A modernista’s guide to wine and food matching.

Words Joelle Thomson



Tangible Media

Wine Notices

Do you match the wine to the food or the food to the wine? And do the old adages still stand, that white wine is best with fish and red wine with meat? If wine and food matching seems like an old-fashioned rather than modern pastime to you, join the club. We’ve all heard that white wine is too light a match for a medium-rare Argentinian steak and a big bold shiraz is an overpowering wine to drink with a delicate sliver of white fish, but rules are made to be broken, such as that time when we ate fish ’n’ chips on the beach with a light-bodied pinot noir and it tasted like heaven. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Well, yes and no. When it comes to food and wine matching, the old rules applied because they evolved around traditional wine styles in regions where the variety of food was limited to what naturally grew or grazed in that area and was grown or caught for dinner. Today we live in a world where sushi is de rigueur and lentils and mushrooms are a perfectly valid alternative to beef bourguignon. This column features a bunch of beautiful New Wave suggestions for modern matches, which will hopefully encourage us to throw caution to the wind and find wine and food pairings that really do taste as if they were made in heaven. This is not the be all and end all of food and wine matches, only a new look at some classics. Try these modern matches out for size. GREAT BASIC MODERN MATCHES: • Fish ’n’ chips: champagne or the best bubbly you can a ord. • Pizza: light reds such as beaujolais or gamay (think Amois, Easthope and Mount Edward). • Potato rösti: chardonnay or verdicchio (if you have access to a decent bottle store). • Roast mushrooms with parmesan: a good pinot noir. • Sashimi: full-bodied sauvignon blanc, such as Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon. • Tomato-based pasta: Southern Italian reds or Spanish tempranillo. • Vegetarian burgers: full-bodied reds such as syrah or a weighty pinot noir. • Warm olives: savoury reds such as Côtes du Rhône and Chianti.