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Practice Makes Perfect When Pairing Food With Wine

Everyone knows I love good food, and it can be made even better when it’s served with an excellent wine. Your favourite wine will fit into either a dry white, sweet white, rich white, sparkling, light red, medium red, bold red or dessert wine varieties. And you can probably remember a dining experience that was made less enjoyable by a poor choice of accompanying wine by either yourself or your host which spoiled the occasion.

Some expertise is required to know which wines go best with certain foods, and there’s a plethora of advice on offer. features five basic tips which provide a good and simple guideline to making the best wine and food pairings at home.

Champion the wine as it needs to shine instead of fighting against the food. Focus on the wine’s particular characteristics and best qualities - a high tannin red wine will taste like sweet cherries when paired with the right dish.

Bitter + Bitter = Bad so try not to pair bitter food and high tannin wine as our taste buds tend to be very sensitive. Green beans with a Cabernet Sauvignon will multiply bitter tastes.

Wine should be sweeter than the food you are pairing. If not, the wine is likely to taste bitter and tart which is why Port is an ideal dessert wine.

Wine should be tarter and have a higher acidity level than the food it’s matched with otherwise it is likely to taste ‘flabby’ or heavy. Serve up a salad with an extra brut Champagne rather than a buttery Chardonnay.

Improve an earthy wine with food that is even earthier such as a delicious mushroom stroganoff as it will help the wine taste more fruity. Old wine on its own can taste very earthy and tart.

There are also some foods that are quite challenging to match with wine including asparagus, green beans, artichokes, brussel sprouts and chocolate.

Keep in mind that wine style and flavour will always be influenced by regional soils and climate with the Hunter renowned for its Semillon and Shiraz grapes. Combine either of those varieties with fresh seafood or a great steak and you can’t go wrong.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to pair food with the right wine my advice is to start to gather some knowledge about wine and its many characteristics, just as you do when you’re cooking and learning about food. There are some great wine clubs, websites, books and even knowledgeable friends that can help you discover how to get the most enjoyment out of your dining experience.

Experimenting can be fun and if at first you don’t succeed… you know the answer!

Scott Webster is a Newcastle-born renowned chef who has worked at leading international hotels and restaurants in Australia and abroad. He owns the award-winning Carrington Place, emporium-style food store Throsby Street Providore, and three star Osia Steak & Seafood Grill in Singapore. Scott is also an international food consultant, manufacturer and exporter.

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