How to pair wine with meat dishes
If meat is on the menu for dinner, lunch (or even breakfast!), and you want a wine to complement the flavours, you’ve come to the right spot. Here you’ll learn the best way to take advantage of a red wine’s tannins with a rustic, meaty steak, or use the finer citrus flavours of a white wine with a chicken or pork dish. Read on to find out how to pair your wine perfectly with meat dishes.
Pairing wine with Beef
Red meat goes well with red wine, and as a rule, the heavier and more succulent the meat, the bolder the red required. While there are some whites that may complement the odd beef meal, most lighter varietals can be overwhelmed by heartiness and flavour of the meat.
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When picking a wine to complement your beef, the cut and how the beef has been cooked are vitally important. A leaner meat, such as filet mignon or thin cuts of sirloin deserve a wine with less tannin, because the steak will not have enough fat to soften bolder reds. On the other hand, a fatty beef dish deserves a hearty red with heavy tannins that can counter and tame the meats fat.
If your beef has a healthy serving of herbs and spices, then pairing it with an equally spicy wine such as Shiraz is a wonderful choice, as is an intense red Zinfandel.
Pairing wine with Chicken
Chicken is a very easy to pair dish, as almost any wine can be paired. While there are no hard and fast rules for pairing, here are some guidelines worth following.
If you are having a creamy chicken dish, chicken curry or a stroganoff, you cannot go wrong with a Viognier wine. The rich Viognier grape has a rugged fruity earthiness to it that goes serenely with the creaminess of the dish.
If your chicken dish has quite a bit of tomato in it, then a Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti can work well to round off and smooth the strong, acidic tomato characters of the meal.
Barbequed chicken, complete with seasoning, marinade and sauces can make for a difficult wine-pairing foe. You will need a strong wine to stand face to face with the BBQ chickens robust flavours. A powerful fruity red with high alcohol content will do the trick. A Shiraz can’t be beat but a Zinfandel or Chianti will also complement the BBQ chickens bombardment of flavours.
Pairing wine with Lamb
Though lamb is a young meat and has developed less flavour than mutton, it is still a red meat and so pairs quite well with red wines. If the meal is lightly flavoured, such as lamb chops or roast, a Pinot Noir is a good choice, as it will not overpower the lighter meat. For stronger flavoured dishes head for the stronger, bolder reds such as Merlot, Shiraz or Zinfandel. Ethnic dishes with spices, or dishes heavily flavoured with herbs and garlic will all take well to a stronger red.
Pairing wine with Pork
When pairing wine and pork, it’s good to know that a good strong red wine will not disappoint. A well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon goes nicely with Pork dishes, especially those dosed with a good serving of herbs. Bold dishes with lots of crispy fat require a spicy red with low tannin and a good dose of acidity to help cut through the fat, such as a Zinfandel. For the adventurous types, a white Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon can go well, especially if it has strong apple notes to compliment roast pork. Sweeter pork dishes tend to work well with Chianti, but be careful; if the meal isn’t sweet enough it will be overpowered by the wine. And while a glass of red before midday is out of the question, when serving bacon and eggs, a sparkling white can go down a real treat.