Fish and white wine is a classic food pairing, right? With very few exceptions, just about any piece of fish or seafood dish that you can think of will pair quite well with just about any dry white wine you’re likely to get your hands on. Pairing food with sweet white wines can be a different story, but it’s a good rule of thumb to have.
If you’re ordering food and wine on behalf of a group, or if you’re in some situation like a wedding dinner where you need to make a binary choice like “fish or meat” or “white wine”. Life usually isn’t about such clear choices, however, and there is no rule saying that you must have fish with your white wine. Indeed things are a little more complex than that: There’s a lot of food out there and there are many types of white wine. Let’s take a look at some other food and wine pairings for white wine that go beyond fish dishes.
Vegetarian food and white wine pairings
- Hearty winter vegetable stews, soups and casseroles with lots of potato, sweet potato and squash will pair very well with a medium- to full-bodied Chardonnay. With an oak-aged Chardonnay like Atrium Chardonnay from Miguel Torres, you will expect to find a rounded creaminess and buttery character. This weight and generosity will pair very well with the homely warmth of the dish.
- Veggie burgers pair quite nicely with a crisp young Sauvignon Blanc. The youthful acidity will cut through the weight of the burger and leave your mouth watering for another bite. The Rueda region of Spain is your friend here, and just about any new release Sauvignon Blanc from here will fit the bill. One sure winner is Finca La Colina Sauvignon Blanc, which scored an admirable 91 points from Guía Peñín.
- Vegetarian Thai curries with rice and coconut milk are superb with wines from the underrated Torrontés grape. An example such as the hotly-tipped Leo Torrontés, from football superstar Leo Messi, shows intense tropical notes that provide a delicious counterpoint to the texture of the rice and coconut flavours, and the wine’s citrus notes and gentle acidity balance out the heat of the curry.
Meat and white wine food pairings
- You’ve probably heard “white meat goes with white wine”, and there’s something to it for sure. Simply prepared chicken and turkey dishes are a relatively safe bet with most white wines. As that’s the case, why not experiment beyond a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc and look for something a little different. Riesling is a favourite of sommeliers everywhere for its versatility, so try something like Sumarroca Riesling to see for yourself. Take the occasion to test the limits (and find that there are in fact very few) of what Riesling can do by introducing different sauces and accompaniments to your otherwise simple white meat – try something like chicken in lemon sauce and take it from there!
- Spicy Chinese-style dishes, such as chicken curry, pork steak with chillies or beef in black bean sauce, is marvellous with the oft-misunderstood Gewürtztraminer grape. A dry Gewürtz, such as Vinas del Vero Gewürtztraminer, will have a lovely aromatic floral character with sufficient hints of spiciness so as to make a truly beautiful counterpoint in the mouth. If you haven’t already tried this combination, it is the ideal way to experience true harmony in food and wine pairing.