What To Drink With Our Most Popular Recipes
The world of food and wine pairings can seem daunting at first: it’s a realm where people say anatomical-sounding words like “body” and “legs” and expect you to know what they’re talking about. Thankfully, I’m here to tell you that it’s not as complicated as it all sounds. The most important thing (and perhaps the only important thing) to know about wine is to know what you like. Once you know that, the wine world is pretty much your oyster. And you know what wine goes great with oysters? A razor sharp glass of Chablis.
You might think that matching what you drink with what you eat is a pretentious concept that’s reserved for the upper crusts and oligarchs of the world, but just imagine the flavour clash of drinking a black coffee while you’re trying to enjoying a crab fettucine and you’ll sort of understand where I’m coming from. Having a drink that complements your meal, and brings out the best of its flavours, can not only bring you immense enjoyment but can help you elevate your cooking and impress your friends and loved ones in equal measure. It’s basically really, really impressive, MOB. Which is why it’s time you learned what wine you should be drinking with our most popular recipes.
We already know which of our recipes that you know and love the best, so we enlisted the help of some of the nation’s very best sommeliers and wine experts – assigning each of them one of our top five recipes – to find out what wine they think goes best with that dish. We’ve included links to where you can find the bottles and try out these combinations for yourself at home. I hope, at the very least, you come away from this article having learned a thing or two about how choosing the right wine can make a meal truly spectacular.
What to drink with… Creamy Halloumi Curry
"For every sommelier, a wine suggestion for a curry, of any sorts, is both the greatest honour and the greatest task. There is a humbleness and a community element to curry that defines many peoples’ childhoods and their subsequent foray into paying for their own meals. Hot spice can be a conduit for trouble for many wine tasters in that it can bring out astringent and bitter flavours in reds they wouldn’t expect it to, but this recipe isn’t too spicy in this recipe so it's not that much of a worry. I taste-tested a few things with the dish and the wine that came out on top was this 2018, GBWS, Malbec, Clare Valley, Australia.
A no-brainer really. There is a natural sweetness to the Creamy Halloumi Curry from the tomato hitting the coconut milk. This does well with any wine that has gone through malolactic fermentation and any maturation in oak. You could have easily done a classic gran reserve Rioja with this but this Malbec just hits all the right tones. The silky tannins glide along that tomato line, while the clove and herby fragrance meets, hugs, and loves that garam masala. The fruit is rich enough to stand up to the food, but not too rich as to overwhelm it. Ate and drunk this to Incognito - Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing and it all just came together. Get your bloody stereo on, pour yourself a glass and get prepping. Oh, and don’t worry about a thing."
What to drink with… Chorizo and Charred Spring Onion Rigatoni
"This Chorizo and Charred Spring Onion Rigatoni recipe was simple to make but the end results were luxurious. Such opulence deserves a bolder red wine. Vigneti Del Salento, I Muri Primitivo from Puglia, Southern Italy made a sound match. Based on the black grape Primitivo (aka Zinfandel), it is intense, firm, and fresh. A wine on the fuller side with apparent but non-aggressive tannins. Its subtle black pepper spice, vibrant red and darker fruit (cherry, plum, blueberry and bramble) qualities cut through the creaminess and nuttiness of toasted almonds and crème fraîche, complementing the charred sweetness of red pepper and tomato. The smoky infusion of chorizo and charred spring onion accentuates the wine's darker fruited characteristics. Bon appetit!"
Audrey Annoh-Antwi is a London-based Sommelier. Follow her on Instagram at @nsa.nom.
What to drink with… Creamy Sausage and Squash Gnocchi
"With a dish as creamy and rich as this Creamy Sausage and Squash Gnocchi, acidity is key to help refresh your palate after every bite. This white sauce-based dish calls for a rich white/light-bodied red and my first recommendation is Monteforche 'Vigneto Carantina' Bianco 2019, Veneto, Italy – a high minerality Gargenegra, made with the grapes left on its skins (otherwise known as orange wine) for the perfect balance between freshness, fruitiness, and a hint of texture. With notes of white peach, thyme, and citrus, this is super approachable for first-time orange wine drinkers and also loved by enthusiasts.
For red wine lovers, Tenuta Foresto, Pau Pau 2019, Piedmont, Italy is also a great fit. High acidity yet super juicy, this underrated Italian grape variety Dolcetto is pumped with a process called carbonic maceration, which with the addition of carbon dioxide, allows the wine to become softer and fruitier, accompanying the fennel, sausage, and creaminess in the dish with zippy acidity, ripe raspberries, cherries, and ample tannin."
What to drink with… MOB’s Chicken Katsu Burger
"To my housemates' delight, I whipped up the very, very delicious Chicken Katsu Burger (and Mushroom Katsu Burger for the veggies) and tried out a couple of wine pairings on them. Hands down, the winner was Westwell Ortega Skin Contact 2019, Kent, England.
In my opinion, orange wine (also known as skin contact or amber wine) is such a versatile pairing and works with a whole myriad of foods – especially when there are more powerful flavours and aromatic spices at play. Made from 100% Ortega grapes that are fermented with the skins, this wine is jam-packed with notes of dried flowers, orange blossom, honeysuckle, apricot and wild herbs. This pops with the sweet spices of the katsu mayonnaise and holds its own with the fried chicken and tangy slaw. This pairing is a true explosion of wild flavours and lots of fun! This wine is also sustainably-made and vegan."
What to drink with… Seema’s Dhal
"The Champagne I’d recommend to drink with Seema’s Dhal is Jean-Marc Seleque Solessence, Extra Brut. Jean-Marc is a young and upcoming rising star Champagne producer making some brilliant wines. This cuvée is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It is lovely and fruit-driven with bright lemons and crisp apples. It’s got a lovely rounded palate with fresh acidity that complements well with rich food with a bit of spice like this dhal."