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ViVAS tips on food and wine matching

27 July 2009
ViVAS tips on food and wine matching

"Most people already know that white wine goes well with white meat and red wine with red meat, but sometimes it can be a lot more complex. There are three basic principles in matching food and wine - matching weight, matching acidity and matching intensity," says ViVAS marketing manager Henry John, "and if you stick to these, your matches should be a success."

Weight - When matching by weight you need to pair big strong wines to big strong food and similarly light, simpler wine with lighter foods.

Acidity - Acidity is an important part of any wine. It's the thing that makes your mouth water, makes the wine refreshing and stimulates you to take another sip. Foods with a lot of acidity, for example tomatoes or vinaigrette dressing, are better with a crisp refreshing wine. Wines which are crisp and mouth-watering will also be good with oily food. A great example of this is an Italian red wine with Italian food where the chief ingredients are olive oil and tomatoes.

Matching Intensity - This refers to wine and food that have very intense flavours but not much weight. Think of Thai or Chinese food with the strong flavours of chilli, garlic, coriander and lemongrass but don't sit too heavily on the stomach. Similarly intense and fragrant wines which are still light bodied are grape varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.


There are some food and wine combinations that are generally acknowledged to be great matches. For a winning match try:

  • Goats Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc
  • Duck and Pinot Noir
  • Roast Lamb and Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sauternes (or dessert wine) and Roquefort or Foie Gras
  • Chablis and Smoked Salmon
  • Stilton with Port
  • Champagne with Oysters
  • Thai dishes with Riesling


Quality Cuisine duck and cherry pâté en croute with Pinossimo Bouchard Aine & Fils Vin de Pays d'Oc
Pinossimo is a gentle, light Pinot Noir from the South of France with lots of fresh redcurrant and red cherry flavours. This is exactly the type of wine this paté needs with its rich, sumptuous duck meat. The light red fruit of the wine and its delicious freshness ensures the combination is not too heavy.

Cornish brie with Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Red wine and port are more typically matched with cheese, but good brie can be a great match with a lovely fresh, clean Sauvignon - like this one from New Zealand. The creaminess of the cheese is contrasted and balanced by the crispness of the wine while the vibrant gooseberry and grassy flavours lift the combination to another level.

KK Fine Foods chicken pasta Leonardo with Laroche Rosé VdP d'Oc This dish is full of tender chicken surrounded by tricolour fusilli pasta in a spicy jalapeno, sun-drenched tomato and wholegrain mustard sauce. The Laroche Rosé is perfect for this spicy pasta combination. The light strawberry fruit flavours complement the tomato and chicken flavours perfectly while the dry finish and light body of the wine are a great balance to the jalapeno and mustard.


Promotions can work wonders. Just remember the idea is to increase wine sales, not give it away. So think carefully about responsible, profitable promotions.

  • Try the simple but effective ‘buy two glasses of wine get the rest of the bottle free'.
  • Set up a weekly wine tasting club with special offers on selected wines through out the evening.
  • Give customers the chance to try before they buy. Encouraging staff to recommend a wine and offer a small sample to customers will help more people to move away from your house wine.
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