Unusual Wine Pairings to try when Dining Out
When eating at top restaurants, there are often some predictable expectations when it comes to pairing wine with food. So predictable, in fact, that even at the best restaurants, people tend to stick with the same wine pairing rules that their grandfathers were brought up with. Now, we won’t say there are NO rules to pairing food with wine, whether at home or at fine dining restaurants, because there are. Bitter goes with sweet, acid goes with fatty, and always white wine with fish, to name just a few. But rules, as they say, are made to be broken, and we’ve got a few magic combinations most people won’t have tried before.
Mexican & Fruity White
Most people reach instinctively for a Corona and a shot of tequila while enjoying Mexican food, but there are drawbacks – beer tends to fill you up faster so you can’t eat as many of those irresistible enchiladas, and of course, some people just don’t like beer. Try a fruity white instead, such as a German Riesling. The fresh, fruity flavours balance out the spiciness of Mexican food, and its acidity serves as a palate cleanser which intensifies the flavour of every mouthful. Serve it ice-cold for maximum enjoyment.
Sushi and Dry Rosè
Many sushi enthusiasts choose white wine, sake or an Asian beer when hitting the sushi buffet, but trust us, you want to try it with Rosè instead. The pleasant berry flavours of a good pink wine won’t overpower the delicate flavour of the sushi (it works especially well with salmon), and it will bring out the subtle sweetness of the rice. It’s also great with the type of greasy fare you usually find at sushi restaurants, like tempura and spring rolls. The acidity and sweetness of pink wine cut through the fat perfectly.
Champagne and Bar Snacks
By bar snacks, we of course mean the salty favourites: crackers, chips, nuts and (in South Africa, anyway), biltong. As well as being salty, many of these foods are also fatty, meaning that a crisp sparkling wine is its ideal partner. Champagne perfectly quenches the dryness that comes with eating salty foods, and its bubbly fizz helps clear salty and oily residues from the mouth, so you can keep on munching away.
Oysters and a Light Red
Red wine with oysters – it feels so wrong and yet somehow it’s just right. Choose a light, young red, such as Beaujolais. These wines won’t overpower the delicate flavour of the oyster meat, but have plenty of body and a hint of spice to stand up to their salty tang. Any light red will do, just make sure it doesn’t have any of the heavy fruity flavours or rough tannins of Cabernet or Shiraz, which would ruin a good plate of oysters. While these combinations might seem a little outlandish, we guarantee that once you try them, you’ll be amazed at how well they work together. We at Pigalle believe that there’s only one unbreakable rule when it comes to wine pairing – just pick your favourite, and you’ll never go wrong!
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