Food and wine are two of life’s greatest pleasures, so why do they cause so many of us such headaches? Knowing how to pair food and wine properly can be a tricky subject to master, as there are simply so many options and variables.
Luckily, it’s something that you can learn to do quite easily. While there is surely no such thing as the perfect food and wine pairing, there are some guidelines and rules of thumb that can help you get the most of your wine and food.
Local food and wine pairing
One of these guidelines is that what grows together goes together. Roughly speaking, the idea is that local wine and local food go together. The signature food of one area evolves over time to match well with the wine produced in that area, or vice versa. Though it is something of a simplification – many regions produce a wide array of different wine and foods, after all – there is certainly some truth to it. Familiarise yourself with local foods from your favourite wine regions and you’ll never worry about food and wine pairing again!
Rioja wine food pairing
Looking for the best local food to pair with Rioja wine? Look no further than the cuisine of the Rioja region. Take a trip to the city of Logroño and you will find a wealth of options for quality, local food to be paired with the region’s red wines.
- Caldereta Pastoril, a traditional Rioja country stew, is fabulous with local wines. The dish is hearty and warming, and has the structure and intensity of flavour to match up with a Rioja Reserva like Remelluri Reserva 2009.
- Roast lamb cutlets with vine shoots, a regional specialty, is the perfect match for a mature Rioja Gran Reserva. Simply prepared, the tenderness of the meat is an ideal match for the aged, delicate wine. Try Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva 2006.
White Rioja, or Rioja Blanco, is increasingly popular among Spanish wine lovers. Naturally, it too has a multitude of local dishes that pair harmoniously with it. Some of our favourites include:
- Locally caught and prepared seafood, such as red bream, cod and calamari, beautifully complement young, unoaked Rioja blanco like Dinastía Vivanco Blanco 2015.
- Rioja vegetable stew is ideal with a mature, barrel-fermented white Rioja such as Sierra Cantabria Organza 2013.
Bordeaux wine food pairing
The city and wine region of Bordeaux is located in the south west of France, not that far from the Spanish border. Bordeaux wines are mostly dry red wines, based on the Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Many of the top Bordeaux wines are full-bodied and high in tannin, and essentially require food in order to truly appreciate them. When looking to pair a Bordeaux wine with food, keep it local with something like:
- Roasted veal loin, and similar cuts of tender veal. Roasted in duck fat and seasoned with fresh herbs, this makes a superb match for a tannic Bordeaux from the left bank, like Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2007 from Pauillac.
- Seared foie gras, or foie gras poêlé, is succulent, rich, and fatty. Its generous texture and flavour is a great match for a Merlot-dominant Bordeaux from the right bank, such as Château Belair 2003.
Those are our top tips for regional food and wine pairings. Have you visited Bordeaux or Rioja? Have you visited any other wine regions? What are your favourite local food and wine pairing combinations?