Want to know more about matching food and wine? Wine expert Oz Clarke shares his top tips


wine

Pairing food and wine:

Chicken

• 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.

Fish

• 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

• 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.

Steak

• 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.

Pork

• 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.

Cheese

• Sauvignon Blanc with goat’s cheese

• Sauternes with Roquefort

• Vintage port with Stilton

• White Burgundy with Camembert and Brie

Champagne

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.

Watch Oz Clarke’s video about France’s wine region here.