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Where there is good food, there must be good wine to go with it!

riesling and beef anyone?
So do you match food with wine or people with wine? Well I do not claim to be an expert in pairing food with wine but I want to explore the widely accepted beliefs. That of red with red meat and white with white meat; sweeter dessert wine than the dessert itself and why some pairings work better than others.

contrasts and similarities
Why do we love honey and soy chicken wings on a BBQ? The contrast of the savory saltiness of the soy sauce with the sweet, fruity honey is great. So this would explain the contrasting combination of a fresh and acidic white wine with a rich, oily fish dish, where the wine is different in character to the food, yet still complimentary (similar to what lemon does to the fish). Or the classic contrasting example of Sauternes and foie gras.

On the flip side the combination of a sweet wine with dessert is an example of food and wine complimenting one another, both working together through their similar trait, sweetness.

featured grape: sauvignon blanc
A green-skinned grape variety, it originates from Bordeaux region of France. It produces a crisp, dry white wine. The most notable varities include Suaternes and Sancerre. When drinking a sauv, it is best to serve cold. It is a very good partner for seafood. The wine is usually consumed young, as it does not particularly benefit from aging (except a white Burgundy) - so select a wine from a more recent vintage, where freshness and intensity are at a maximum.

The 2009 Catalina Sounds Sauvignon Blanc the other night was an absolute winner with oysters (with a light ginger, soy and grapefruit vinaigrette). Colour: pale lemon, Nose: grapefruit and jasmine, followed by delicate fresh pineapple, palate: intense flavours of lemon zest and fresh pineapple, good acid balance, and great length. The palate is textural and complex, with a pleasant long finish. These new world whites are fermented at 12-14 C (in contrast French winemakers prefer warmer fermentations of around 16-18 C).

Next time we will have a look at Elephant Hill wines from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand...