Matching food and wine
A “good” match of food and wine results from researching flavours which complement one another. The main rule to remember: “The wine being served should never set a precedent”
- With sparkling wine: Perfect as an aperitif! Associated with not too delicate or spicy flavours, or with bite sized cheeses.
- With white wine: Dishes based on fish and seafood are a perfect match for a white wine!
- With rosé wine: Virtually everything matches rosé wine, with its fruits, its aromas of small red berries, and its charming colour! Choose a subtle wine to avoid overpowering the food.
- With red wine: Choose a light, tender red wine, which is low in tannins for matching meats, small biscuits and meat tapas.
- With sweet wine: A sweet wine will be perfect for those who only have a sweet tooth, or for those who want a sweet and savoury appetiser.
White wines and red wines will feature in the majority of starters such as tarts, cakes, mini-pizzas, doughnuts, and other pastries.
- With seafood: Generally speaking, seafood is served with a rather light white wine so that it does not overpower the flavours. If the sauce is quite salty or intense, or if you wish to eat a tuna steak, then a slightly tannic red wine may prove to be a suitable match.
- With hors d’oeuvres: White wines and rosé wines take centre stage with raw vegetables and salads. Whether red, or white, a sparkling wine will also provide an excellent accompaniment to smoked salmon. And choose crisp red wines low in tannin for meats.
- Tarts, quiches, puff pastries…: With fairly simple dishes, choose a wine which is easy to drink such as a dry white wine, a rosé wine or a light and fruity red wine. Quiches work better with a dry, non-vintage white wine, which has the freshness and liveliness to balance the rich character of the dish. On the other hand, white wine must have a certain full-bodied feature in order to counteract the saltiness of the bacon. As for puff pastries, you can dare to try wines which are a little more elaborate depending on the garnish being served.
- Foie gras: A classic: the combination of foie gras and sweet white wine. If you want to be a little more original, dare to try a dry but full-bodied white wine, or a sparkling wine.
- Soups: Sparkling wines generally go well with soups. If the soup is richer, or consists of meat, then you can serve a slightly tannic red, fruity wine.
As a general rule, fish and seafood are served with a white wine. Fish is actually a delicacy which can be ruined quickly with a tannic or oaked red wine. For most seafood, such as oysters and meaty fish, choose a white wine which has not been aged inside barrels, and which will not destroy the flavours. A red wine may even match a rather salty or intense sauce and a tuna steak.
- With grilled fish: Choose a lively wine to complement grilled fish which itself is rather rich.
- With smoked fish: Match this to full-bodied white wines with pungent aromas which will not detract from the smoked element of the dish.
- With raw fish: Choose a simple, lively, and fruity wine to add a sense of lightness to the dish.
- With fish in sauce: Retain the sweetness of the dish by choosing a full-bodied or oaked white wine.
- With seafood: The iodine in seafood makes it difficult to choose a wine. In order to avoid any mistakes, choose a lively, strong wine with a hint of minerals.
The selected cut, the way the meat is cooked, and the sauces which accompany these are as important as the type of meat itself when it comes to choosing wine.
- With lamb: The strong structure of red wines will enhance your dish. Choose a mature wine.
- With beef: How it is matched depends largely on how the meat is prepared. With beef, however, you will not go wrong by choosing a fruity and tannic red wine.
- With poultry: Whatever the colour of the wine is, the key is to choose a wine which is not too strong so that it detracts from the taste of the poultry. Therefore, avoid tannic red wines, or oaked white wines.
- With duck: For duck which has been cooked previously, choose a powerful, spicy and rather tannic wine. Exception: Duck foie gras: choose a dessert wine (sweet).
- With pork: Pork is a rich meat which does not go well with tannins. We must therefore choose a strong, albeit slightly tannic wine.
Contrary to tradition, red wine is not a must with cheese. Besides, the best matches with cheese are not obtained with red wine. Often too structured and acidic, the rich character of the cheese brings out the tannins in some red wines. If you really want a red wine, then choose a slightly tannic red, which is light, versatile – rather “easy” to drink.
- Soft bloomy-rind cheese: Choose a Blanquette wine with a smooth and creamy cheese. If you wish to serve a red wine, then choose a very slightly tannic wine, which is light, versatile – rather “easy” to drink.
- Soft washed-rind cheese: If the cheese is particularly fragrant with an orange crust, and is moist with light-beige inner texture, then choose a distinctive and aromatic white wine with a sense of liveliness in order to balance the powerful aroma of the cheese with the flavours of the wine.
- Pressed uncooked cheese: These cheeses are soft and mellow. They are the only ones which can be matched with fleshy and spicy wines. If you serve a white wine, then choose a full-bodied and expressive type to unveil the fruity character of the cheese.
- Pressed cooked cheese: These give fruity and nutty notes and go very well with full-bodied white wines – releasing buttery, slightly oaked, and even dried-fruit final notes.
- Veined cheese: Veined cheeses release powerful aromas. Very sweet wines such as Muscat provide an excellent match for this type of cheese.
- Goat’s cheese: There are various types of goat cheese: from the freshest to the most refined. Dry cheese works very well with a sweet wine, whereas fresh cheese can be matched with lively, fruity white wines.
Sweet wines will offer an infinite range of colour from golden yellow to deep garnet, according to the geographical location and the type of grape. In order to find a good match between food and wine, choose sweet wines where the colour most closely mirrors the food. For example: a very dark sweet garnet wine with a dark chocolate dessert.
- With chocolate: Sweet wine is an excellent match, especially when the chocolate recipe is accompanied by red fruits such as cherries. Red wine and chocolate also go together superbly! Solid and full-bodied dark chocolate provides the perfect match for a tannic red wine. You will find this type of red wines in most of the Languedoc-Roussillon wine appellations.
- With caramel: Choose an amber coloured sweet wine with a caramel dessert.
- With cream: Banyuls and Muscat de Rivesaltes know how to accompany your dessert to perfection.
- With fruit: Red fruit desserts and Muscat wines go well together thanks to their respective aromatic richness. Choose a fruity sparkling wine if you prefer white flesh fruits.