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IDEAL FOOD TO COMBINE WITH YOUR RED WINE

FOOD & COOKING ARTICLE

Matching wine to food is a real art. A peppery red wine might work with a curry, for example, or something with aromatic plum flavours could suit roast duck. There are lots of great wine deals around, so here are some food choices to help you make the most of your red wine.

Red meat

The pairing of red wine and red meat is an obvious one to start with, but which wines work well with which meats?

Rich, unctuous stews such as those made with oxtail, or even better, ox cheeks, beg for a rich, robust and spicy red to go with them. A good Cabernet Sauvignon or a belter of a Shiraz will easily stand up to the bold beefy flavour of the stew. Something a little softer, such as a Merlot or Tempranillo might be better for lamb, whether it's slow-roasted shoulder or fast-roasted leg. They'll match well with the rosemary and garlic that you might have used to flavour the lamb, and will cleanse the palate in between each forkful.

White meat

Don't think that red wine can't make a good partner for white meat though - it can. A really good, well-flavoured organic chicken or guinea fowl will taste almost gamy, especially in a pot-roast, and will cry out for a light red such as Pinot Noir or Pinotage to accentuate that gaminess. Similarly, a lighter red will cut against the fattiness of slow-roasted pork belly, refreshing the palate.

FishSticking with light- to medium-bodied reds, Grenache and Valpolicella are both good with oily or smoked fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. All of these fish have bold flavours that will complement a red wine. The only exception might be smoked haddock, which is a better partner for white wine.

Pasta and vegetable dishes

Pasta dishes, particularly those with tomato sauces, and roasted vegetables such as aubergines, courgettes and roots, all have an affinity with red wines. Try Chianti with tomato dishes, and any light to medium red with vegetables.

Cheese

Classically, big-flavoured wines like Cabernet Sauvignon are served with strong Cheddars and Stiltons. Many studies suggest that a lighter wine such as Pint Noir can work well with creamy soft cheeses such as Camembert.

Ultimately, your own taste-buds will be your best guide. Find some good wine deals, experiment, and see what works best for you.

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