Food and wine matching has become a passionate endeavour not only for sommeliers and gourmands, but also for the home enthusiast, with celebrity winemakers running hot on the heels of the parade of celebrity chefs in recent years.
However, whether you are a serious food and wine buff, or you are just looking for food and drink selections which will please the greatest number of your guests, you’re going to have to make your decisions somehow. Choosing carefully selected wines matched to your menu gives your guests another level of enjoyment at your wedding. While you’re running around greeting your guests, having photos taken, cutting the cake, then cutting the rug on the dance floor and trying to fit in a few bites of your carefully selected menu, for your guests, the food and drink are one of the things which they will remember the most, and is a big focus of their day at your wedding.
Many wedding venues will offer a range of drinks packages with a selection of wines in each, categorised based on price. If you want to offer your guests a choice of wines, you may need to opt for a mid-range package, with two or three of both white and red wines available. If you wanted to include alternative or unique varieties of wine in your wedding menu you may need to choose a venue which will allow you to BYO your drinks, which many will allow, as long as your chosen venue isn’t a winery!
While chicken is a dish which most people will automatically match with a white wine. For example, my chicken fillet with spring onions, white wine and zucchini salsa would of course match the buttery flavours of a chardonnay or the acidity of a Riesling.
However, if you were to choose the chicken fillet rolled and seasoned with ham, spinach and pine nuts dressed in a light mustard sauce you could match reds such as pinot noir which can still be quite acidic for a red wine, or cabernet which has a peppery quality to compliment the spice of the mustard.
Similarly, meat will almost always be matched with a red wine, and in the case of my Webber roasted rack of lamb or beef with chunky tomato and black olive salsa, both the grilled flavours and the protein of the meat will be complimented by the strong tannins of a shiraz or a cabernet.
However, rest assured that a big bold red isn’t the only thing your guests can drink with their meal, as a sparkling is also a great match. You’ll probably already have a sparkling on your wedding reception drinks menu for the toasts, and the acidity and bubbles of a great sparkling are able to cut through the fatty richness of a big meat dish.
Many couples are opting to serve their wedding cake as dessert, which allows you and your guests to enjoy it on the night, and saves you having to package it individually for guests to take home. A traditional wedding fruit cake can be matched with a non-traditional wine like Moscato. If you don’t want to add a selection of dessert wines to your beverage package Moscato is a great option because it is sweet, but can be found in sparkling varieties to make it refreshing at the same time. The fruit cake will also bring out the fruitiness of the Moscato, and it’s a low alcohol wine which is ideal as the evening winds up.
Or if you have chosen a chocolate mud cake for your wedding this would work well with a fortified dessert wine, as the luscious viscous feel of a fortified matches beautifully with the dark earthiness of a good quality chocolate.
Of course wine is as much a personal taste as food, and if you have a match you’re interested in experimenting with, I’d love to discuss it with you.
Until next time.