23 Apr My 5 Favorite Food And Wine Pairings
What is it about wine bottles that make me want to travel? The labels written in a foreign language? The unique shapes? The unpronounceable grape varietals? Maybe it came from my childhood in Australia where my parents would return from one of their many trips, pull a few exotic bottles from their luggage and start into the captivating stories that went along with them.
But, I didn’t have to travel with my parents to find the fascination that came with their wine when they returned. And you don’t have to visit Burgundy to taste the most wonderful Pinot Noir or drive around the Tuscan countryside to get dizzy on amazing Sangiovese. While that does sound like a wonderful idea, you can do all of this in the comfort of your own home at an affordable price. With a little help from me, The Aussie Somm, we can explore the world of wine together – one bottle at a time.
People have been pairing wine with food for thousands of years. It’s always more enjoyable this way, so have a little fun with it! Prepare a simple meal, open a bottle and explore my food and wine pairings. I follow this simple rule: The more I spend on the food, the more I spend on the wine. If I prepare filet mignon, I’ll have a nice Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ll pair pizza, on the other hand, with a simple Italian Chianti. You’ll see this reflected in the pairings below.
So – that said, here are my five favorite food and wine pairings designed to transport you to some of the world’s most amazing wine regions. The meals are easy to prepare and all of the wines are priced under $30 and available at your local wine shop or supermarket. If you want further inspiration, immerse yourself in the websites listed below – you won’t be disappointed.
FOOD: Grilled BBQ prawns (that’s Aussie Somm speak for shrimp) wrapped in bacon, drizzled with garlic olive oil.
WINE: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand. $27. www.cloudybay.co.nz.
WHY: Perfect on a hot summer day, drink this wine chilled and eat your shrimp hot off the barbie. My taste buds did backflips the first time I had this pairing. When was the last time yours did that?
FOOD: Rack of lamb with rosemary on a bed of mashed potatoes.
WINE: Elderton Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia. $19. www.eldertonwines.com.au.
WHY: The richness of the lamb requires a well-structured red wine to hold up to it. This beauty from the Ashmead boys at Elderton does just the trick.
FOOD: Peppered pork medallions with warm applesauce.
WINE: Catena Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. $20. www.catenawines.com.
WHY: This medium-bodied red has a lovely red fruit and peppery component that pairs beautifully with this pork dish. Remember: light food and light wine work well together. Don’t care for apples? Substitute cranberry sauce.
FOOD: Freshly shucked natural oysters.
WINE: Jantz Premium Cuvee Brut Sparkling Wine, Tasmania, Australia. $22. www.jantz.com.au. WHY: You don’t need expensive bottle of Champagne to enjoy this classic pairing and your wallet will thank you. While I affectionately call anything with bubbles in it ‘bubbles’, only bubbles made in Champagne can be labeled Champagne. These bubbles are made in Australia so must be called sparkling wine. God love the French, but the Aussies do a great job here.
WHY: You don’t need expensive bottle of Champagne to enjoy this classic pairing and your wallet will thank you. While I affectionately call anything with bubbles in it ‘bubbles’, only bubbles made in Champagne can be labeled Champagne. These bubbles are made in Australia so must be called sparkling wine. God love the French, but the Aussies do a great job here.
FOOD: Creamy chicken and crispy pancetta pasta.
WINE: Caymus Conundrum White, California, USA. $21. www.conundrumwines.com.
WHY: This wine truly is a conundrum because they don’t name the varietals used. All you need to know it that it is a lovely white that pairs beautifully with the richness of the cream sauce. Conundrum is from California, so the grapes have been blessed with lots of sun, giving this full bodied wine a rich fruit flavor.
Australian Clare Tudor, The Aussie Somm, is a Certified Sommelier, Educator, and Global Traveller with a passion for sharing her knowledge of wine. For more information, go to www.aussiesomm.com.