For decades, New Zealand Wine Society’s Cellar Director Vic Williams’ career has revolved around pairing food and wine. He explained there are six things to take into account when selecting wine for a meal.
The first is fat and acid. “Meals with high fat or fried components should be accompanied by wine that’s high in acid, like a Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s acidity cuts through the fat,” he said.
Then there’s salt and sweet. Vic recommends matching wines with a sweet element, like sweeter Rieslings, with salty dishes. “The sweetness creates a flavour balance and counteracts the salt so both elements shine.”
If you’re dusting the barbecue off for the season, think smoke and oak. Vic says, “Grilling adds an intense characteristic to foods that an oaky wine will match. Think rich, oaked Chardonnay or bold, beautiful reds like a Shiraz.”
It also pays to consider texture and intensity. Delicate wines go with milder foods and bolder wines go with rich flavours so Vic suggests that you find a common ground between the wine and the fare being served.
Then there’s umami and tannin. Vic describes the hard-to-pinpoint element of umami as an earthy taste. Wines with pronounced tannins benefit from meals rich in umami. “The classic example is Pinot Noir with mushroom risotto, and it’s a classic for a reason,” he says.
Your intuition and palate are also key. Vic suggests hosting a dinner party and bringing adventure to your table with wines you can’t find in the supermarket. “The team at New Zealand Wine Society is always happy to help you find the perfect wine, and you can buy with confidence thanks to a home-tasting guarantee,” he says.
Vic says New Zealand Wine Society has just announced their Wines of the Year, so share your table with the winners and take advantage of the GrownUps special below, or at nzwinesociety.co.nz/grownups.