpoul de Pinet 2015
This is an easy drinking, medium-bodied dry white wine which is fresh, clean and full of citrus fruit flavours.
FOOD PAIRING: It’s a wine that goes perfectly with seafood, shellfish and light lunches. This will go beautifully with a prawn cocktail starter this Christmas.
2. Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Bright and fresh with aromas and flavours of citrus, stone fruit and a big hit of gooseberry. A well-balanced wine, with a refreshing finish, that matches well with food.
FOOD PAIRING: This wine pairs well with seafood, salads, tomato and lemon. This zesty wine will work perfectly with a smoked salmon starter – the acidity cutting through the oiliness of the fish.
3. Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay 2014
A wine full of the flavours of citrus, melon and pineapple fruit, with well-integrated toasty, vanilla notes. Divided the room with half loving it and the other half, well, not so much…
FOOD PAIRING: It pairs perfectly with meatier dishes, especially poultry and pork and it works really well with rich, creamy dishes like a risotto or creamy pasta sauce. If you’re looking for a white wine to stand up to your turkey try this.
4. Riva Leone Barbaresco 2009
Full bodied wine with heady aromatics. The tannins are the backbone of the wine and it has strong black peppery notes.
FOOD PAIRING: This wine is the perfect companion to your goose this Christmas. It pairs nicely with a rich and rustic dish, game or steak!
5. Catena Malbec 2014
Argentinian red wine, which is rich on the palate, with black cherry and red currant fruit flavours layered with sweet spices and plenty of peppery spice.
FOOD PAIRING: If you are going for beef this Christmas then this full-bodied wine is the one for you. It can also stand up to a heavy weight cheddar too.
6. Castillo Clavijo Rioja Alta Reserva 2010
This wine is aged for up to 24 months in French and American oak casks, giving this wine real complexity, with ripe mature fruit, lots of spice and vanilla oak flavours.
FOOD PAIRING: This wine pairs well with lamb shanks, grilled meats and charcuterie. It’s a great wine to serve with your turkey and all the festive trimmings.