01 Mar

By Joe McGlade

When wine lovers get together to enjoy their favourite tipple, usually it isn't long before the conversation gets round to that of food and wine pairing. It's a big subject, let's face it, and books have been written about it. But does it have to be complicated? I used to think it was until I discovered that the folks in Alsace and Germany are quite happy to pair their white wines with sauerkraut and pork sausage, and Les Champenois are happy to drink their famous fizz with virtually anything! So, what about the weekend takeaway?

 The more toffee-nosed might scoff at the idea of drinking wine with a takeaway, but who doesn’t enjoy a takeaway once in a while, and if you like wine, why not? I’ll start with pizza because for me that's an easy one – it has to be Italian and in most cases I would choose a Sangiovese (Chianti) or Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and if you're a pepperoni fan then I'd suggest a Chianti Classico or Shiraz. Vermentino or Verdicchio will work well with a seafood or white pizza. 

Then there's the original Friday night takeaway – fish and chips. That’s easy too. Any dry unoaked white wine should work, although when the chippy asks, “Salt and vinegar?” I always say. “No, thanks,” because the wine serves the same purpose. If you must have ketchup, then a dry Rosé such as Rosada from Spain should do the trick. 

Moving next to Asia, and starting with Chinese. Again, it’s any dry white wine such as Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc for me, but if you prefer red you could try a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais. For a Thai meal I usually go for an aromatic white wine such as an off-dry Riesling, or a Gewürztraminer, or Grüner Veltliner, if I have one. 

Wine might not be the obvious beverage to have with an Indian meal but it’s worth giving it a try. I've had Rosé, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Gris with lighter Indian dishes. Merlot and Syrah or Shiraz will go well with lamb and beef dishes but, if it must be vindaloo then I’d stick to beer.

I haven’t mentioned Chardonnay yet, but it is a remarkably good food wine and at its simplest the choice is between the oaked and unoaked varieties. Unoaked Chardonnay pairs with whatever you would squeeze a lemon on (think fish and chips again). Oaked Chardonnay pairs with anything cheesy or creamy. 

Another hard to ignore wine is Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s incredibly versatile and works particularly well with red meat and cheesy dishes (worth trying an inexpensive one with a cheeseburger and chips). Remember what I said about Champagne? But if, like me, your budget doesn’t allow for imbibing it with fish and chips, there’s always dry Cava or Prosecco! 

You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment in the privacy of your own home, and if you feel you’ve made a faux pas what’s the worst can happen? You leave the wine till the end of the meal, or better still, drink it first!

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