Set the Mood with

beef and wine

As the cold winter is slowly but surely approaching us, the mere thought of warm, hearty beef dishes accompanied by deep, red wines to bring out those full-bodied flavours is a sure way to transform every meal into a feast.

 

Matching the

flavour intensity and weight

In this world, there are mainly two types of people - those that think of it as an art to pair the perfect meal with the perfect wine, and those that simply don’t care at all. While food and wine pairing is a fairly subjective matter (yes, tastes and preferences do vary) it is true that the best pairings can simply make for an exceptional dining experience…

Food that usually contains a relative amount of fat, such as your red meats or dairy, usually
require acid elements such as tannins (bitter-tasting organic substance present in red wine) in order to match the richness. Red wines like Cabernet or Shiraz generally complement the smoky, meaty flavours of the beef.

It is important to balance the weight of the wine with the weight of the food, so that neither one overwhelms the other. The style and weight of the wine should match the food on your plate - for instance, a good Cabernet Sauvignon would pair very well with a hearty steak but would completely overwhelm steamed white meats.

 

For more skilled pairings, it is important to consider the most dominant feature of the dish - this usually tends to be the sauce, seasoning or even cooking method rather than it just being the main ingredient. There are so many ways in which one can flavour and season your dishes, the possibilities are endless. So, once again it’s really important to take the sauce and cooking method into account when selecting food and wine combinations.

Acidity

Acidic dishes, including your fattier and more oily foods like deep-fried dishes or rich pastas, help add freshness and bring out the fruitiness of the wine, and in turn the wine will bring out the flavours of the meal. However, should the acidity outweigh your wine, the wine will appear flat or diluted.

Saltiness

For the best pairings, a winning combination would be to pair sweeter wines in order to enhance saltier foods. Saltiness not only adds flavour to the food, but also helps wine complement the dish. Dry, high-acid white wines also pair very well with salty dishes.

Sweetness

When a wine has not been properly matched to the degree of sweetness of the dish, the taste can seem bitter or sour if it is paired with sweeter dishes. For example, a rich Chardonnay is paired better with dishes with a hint of sweetness, while a late-harvest Chenin Blanc pairs a lot better with sweet meals.

Consider the most

prominent flavour of the meal

When deciding on which meat to pair with which wine, it is important to consider what the most prominent flavour of the dish is - this could be within the sauce, seasoning or even cooking method other than being the main ingredient.

Meal and wine

pairing ideas

Cabernet Sauvignon

this wine has an extremely bold taste and pairs well with food that has a lot of character, like steaks and other red meat, especially when grilled.

 

Shiraz

this extremely robust wine pairs well with pot-roasted winter meals such as slow-cooked braised beef dishes, as the rich, peppery spice of the Shiraz wine is brought out.  

 

Pinotage

this versatile wine can take a fair amount of spice and is best accompanied by roasted red meats or rich, spicy beef pastas or chilli con carne.

 

Merlot

this beautiful rich, dark red wine has ripe, fruity and punchy flavours with a velvety black cherry finish. This wine is best enjoyed with roast chicken, beef, lamb and rich pastas.

 

Read the labels on wine bottles

there are thousands of great wines with unique flavours that are produced in our beautiful country each year, so it’s always best to read the different blends on the labels of bottles when shopping around. One can find that the most unusual selection of wines are able to enhance the flavours of your dish - so go ahead, try out some new and exciting flavours!

 

Regardless of the above-mentioned pairing tips, they remain but the essentials. The choice remains yours when it comes to pairing wine and meals. Each person has a unique palette with certain preferences of flavour. Life is about enjoying good food and wine with family and friends - so eat, drink and be merry!