Party Planning Consultation
We’re here to ease the stress of planning your next party or business function. Bring us your menu and number of guests; we’ll suggest perfect pairings and quantities to purchase. Our knowledgeable staff will ensure you don’t forget anything so you can concentrate on having a good time!
Cellar Management Consultation
Building a wine cellar can be an enjoyable lifelong project, choosing bottles for aging, special occasions, or for family and friends. When you are ready to take on the challenge, we are happy to lend advice. A consultation with our staff can help you select products based on reputation, value, and your personal taste.
General best practices when cellaring:
- Keep the temperature constant, between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. Temperature fluctuations will damage the wine.
- To ensure corks don’t dry out, humidity should be high, around 65-75%. Always store wine with the cork on its side. Avoid storing wine upside down, as this may cause leakage or a build up of sediment in the bottleneck (not fun to serve!)
- Avoid vibration and strong or artificial lights. These can disturb the wine or cause unpleasant flavours to develop.
FOOD AND WINE PAIRING
While it’s important to eat and drink what you love, there are some basic rules that can help enhance your dining experience. Here are eight suggestions to help you achieve the best pairing possible:
1. What Grows Together Goes Together
In the majority of cultures, food and wine are meant to be enjoyed together. Having pasta with a tomato sauce? Pick up a juicy Chianti Classico from Italy. Grilling a nice hearty steak? The Argentines are masters of Malbec and meat.
2. Acidity of the Food and Wine
When consuming foods with higher acidity, make sure the wine is equally high in acidity. Some foods are naturally more acidic than others. Tomatoes are an excellent example; vinaigrettes and tomato sauces need to be paired carefully - Italian wines are often high in acidity and a good place to start.
Tannins are best explained in reference to the dried-out mouth feeling often experienced when drinking big red wines (also likened to drinking over-steeped tea.) Tannins need protein to break them down, and red meat has the highest content of protein. Enjoy your Californian Cabernets with a juicy steak and you won’t be disappointed. For the same reason, avoid fish and delicate white meats with tannic red wines, as tannins tend to make fish taste metallic, and overpower white meat.
4. Match Weight and Flavour Intensity
Rich, heavy foods often pair better with rich, heavy wines. Delicate wines usually suit delicate dishes. Consider the body of the wine (think of it like milk: skim, 2% or buttermilk) and choose a meal that reflects this weight equally. Often a wine with delicate nuanced flavour, such as a Riesling, will get lost with a big meaty stew. Equally, a subtle scallop dish would be lost in a big Barolo!
5. Sweet Foods and Wines
Sweet food is best paired with sweet wine. The key is to find a wine of equal or greater sweetness, as a drier wine can easily taste too tart or acidic. Chocolate works well with port, and fruit-based desserts pair nicely with ice wine.
6. Savoury Foods
Sweet wine is great with sweet food, but it also pairs brilliantly with savoury foods. Some of the most classic pairings in the world work on this basis. One of the greatest culinary experiences is pairing Stilton Blue Cheese with Sauternes. Olives, oysters, and other saltier foods benefit from being paired with a higher acidity wine like Chablis.
7. Alcohol and Spice
An interesting note to remember is that wines high in alcohol will increase the perception of spice and heat in a dish. When eating spicy cuisine, such as Thai or Indian, opt for lower alcohol percentage options such as a Riesling.
8. Champagne Pairs with Everything!
It’s true, and there are a number of reasons why: Champagne comes in a variety of styles, dry to sweet. You can pick the style that best reflects what you are eating. Champagne is high in acidity – best with acidic foods or salty foods such as oysters. The acidity will also help cut through heavier foods – think eggs Benedict on Sunday morning! It is often balanced in its alcohol, so enjoying it with spicier food usually isn’t a problem. Finally, Champagne has millions of tiny little bubbles, which work overtime to wick away any leftover food in your mouth, prepping and refreshing your palate for the next bite. Next time you aren’t sure what to have with dinner, treat yourself to a bottle of Champagne!
ASK AN EXPERT
Got questions? We have answers. Email your questions about wine, whisky and everything in between email@example.com Each month we’ll take the best question to a local industry connoisseur for answers!