Want to know more about matching food and wine? Wine expert Oz Clarke shares his top tips
Pairing food and wine:
• Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio work really well with chicken but if you want to have red, it’s best to go for a Cabernet Sauvignon or a New Zealand Riesling.
• The Pinot Noir grape, which is very affordable from Chile and New Zealand goes well with tuna and salmon.
• For fish like turbot, halibut and cod, I’d recommend the great Chardonnay wines from France, Australia or California.
• If you’re into mackerel and sardines, the Portuguese make exactly the right wine to go with them – Vinho Verde. It’s a very dry, slightly bubbly wine made in both white and red styles.
• Lamb’s nearly always got enough fat to handle a tougher wine. The tannin and the bitterness in a big, red wine melds with the meat and seems to dissolve the tannin. The traditional wine to go with lamb is the Bordeaux red – that’s the cabernet or the merlot grape.
• Undercooked beef takes all the bitterness and harshness out of red wine. I would say if you want to look for the really powerful French, Italian and Spanish wines then beef is a great one to pair them with.
• With pork, go for a Grenache Blanc – Spain, Italy and Alsace in France makes lots of these wines and the local wines go really well.
• There are some fairly hefty red wines from Catalunya, which are also pretty good with pork.
• Sauvignon Blanc with goat’s cheese
• Sauternes with Roquefort
• Vintage port with Stilton
• White Burgundy with Camembert and Brie
I’d recommend three of the smaller Champagne houses – Alfred Gratien, Henriot and Charles Heidsieck. There are three Heidsieck varieties on the high street but Charles is the one you want.
Top tips for starting your own wine club
• Get two or three friends around every few weeks.
• Bring a bottle each – nothing over £10 – and perhaps put it in a brown bag so you don’t know what it is.
• Pour a wine out and each have a glass so you’ve all got to say something about it.
• Start with grape varieties – choose two reds and two whites and then move on to countries, for example Chile one week and New Zealand the next.