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Wine! 8 great ways to pair your wine with food.

Which wine with food? What type of wine should I order to complement my meal? We have done some research, so you don’t have to.


Wine is one of those beautiful subjects that gets more and more complex the more you research and study it. What I particularly like about it is that there are many varieties, so many wineries, and all from different countries. The choice is endless! Here in our country, we are blessed with some excellent local wineries, not to mention the wine bars and restaurants in Malta!


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Most wine is made with grapes. You can make it with apples, plums, cranberries etc, but normally, unless it says otherwise, the bottle of wine you buy at the supermarket, enjoy at the restaurant, or experience in general, is made from grapes. Those grapes are not like the ones you find in the grocery store. Wine grapes are actually smaller, sweeter and with thicker skins.


Several facets explain a wine’s unique flavor, such as acidity, sweetness, tannin and aroma of the wine. Each will combine in its own way to give a particular type its own character. Whilst obviously, the taste is of utmost importance.


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Wines not only have a variety of tastes and complexities, but also different smells, some smell like berries, and some smell like a bouquet of flowers. Personally, I like sweet wines and will shy away from reds with strong tannins and tasting like tobacco.


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If I had to be honest, sometimes I choose not to follow the rules and order a sweet Moscato d’Asti to be paired with my dinner, whatever it may be. Connoisseurs will shudder at the thought, but at the end of the day, it is not just about what enhances the flavour of the food you are eating, but also about what you enjoy. Who could possibly say no to some mulled wine during Christmas for example? Our recipe is for another time though!


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Now, we are not claiming to be wine experts, but just like most of you, we like a glass (or two) every now and then, whether with our food or just by itself. So we have done some research, so you don’t have to. If you are looking for a more educated decision regarding your wine choice, we wrote this guide to help you out.


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Dry White

You may be familiar with many dry white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. A great choice for vegetable or vegan meals, or fish dishes. It is advisable to serve this wine at 6⁰C – 8⁰C. This type of wine would work well with cream sauce or pesto dishes. The ideal desserts for this type of wine are banana bread and vanilla pudding.


Sparkling and Champagnes

Sparkling wines include varieties such as sparkling wine, Champagne (the name applies only to wines produced in that region), prosecco and cava (produced in Spain). This wine works well with vegetarian and vegan food or pizza. My favourite pairing is with cheese. It also works really well with fish. Serve this wine at 7⁰C-9⁰C. Champagne, in particular, works well with cheese and sweet dishes.


Sweet White

Malvavasia, Moscato and Riesling all fall in the category of sweet, white wines. These go best with pizza, a cured meat and cheese platter or dessert. Fairly similar to what you would expect from a dessert wine. However, for this wine, it is advisable to store it at 5⁰C – 7⁰C.


Rich White

There are many different popular types of rich white wine such as chardonnay and Marsanne. Feel free to pair this type of wine with soft cheeses, starches, white meat, shellfish and fish. Store this wine at 10⁰C – 12⁰C. Our recommendation, try a nice rich white wine with sushi rolls or dark chocolate.


Light Red / Rose

Pinot Noir falls into this group, along with other favourites such as St. Laurent and Gamay. This type of wine goes perfectly with shellfish, white meat, cured meats, starches and roasted vegetables. It is recommended to store this light red wine at 8⁰C – 11⁰C.


Medium Red

Medium Red Wine is one of the most versatile. Examples of medium red wine types are Merlot, Grenache, and Tempranillo. This wine can be paired with many different food types, such as roasted vegetables, hard cheeses, starches, meat (can we white or red meat), and cured meats.


You need to store this wine at temperatures of 13⁰C – 14⁰C. Do not pair your Concord wine with tomato sauce, however, it goes well with cheddar or aged cheese, barbecue beef or pork chops. Chambourcin goes great with Camembert, Brie and walnuts. Also great with pork loin, short ribs, sausage, burgers or swordfish.


Rich Red

Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Aglianico and Monstrell are examples of rich red wines. Works well with a juicy piece of steak (or other red meats), a nice platter of hard cheeses and cured meats, and starches. Store this wine at higher temperatures between 16⁰C – 17⁰C.


We recommend a great Norton with cheeses such as cheddar or blue cheese. These wines are great with nuts such as hazelnuts and will taste delicious during a good barbecue!


Dessert Wine

Dessert wines include Port, Sherry, Ice Wine or Late Harvest. This is great with a platter of cured meats and soft cheeses. This is also a great wine to share over a dessert (to be fair, the name should have been a major giveaway).


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Serve this wine at 8⁰C, however, when it comes to Port, it is best served at 14⁰C. We suggest pairing Port with pork or soft cheeses, whilst Sherry would work great with mushroom dishes and sweet pastries. Other dessert wines would be ideal for pizza or sushi dishes.


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So many types of wine, so many combinations! (so much potential for wine parties!). There are some excellent websites giving more in-depth explanations about the beauty of wine. Now, we’d like to know your favourites though.


Which is your favourite type of wine? How do you enjoy it? Any food pairing you’d like to suggest? Let us know!

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