Strawberries and champagne, white wine and fish, red wine and beef, we’ve all heard the basics about wine pairings. If things around the dinner table have gotten a little ho-hum, it might be time to branch out. These days, the availability of versatile wine is staggering. With online wine shops offering free shipping, it seems almost any bottle is within reach. Even discovering a favourite wine while on vacation can lead to your new table wine.
With that in mind, consider trying one of these more unique food and wine pairings.
Red Wine: When it comes to red wines, most people are looking for a smooth wine with rich flavour. Look no further than an Italian Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel), one of Italy’s finest varieties. The Pillastro Primitivo 2010 is an especially delicious and affordable choice, highly rated among wine drinkers. The oak aging gives this wine spice and vanilla flavours, with fruity raspberry and spiced plum aromas. Pair your Primitivo with a hearty game stew, or a pasta dish (like lasagna) with a full-bodied tomato sauce. For a creative twist, experiment with different meats in your lasagna, beyond beef and veal. You can also try Primitivo with barbecued and grilled meats. For cheese pairings, go with Asiago, Gouda or goat cheese.
White Wine: If you like Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll love Verdelho. This wine is native to Portugal, but has become a popular table wine in Australia. It’s zesty and fresh, with vibrant fruit flavours. The Warburn Estate Verdelho 2010 is a reasonably-priced Australian variety that’s sure to please. Verdelho is a great pick when you want spicier food, like Asian or Thai, or lemon-seasoned fish. For something a little simpler, Verdelho pairs wonderfully with chicken dishes. You can also serve to guests on its own when they arrive, or better yet, with some freshly shucked oysters.
Champagne: Champagne is usually a safe bet for any celebration, from the beginning of the night, all the way through to the end. Some folks are even pairing it with popcorn! Serve champagne with rich, buttery desserts and they’ll balance each other out perfectly, or stick to seafood like shrimp and shellfish. Laithwaite’s recommends the Jean-Noël Haton Brut Classic Blanc de Noirs NV. This champagne is half Pinot Noir, half Meunier (hence Blanc de Noirs classification). They hand-select the grapes from the family’s vineyards in Damery, and age this Brut Classic on its lees for 18 months. The result is deep body and extra complexity, with fine bubbles and freshness.