If you’re going to drink wine with your meal, it’s best to get the pairing correct. A good pairing of wine means that both the wine and food will be working in harmony and enhancing the flavours of one another. If the wine pairing is wrong, the food or wine will be overwhelming. We wanted to give you a reference for the perfect wine pairing for your lunch or dinner plans. Using the tips below will help you find the right wine pairing for common food such as steak, seafood, and chicken.
Pairing wines and food is too often stressed about (and debated). True, in these days we no longer abide by rules like “ONLY white with fish” (ever had a coriander and coffee encrusted ahi with Syrah? Amazing!) but we are often confused about how to pair certain flavours and elements of a dish.
Remember, pairing is a funny thing, because every dish has more than just one component. You might try to pair a wine with chicken… but it’s not JUST going to be chicken, is it? Of course not! It will have herbs or spices, a side dish of veggies, etc. There are many things to think about when pairing a dish, but in the end, you must choose which part of the dish you want to emphasize and then match the wine to that element.
Wine Pairings with Steak
There’s really nothing better than a juicy, flavourful steak to go along with your favourite red wine. The components of a red wine are going to pair very nicely and complement the choice of steak for dinner. When pairing your food with your wine, it’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t going to want one to overpower the other so you have to find the perfect balance between the flavours. That’s why steak and red wine go so well together; neither will be overpowered by the flavours of one another.
The number one pairing for Steak is a great Cabernet Sauvignon more often than not. Because of the flavours presented by steak, you’re going to want a proper full-bodied red wine to pair with the steak. The plum, black cherry, blackberry, and spice flavour profile of a typical Cabernet Sauvignon is going to pair perfectly with a hearty red meat steak.
Zinfandel, Merlot, Malbec
You can also pair a Steak with other Red Wine Varietals such as Zinfandel, Merlot, and Malbec. The Zinfandel varietal is a light-bodied red wine but because of the tannins, alcohol content, and acidity the Zinfandel varietal will taste more like a bold red wine. Much of the same can be said about a Merlot or Malbec where you’re most likely going to be getting a medium bodied wine with the flavour profile of black cherry, plum, and tobacco. Regardless of varietal, you’re going to want to pair your red meat with big, bold, full-bodied or medium-bodied red wine.
Wine Pairings with Seafood
Pinot Noir, Syrah
For the wine pairing of Seafood, it really is going to come down to what type of seafood you are having or serving. For Salmon or Ahi Tuna, you’re going to want to pair with a Pinot Noir or even a Syrah, depending on the style of Syrah. For other types of seafood such as grilled fish, you’re going to want to pair it with a red wine that works well with the smokiness of the grilled fish.
For seafood such as shrimp, lobster, sea bass, or trout, you’re going to want to pair these with a white wine. Think of pairing these with either a Chardonnay or Riesling, depending on the flavours of the dish and the style of the Riesling (whether it’s a sweet Riesling or a dry Riesling) or Chardonnay. You’re going to want the wine flavours to pair well with the flavours of your dish.
Wine Pairings with Chicken
Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
You can enjoy your chicken with either a red or white wine depending on your preference as well as how you prepared your chicken. If you prepared your chicken in a light, creamy sauce you’re going to want to go with a white wine such as a versatile Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, or Pinot Gris. You can also pair these white wines with chicken that is prepared with light seasoning or slightly spicy chicken dishes. If you are going to go with a spicy chicken dish or spicy Asian chicken dish, we suggest pairing with a Riesling because of the great fruit-forward flavour.
What is unique about Chardonnay? It’s a decadent wine with sensual body, so it stands up against dishes and flavours when other white wines might fall flat. Despite its body, it still has great acidity, making it perfect for cutting the richness of cream dishes.
Cheese/nuts: mild, semi-soft cheeses with unoaked Chardonnay; Asiago, Havarti, Stilton or other blue-veined cheeses with oaky Chardonnay; almonds and nearly any toasted nut
Meat/poultry: veal, chicken, pork
Seafood: halibut, shrimp, crab, lobster
Fruits and Veggies: potato, apple, squash, mango
Herbs and Spices: tarragon, sesame, basil
Sauces: cream sauces, pesto
Desserts: banana bread, vanilla pudding
Top tip when pairing Chardonnay: make sure your wine doesn’t overwhelm a dish with more subtle flavours. It is known to do so!
For chicken that is prepared with a tomato or Pepper-based sauce, we recommend going with a red wine. A good Merlot would work great here but if you prefer a Cabernet Sauvignon, we say go for it instead. Also, if you’re roasting a chicken, you may look to pair it with a red wine such as a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you prefer a white wine however, we suggest pairing a roasted chicken with Chardonnay.
Chicken wine pairing is similar to seafood in the way that the perfect pairing really comes down to how the dish is prepared, how much and what seasoning to use, is the sauce a light, white sauce or if it is a red sauce, etc.
This crisp, lighter white wine is known for having a high level of acidity and a lot of citrus. It is a great wine to pair with dishes that are lighter yet still packed full of flavour, and the herbaceous qualities often found in the wine often bring out the herbs in a dish. Here are some foods/flavours that go exceptionally well with Sauvignon Blanc:
Cheese/nuts: feta, goat cheese, pine nuts
Meat/poultry: chicken, turkey, pork
Seafood: fatty white fish, oysters, scallops, lobster, shrimp, sushi
Fruits and Veggies: citrus, green apple, asparagus
Herbs and Spices: chives, tarragon, cilantro
Sauces: citrus and light cream sauces
Desserts: sorbet, key lime pie, meringue, mango
Pinot Noir is a funny, funny grape that makes funny, funny wines. Only Pinot Noir can have fruits like cherry alongside descriptors like “forest floor” and “mushroom”. It is truly a beautiful juxtaposition of flavours and aromas.
Although lighter in body, Pinot has some weight behind it and can stand up to some meat dishes. And don’t be afraid to– gasp! –pair it with a heartier fish. I happen to love salmon and Pinot Noir, particularly if it is a winter dish with heartier accompaniments like mushrooms.
Cheese/nuts: goat cheese, brie, walnuts
Meat/poultry: lamb, sausage, filet mignon, chicken
Seafood: ahi tuna, salmon
Fruits and Veggies: mushrooms, dried fruits, figs, strawberries
Herbs and Spices: truffle, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove
Sauces: mushroom sauces, light-medium red sauces
Desserts: creme brulee, white chocolate
At Tipple and Dram, we are a wine bar that also does both retail and barkeep. If you have picked up a nearby restaurant at Ann Siang, Club Street or Chinatown, please head there after picking up your perfectly paired wine. In fact, Tipple and Dram is close to most restaurants in CBD area of Singapore. We even offer mains that’ll definitely have a suitable pairing within our wine bar in Singapore. At Tipple and Dram, we’ve spent hours in the kitchen crafting meals that’ll blend seamlessly with your choice of wine. We’re one of the wine bars in Ann Siang Hill, Singapore that puts in so much effort in making sure that your whole experience is nothing short of fantastic.