Finding the perfect match
Summer flings, festivals and hot spots come and go… but when it comes to food and wine there is nothing quite like finding that perfect match. The options are endless, but it boils down to the fact that you’re faced with two choices – either you can stock up on a bunch of easy-drinking and/ or award winning wines and just merrily sip away all through the summer; or you can hand pick some unusual varietals and blends to pair with your favourite summer dishes.
We’re definitely in favour of the second option – not only do you get to experiment with flavours, discover new wines and impress your dinner party guests; but you also have the perfect excuse to get out and explore some wine regions. The Western Cape, South Africa; Napa Valley, California; Maipo, Chile; and Tuscany in Italy are all ideal spots to add to your bucket list.
So let’s start with champagne… the good news is that it pairs well with almost anything salty. Something as simple as a bowl of olives or roasted and salted cashew nuts coupled with a crisp glass of bubbly is the perfect start to any occasion.
Opt for a delicate Italian Pinot Grigio or French Chablis next, and pair it with a light seafood starter. You can’t go wrong with fresh line fish or prawns grilled to perfection. This light style of white wine is also great with summer salads, sushi and antipasti. If you’re in full holiday relaxation mode and can’t quite find the time to cook with all the sunbathing and socialising you need to fit in, then order in some top-class sushi and arrange it beautifully on a couple of platters for your friends to enjoy.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to pull out all the stops and cook up a storm then stock up on some Chardonnay to pair with rich food such as seared salmon or fish cakes in a buttery sauce. It’s also gorgeous with a selection of hard cheeses if you’re catering tapas style.
Red wine is often associated with hearty food and roaring winter fires; but a Malbec paired with sweet, spicy, barbeque style food can be absolutely gorgeous; and a Shiraz or Syrah is the ultimate pick for spicy food. Thai food is ideal in summer as it’s full of flavour without being too heavy. Just go easy on the chilli and let each person add their own according to their tolerance for hot food!
But the real secret to all of this is to take everyone’s advice with a pinch of salt and just experiment, have fun and find what works for you. So, let’s tuck in and toast to happy drinking and happy eating… Santé and bon appétit!
Author: Emma Donovan