It is difficult and almost pretentious to claim to say all there is to know about these famous pairings in just a few lines! Since the ideal method is to learn through experience, the best way to build up your knowledge of the subject is by experimenting and testing pairings according to your ideas. Having said that, to avoid starting entirely from scratch, here are a few basic principles to guide you.
If you have heard it said that meats can only be accompanied by red wine, this is… true and false! Game, stews, and lamb are perfect allies of red wine, particularly wines from the southern part of the Rhone Valley. On the other hand veal, poultry, exotic cuisine or a sweet and sour pork tenderloin dish are astonishing and delicious with dry white wines or rosés. In our region, the Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Viognier, Tavel and even Châteauneuf du Pape will surprise you.
Contrary to the general belief, white wine is not the only accompaniment for fish! Tuna and firm-fleshed fish are enhanced by fruity and supple red wines. In the Rhone Valley, Ventoux, Luberon and Côtes du Rhône wines are the most suitable choices. However, shellfish best express their potential when paired with white wines. And shellfish served in a sauce is perfectly accompanied by a Condrieu or Châteauneuf du Pape white wine.
Although this may shock some of you, red wines are far from being the best accompaniment to cheese! In fact the intense flavours of many cheeses often overpower the structure of the wine and tend to weigh them down. Meanwhile, the vivacity and freshness of white wines help to balance the aromatic power of the cheeses and allow them to express themselves to the full. We suggest pairing goat’s cheese, blue cheese and Corsican or Basque cheeses with white wines, either dry or slightly sweeter depending on your preference… and if you add a touch of fig jam or quince jelly… you will be in seventh heaven!
Once again, this may surprise you but red wines have an often little-known role to play in this part of a meal. If you have enjoyed a Gigondas with your main dish, don’t change a thing if your dessert is chocolate-based! The warm flavours of this wine will subtly enhance the powerful aromas of the chocolate. And this is also true of all Syrah-based reds. In the case of a Cru like Gigondas or Châteauneuf du Pape, this will be even more effective with older wines. The association with a natural sweet wine such as Rasteau will also be perfect.
For fruit-based desserts, we suggest that you serve them with a dry white or a natural sweet white wine such as our irreplaceable Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.