Match wine with food
Opinion wavers on clear rights and wrongs when it comes to food and wine matching, but certain flavours bring out the best in each other. Use our guide as a rule of thumb, but most of all, enjoy the wine you drink.
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Probably the first red wine that you drank in an Italian restaurant, Barbera goes well with tomato-based dishes and those from the North of Italy.
A global classic, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be medium or full bodied, and is a great match to hearty dishes such as roast lamb and beef, and more complex dishes such as coq au vin.
Going to a barbie? Take along a bottle of Gamay. It's ideal served alongside griddled veg, barbecued sardines or spicy sausages. Pop in the fridge for an hour before opening, and serve lightly chilled.
The perfect partner to hearty and rustic dishes, game and cassoulet. Charter a couple of labradors, stalk across some windblown countryside, then come home to roast venison...
The Argentinian favourite - Malbec is at its best as a match to grilled steak.
Pair Merlot with your Christmas turkey or Sunday lunch of roast chicken. It also pairs well with roast duck and wintry casseroles.
A young 'Barbaresco' will go well with a platter of cold meats, while 'Barolo' is best with richer dishes, such as braised beef.
Right from the Southern heel of Italy, Negroamaro (literally 'bitter black') is a good match for pasta bakes and spicy sausage dishes.
Medium bodied Pinot Noir will happily grace any Christmas dinner table - it's ideal with roast turkey and roast lamb. It's also works well with creamy, mild soft cheeses - try the cheese with rough oat cakes.
Red Pinotage is a natural with barbecued steak and sausages - think beach parties and Southern African 'braai'.
This largely Italian red grape partners well with rich meat sauces on pasta - or try it with a pepperoni pizza, at home or in a restaurant.
Syrah / Shiraz
This grape produces full bodied wines that go particularly well with grilled steaks and roasted vegetables. A winter warmer.
The bright red juicy wines from the Tempranillo grape are a perfect match to roast lamb, roasted vegetables and mushrooms, especially vegetarian main courses.
A medium to full bodied wine, Zin goes well with sautéed field mushrooms or heartier dishes such as roast venison.
This is the wine to pair with the simplest, freshest shellfish, especially prawns, langoustines, mussels and raw oysters.
Chardonnay is medium to full bodied, and is an ideal accompaniment to roast chicken and turkey. Or, try 'oaky' or 'oaked' Chardonnay with smoked salmon or trout.
Try a dry Chenin Blanc alongside straightforward roast pork, or pork with prunes. Sweet Chenin Blancs pair well with a tangy lemon dessert or a bread and butter pudding.
Try light to medium bodied Colombard with a goat's cheese salad or root vegetable soups, such as carrot or parsnip. It also goes well with chicken in creamy sauces.
Gewürztraminer has sweet and dry styles. Dry is ideal with Asian flavours and spiced foods, while sweet suits fruit tarts and creamy blue cheeses.
Drink dry or off-dry Muscat on its own as an aperitif. Sweet styles go well with honeyed pastries such as baklava, while fortified styles are good on their own, with ice cream or even with fruit cake. Sparkling Muscat is a versatile match to many sweet puddings.
Enjoy Pinot Grigio with friends, without food. If you're having Chinese, then Pinot Gris goes well with dim sum, spring rolls and duck.
Delicate German Riesling's are perfect as an aperitif, while the young New World styles go well with dishes such as Thai green curry and chicken korma. On a sweeter note, try delicate sweet versions with apple crumble, and save the sweetest to drink with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Drink dry styles with goat's cheese, as the French do with 'Sancerre'. If you have a sweet bottle, in Bordeaux, the classic match is foie gras. Or, try creamy blue cheese, or caramelised peaches or plums.
Fish cakes and a dry Semillon are a match made in heaven, while apricot tart, treacle sponge, or other sweet traditional puddings, are perfect with sweet styles.