At the London based independent brokerage BWC Management & Consulting, it is all about the quest to explore the finer things in life. We believe that the delicate balance that a top quality wine brings to the palate, when correctly combined with culinary fare, is a voyage everybody should regularly embark on. Wine is not only a flavour enhancer, but also an excellent alternative investment and an age old art form. To harness the full potential of this exquisite liquid, it is important to be aware of the social decorum attached to tasting and drinking wine – and also to know a bit more about the wines and how to successfully pair it with food.
It is not Just About Swirling and Sniffing
Wine can be enjoyed in many different ways but most commonly as an aperitif, at the table during a meal or as an end to a meal to provide a sweet closure. Temperature is the first consideration and a good rule of thumb is to serve red wine at 18C and white wine at 11C. Depending on the age of the wine, it should be decanted between 30 minutes and an hour before being served. This allows the wine to breathe and improves the flavour and aroma. Red wines in particular are enhanced with aeration. Use a stemmed glass to keep the temperature stable, enjoy the bouquet and finally savour the taste. The fundamental food and wine pairing rules are: red with meat and white with fish, and the heavier the meal, the more robust the wine should be.
The full-bodied, earthy and spicy flavour of a quality Shiraz is ideal with red meat and hearty stews and the celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon can be similarly matched with stronger flavours. Merlot is softer and more flexible when paired with food. This wine’s signature ’round’ taste makes it easy to drink with a large variety of dishes. The complexity that Pinot Noir offers is particularly well matched with chicken, lamb and salmon.
Versatile and balanced, Riesling increases in intensity with age and complements most chicken and fish dishes. Spicy food is particularly enhanced with the fruity flavour of Gewürztraminer and the wider-bodied Chardonnay is ideal with flavourful seafood dishes like smoked fish. Young Chardonnay suits Italian dishes and the older and smoother Chardonnay is better suited to being enjoyed with strong flavours like mature cheese. The crisp elegance of Sauvignon Blanc is a distinguished accompaniment to even the most delicate fish dishes, while also being suitable to poultry and light meals like salads.
To end it all
In conclusion, a good dessert wine brings the journey of flavours full circle. It appeases the senses and leaves the diner ready for yet another taste adventure, made particularly enjoyable by having the right wine as travel companion.