After terroir, wine and food pairing is possibly the next most contentious topic in wine geekery.

Pairing can be complicated, but it needn’t be.  If you get a kick out of meticulously matching the taste profile and personality of your dish and your drop, go for it.

If your perfect match is a packet of cheezels or a full-on cheese platter, I won’t be judging you. If you’re keen for a bit of expert (albeit Eurocentric) guidance, here’s Master of Wine Robert C. Bohmrich’s Wine and Food Pairing Guide. Three things I love about this guide are:

  • The up-front claim that ‘There is only one rule: there are no rules! ‘
  • The excellent section on spicey food
  • The welcome news that champagne pairs with nearly everything

Typically, my pairings are seasonally adjusted. Warmer weather and longer days call for a crisp cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé with fresh grilled fish and salad. Chilly nights and rainy days are for rich reds and bracing beef casseroles.

Sample some sensational Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay

As we head into summer, here are my tips for pairing some top South West drops with fish, fowl, or whatever else you fancy.

Whip up one of Epicurious’s 32 easy spring pasta dishes and sip a glass of  Stormflower’s Sauvignon Blanc, perfect summer wine and certified organic to boot.

Team Delicious mag’s stunning but straightforward Thai chicken curry with a glass of Dawson Estate Chardonnay, savour that freshness and acidity.

Chill tip

Enjoy lighter-bodied white wines like Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc icy cold. But serve your Chardonnay a little warmer. This makes for a bolder, more aromatic tipple.

Put Pinot in your mix

Happs Afternoon Light Pinot Noir is delicious with Rick Stein’s Barbecued butterflied lamb with olive oil chips or Belinda Jeffries’s Barbecued salmon with oregano and caper dressing.

Red meat recommendation

Summer favs such as lamb rack, kangaroo fillet, or a good gourmet snag are a fine fit for our luscious lighter reds. Besides Pinot Noir, you may also fall for our very special Flor Marché Nouveau Sangiovese

A bit about bubbles

On the subject of sparkling, I’m with Mme. Lily Bollinger, who knew a thing or two about champagne. Asked about the right time to drink it, she famously said,

“I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

Sip this lovely bubbly from Eagle bay made in the Prosecco style. Add a dozen oysters. Who knows where that may lead.

A word on campfire cooking

If you love getting off-grid as much as I do, Sarah Glover’s epic tips and fabulous recipes will take your open fire cooking or bush barbeque to a whole other level!.

A divine match with dessert

If you can turn out a perfect pav, I salute you. If a fresh fruit salad floats your dessert boat, you’re my kind of sweet eater.

I predict that a perfectly chilled Oakway Estate’s Moscato will be one of this summer’s star picks. Think delicate fizz with a hint of Turkish delight. How can you resist?

Pass the cheese

To finish with, here’s food for thought from our pairing guide guy, Robert C. Bohmrich.

‘Contrary to conventional wisdom, cheese and wine are not the most perfect of partners. The strong, sharp, pungent tastes of many cheeses together with the fatty coating they leave on our tongues mask and compete with the fine points of wine.’

Debate this over a cheese plate at any of our fine local cellar doors. StormflowerDomaine Naturaliste, Happs, and Oakway Estate are four of my favourites.

Over to you

Got a perfect pairing? Willing to weigh into the cheese plate debate? Can’t find your favourite South West wine in my store?

I’d love to hear from you

Snapped a sensational shot of one of the pairings in this blog

Send it through it on South West Winos social media

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