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Wine pairing tips for Valentine’s dinner

Serving the wrong wine with food can be disastrous, especially if you’re cooking to impress this Valentine’s. These are the seven wine commandments. Obey them!

Chocolate mousse and wine


Acidic wines disguise misadventures with salt

Perhaps you misread the instructions or, despite all your best efforts, saltiness is the dominant flavour. You can save the meal with an acidic wine. A sharp-tasting sauv, a very dry riesling or Chianti will detract from the high salt content.

Wine suggestion: Cloudy Bay 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, Carpineto Chianti

The sweeter the better

The general rule is the wine must be sweeter than the dessert otherwise your beautifully selected wine will taste insipid and acidic. The darker the colour of the dessert, the darker the wine should be.

Wine suggestion: Pair an Australian shiraz with almost anything chocolate or caramel

It’s not exactly social suicide if you match a sweet dessert wine with barramundi, but it helps if you’ve got a basic idea about wine pairing and how to choose a good wine >>


Contrast spicy food with fruity wine

A death-defying hot Indian curry or fire-breathing chilli pairs well with wine that has a low alcohol content. In the lower alcohol wines there tends to be a sweet flavour which will nicely contrast the burn you get with spicy food.

Wine suggestion: Jacob’s Creek Riesling Reserve

Choose food that makes cheap wine taste better

If you can only afford to purchase a nasty-tasting bottle of cheap plonk, plan your menu with dishes to enhance the flavour of the wine and make it more palatable.

Food suggestions: Anything with asparagus, salads with vinegarette dressings, antipasto platters with artichoke hearts and olives

Thou shalt never eat cheese with wine

It’s a common misconception that wine and cheese go together like love and marriage. Smelly, soft cheeses are often pungent in flavour and will overpower your tastebuds, leaving you unable to appreciate the subtle flavours of a nice bottle of wine.


Thou shalt consider the weight of the wine and the food

Put away the Weight Watchers scales, you don’t have to literally weigh your food. Lightweight foods like salads and fish should be paired with lightweight wines like an Aussie Chardonnay, while more hearty, rich meals like roast lamb work better with reds.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help

When you’re up at the Bottle-o or enjoying your Valentine’s Day dinner, don’t be shy to speak up and ask for a recommendation.

Still struggling on selecting a menu for Valentine’s Day? >>

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