Food & Drink

Channel Your Inner Sommelier With These Easy Pairing Tips

By Jaiden Bhaga
6th Jul 2021

A group of people toasting with wine at a dinner.

Let’s be real, while we love to pour a glass or two, we still have a lot to learn when it comes to the world of wine. With so many varieties to choose from—and only a finite amount of time before you catch awkward glances in the bottle shop—we figured now's the time to unleash our inner sommelier and chat to an expert. 

Lucky for us, in celebration of Jacob's Creek Double Barrel range, we sat down with ambassador and expert Kristy Farrell to answer our burning questions when it comes to pouring the perfect wine pairing—no matter what's on the menu. 

When it comes to being the host with the most this dinner party season, take the stress out of what sips to serve up with these pairing suggestions course by course. 

What's a basic wine pairing rule of thumb all wine lovers should know?

First, get started with these tried-and-true practices to keep in mind. Of course, the wine should be more acidic than what's on your plate. But if you're spicing things up, opt for something sweeter to counteract the heat. 

Remember, your wine should have the same intensity as the food, and you can always counterbalance high-tannin wines—which can carry astringent flavourings—with fats and oils. 

If you're throwing a dinner party and kicking the night off with a few tipples and a grazing platter, what's your go-to pairing? 

I love to start the evening with bubbles—think sparkling chardonnay pinot noir with oysters for a match made in heaven. Or for something unsuspected, karaage fried chicken. The fresh acid from the sparkling wine cuts through the fat and salt of the chicken, leaving your palate refreshed and wanting more.

When it comes to entertaining at home, what's on your menu, and what wines are you currently vibing?

It depends on who's on the guest list. If my girlfriends are coming over, I know they love a charcuterie board. So as we pick away, we'll start with sparkling wine before moving onto a rosé.

If I have the family over, I know they love a roast. So I'll serve that with Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Shiraz. A family favourite, it's a sure-fire way to score some extra brownie points. 

What's an unexpected wine pairing we should try? 

There's a misconception you should never pair red wine with fish. You can pair light and delicate reds with fish. Just keep in mind both should have the same intensity of flavour. For example, with a rich salmon dish, I'd suggest a light to medium-bodied wine like a grenache or pinot noir. 

What are some simple rules to live by when pairing wines with different cuisines?

Asian food can typically be sweet or spicy. For this reason, I'd suggest pairing light fruit-driven wines with dishes more on the sweeter side, such as a rosé. Riesling or moscato will be perfect for the more spicy dishes as they will leave the palate feeling refreshed after the warmth.

Indulgent Italian dishes like pasta or pizza would be best paired with a shiraz to meet their deep, rich flavours. 

What should we be pouring to end the night on a sweet and satisfying note?

I love to finish on a rich, full-bodied red wine such as Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is aged in a whisky barrel, giving it a smoother taste, making it perfect alongside a wash rind cheese board.

Is it true dessert wines should be sweeter than dessert?

Correct! Your wine should always be sweeter than your food. If not, the sweetness in the food can make the wine seem acidic and tart. An inadequate food and wine pairing can make the most premium wines seem unpleasant.

And finally, what's one last bit of advice you can give any budding wine enthusiast?

Don't be afraid to break the rules. Taste is a personal experience, so experimenting with your pairings is the only way to find new and exciting pairings that you love. If you're out to dinner with a friend, why not order different wines and try them with each other's dishes. 

Pair your next get together with a glass from Jacob's Creek Double Barrel. Aged in whisky barrels for a smoother taste, to impress we recommend serving up the Shiraz or The Cab Sav. Check out the full line up here

Editor's note: This article is sponsored by Jacob's Creek and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Image Credit: Supplied


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