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Food Ramblings - Wine and Food Compatibility

Arthur Huxley - 02-06-2019

We received a note from one of our Queensland Wine and Food Society subscribers mentioning that while Umami flavour is all good and well, it should be remembered that many dishes are happily accompanied by wine. So compatibility of wine with food is important.

Our subscriber points out that there is little point in creating wonderful textures and flavours with your food only to submerge all the good work under a dominating and sometimes inferior and incompatibile wine.

We agree. The Wine and Food Societies around Australia have made wine and food compatibility an artform and their understanding of this should be passed on to all Home Chefs.

And it is simple enough. Let your recipe take the lead, noting the overriding flavours of your dish and then bringing in the wine to act as support and flavour builder and enhancer.

Typical would be a good Australian Riesling that will pick up the flavour of seafood, especially a Riesling with lovely crisp, acid/lemon/apple citrus notes from the Clare Valley or Eden Valley, South Australia.

The wine balance and structure will sharpen the delicate flavours and carry your seafood to new heights.

Now try the same dish with, say, one of the many Sauvignon Blanc wines around with little acid balance and flabby fruit flavour and see what it does to your palate and your culinary efforts. Dreadful.

Of course there are some good, well made Sauvignon Blanc wines available and these can be a good match with Asian and in particular, Thai food. Just a matter of selecting the right wine.

The same follows for red wines. Your very best beef casserole will benefit with a good Shiraz, Cabernet or Cabernet Merlot style of wine but will smother a Pinot Noir red - pleasant enough but of little use to the casserole.

Sort of the reverse of a white wine controlling the dish, but the point remains.

Once the framework is in place it then becomes a matter of personal taste. The lovers of Chardonnay are aware that the wine works beautifully with Pork, creamy Seafood dishes, Risottos and the like, while a Riesling does not work so well with a dairy base.

And the many Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio followers will tell you that their wine is a knockout with Asian, Indian, creamy Pasta and white Cheese. They really are wonderful wines although not strong with sweet dishes or desserts.

Its all a matter of finding which wine works best with. and expresses best, your favourite recipe and food style. Hard work but somebody has to do it.

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