Five delicious wine and comfort food pairings

Whether you want to greet your guests at a dinner or pair your takeout meal, picking the perfect wine to complement your food can be a challenge.

However, choosing the right wine is more intuitive than daunting. The key is to achieve the right balance between the wine’s acidity and the flavour of the food.

Here at Ideal Wine Company, we make your food-wine pairing decision easy.


1.    Chilli wine pairings

Spicy and meatier meals need a strong wine profile to stand up to their bold flavour. The rich dark flavours of cherries and plums, with hints of spice and notes of chocolate; make red wine the ideal match for a bold chilli taste.

However, anything high in alcohol or tannins can have an overpowering effect on pepper in chilli. Malbec is always the safest wine option for meaty and spicy foods. Pinot Noir also works well with strong flavours. The subtle notes of tannins cut through the meatiness of the food, while the fruity flavour of these wines pair well with the strong chilli notes.


2.    Fried chicken pairings

No dinner menu is complete without the addition of classic fried chicken. A warming staple, this crispy and juicy meal requires an equally celebrated wine.

With this celebrated meal goes a classic wine option. Rich in flavour and highly acidic, champagne compliments fried chicken tastefully. The acidity of champagne cuts through the fried richness of the chicken while its sharp effervescence clears your palate.


3.    Beef stew wine pairings

Beef stew is a classic comfort food. It’s also a good excuse for bringing out your cellared full-bodied wines.

Prepared heartily with mushrooms, bacon, beef and potatoes – beef stews need an equally powerful and earthy wine counterpart. The dark fruit and rich tannin notes of full-bodied red wines stand up to the strong taste of the beef stew. Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon are terrific with beef’s earthy taste. Punchy and peppery French Bordeaux and Syrah also balance nicely with strong flavours.


4.    Macaroni cheese wine pairings

Macaroni cheese is a simple dish to prepare. But its wine pairing depends on how cheesy your macaroni cheese is.

Its classic recipe that is perfectly paired with a light unoaked chardonnay. Its slight acidity and creaminess pairs well with the cheesiness of the dish. However, if you are planning to enhance your macaroni cheese with lobster, then a white Burgundy will match well with your extravagant meal. If you prefer reds over whites, try Cru Beaujolais to complement your meal. Its Gamay grapes brewing gives it a light to medium body and a hint of acidity.


5.    Spaghetti Bolognese pairings

Making a perfect Bolognese sauce is difficult; picking the right wine to complement spaghetti Bolognese is tougher than the former.

This classic Italian dish needs an equally strong wine to match its rich texture. Whether you like red or prefer white, choose a wine with fruity notes and soft tannins with a slight acidity. It can be a daunting task to pair tomatoes well, but the sweetness of this sauce makes it easier. Nero d’Avola cuts through the meatiness while matching well with the tomatoes. The subtle tannins, supple notes of blueberry and acidity of Barbera d’Asti complements well with spaghetti Bolognese.

Learn more about the perfect Italian wines for your dinner parties here.

The bottom line is that, when you’re choosing wines to accompany comfort foods, you should consider the flavours in your dish and how the wine will complement them. Keep the flavour and texture intensities in mind, so that your meal and wine don’t clash. Food and wine pairings are mainly about food. It is the wine that must match well with the food and not the other way around.


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