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Wined and Dined: Matching food and wine

Calum Stenning

Food and wine – name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait…

There might be no experience more religious. The Greeks knew it. The Romans knew it. But not all food and wine pairings are created equal, so what makes a winning combination?

According to Sarah Collingwood from Four Winds Vineyard, it doesn’t hurt to start with the basics.

“Some wines have such a natural food match,” explains Sarah. “It’s hard to go past the Italian grape Sangiovese matched with tomato-based sauces over pasta, or Shiraz with a red meat like a Lamb Roast.”

Why does one pairing work over another? Personal taste can’t be overlooked, but the science of it comes down to flavour profiles.

“I am really enjoying Rosé at the moment and I love it with some of the fresh, zesty tastes of Mexican or Thai food,” says Sarah.

“I also love how a Riesling with citrus flavours cuts through the delicious oils of an Indian curry.”

Sarah explains that you can also look at the “weight” of your meal or of your wine if you’re building a meal around a special bottle (no judgement here).

“It is always a good idea to look at the weight of food and wine and trying to make them comparable, a hearty dish would be best matched with a heavier wine (such as a Cabernet Merlot), while a fresh, light salad or fish would be best matched with a lighter wine like a Pinot Noir,” says Sarah.

With these concepts of flavour profiles and weight in mind, the doors are open to get a little creative with how you pair, and with over 140 vineyards and more than 33 wineries within a 35-minute drive from Canberra, those who aren’t exploring our viticultural highlights, should be.

“We often joke about pouring a little fortified Shiraz over vanilla ice-cream or eating salty potato chips and champagne – both surprisingly delicious!” recommends Sarah.

So what about simple rules-of-thumb for those who want to try their hand at pairing wine and food?

“You can look at elements in the dish and the wine that will complement each other; the citrus characters in a Riesling go well with a dish that might have a squeeze of lime in it,” says Sarah.

“Most importantly you should enjoy the wine and the food on their own; matching doesn’t need to be complicated.”

If you often find yourself starting at the plethora of bottles before you at the liquor store, wondering whether it was Cab Sav that pairs with lamb, or you simply can’t tell your Barossa reds from a bar of soap, help is on the way.

The Canberra Wine House’s Long Lunch promises to break down the fancy language barrier around pairing wine and food and distill (if you will) the knowledge into bite-sized pieces (sorry).

The event will be held in their breezy outdoor garden and Sarah herself will be presiding over the wine matches along with fellow local vineyard Lerida Estate.

Over three courses, the winemakers will share the secrets of the Canberra wine region and illustrate what pairings they chose and why. Hopefully, you’ll walk away with a cheat sheet to pairing Canberra region wines, as well as a very satisfied palate.

the essentials

What: The Canberra Wine House Long Lunch
When: Saturday 4 March 2017 at 12pm
Where: The Canberra Wine House, 2 Badham Street, Dickson
Tickets: $80 per person
Booking: Call 6162 5656 or book online

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Calum Stenning

Calum Stenning is Her Canberra’s newest and most male (read: only) intern. Three years spent living overseas has given him a renewed appreciation for Canberra life. Every day starts with coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald crossword at a favourite coffee haunt, as he is wary of the perils of dementia, and thinks crosswords are a viable safeguard. If he lives to a dementia-appropriate age (evidence says he won’t), he’ll let us know. More about the Author