29 Mar, 2021

Which wine should you pair with that meal? Award-winning chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine shares her top tips with Dark Horse for pairing wine with food.

Gizzi Erskine is an award-winning food writer, chef and TV host. Having trained at the internationally renowned Leith’s School of Food and Wine, she’s had a number of sell-out events and pop-up restaurants. As well as authoring numerous bestselling books - including ‘Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts’, ‘Season’s Eatings’ and ‘Kitchen Magic’ - she has written for many top publications like GQ, Vogue USA, Elle and The Times. She has also helped host multiple hit TV shows such as ‘Cook Yourself Thin’, ‘Iron Chef’ and, more recently, ‘Ones to Watch’ with Idris Elba and Paloma Faith.

Gizzi is clearly a culinary authority and below she shares with Dark Horse some of her top tips for pairing wine with food. From seafood suppers to your casual Friday night pepperoni pizza, she has you covered. So next time you’re searching for the best wine to pair with your meal, remember these suggestions and you’ll surely have a winner.

For red wine lovers

Don’t always assume that red wine only works best with red meats. Meaty fish like tuna, monkfish and swordfish work surprisingly well as they are bold enough to withstand the tannins and richness of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon and Dark Horse Merlot, which might surprise some people who think only white wine is the appropriate match for fish. Be adventurous and reach for a red!

For those who love heat

Considering a lot of the flavour notes of wine are based around spicing, don’t assume that beer or lager is the most appropriate match for spicy food. The Dark Horse Malbec would work brilliantly with all spicy foods, as it is robust and rich enough to stand up to big spicy flavours with its velvety finish.

For meat lovers

I was 18 years old when I discovered the joys of a really good bottle of red wine with burgers. It makes total sense when you think about it. Let’s break this down. A milk bun with both an acidic and creamy cheese, and umami richness of the beef. Looking at these flavour notes you know it’s going to work. The bold fruity notes of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon are the ideal candidates.

Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon works really well with braised meats. When the gelatine breaks down in the meat it creates an umami richness which sits really well against the smooth finish of the Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon.  My Smoked Chocolate Chili Con Carne showcases this perfectly.

For those getting a Friday night takeaway

Red Wine and Pepperoni Pizza

Your classic Friday night takeaway of an American style Pepperoni pizza and tub of ice cream doesn’t always have to immediately mean beer or fizzy drinks. The umami of tomatoes goes well with big bold reds such as Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon, as does the spiciness of pepperoni and creamy mozzarella. What’s more, red wine is a revelation when paired with chocolate ice cream!

Dark Horse Merlot works well with fatty dishes particularly with pork, lamb, and cheeses because it cuts through brilliantly as it is not too rich and has enough acidity. This also makes the perfect accompaniment for a lot of Chinese food, for example my Five Spice Roasted Lamb Belly with Chinese Pancakes which is an ideal dish to share with friends. The vibrant aromatics of Dark Horse Merlot is a perfect partner for more robust meat and dairy.

For white wine lovers

Chardonnay and Bacon

Bacon is often cured with salt and sugar and then with a hint of smoke. All of these are the things which scream a collaboration with some chardonnay. So, when making any dishes such as carbonara, or ham or gammon chops, reach for a Chardonnay. Dark Horse Chardonnay is rich and full-bodied, with notes of toasted oak and caramel, which are a great complement to the smokiness of the meat.

For picnic season

As the weather improves, medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc is the spring time wine of choice as it works well with fresh, crisp herbal, acidic and briny foods, such as a goats cheese salad, which are perfect for picnics in the park with friends… So, grab a wine cooler and get out into the sunshine!

For those having a celebratory Easter feast

Perfectly pink lamb goes really well with the fresh red fruit notes of Dark Horse Rosé that cut through the umami caramels of the roasted lamb and the sweet iron of the pink meat. So, this Easter, instead of reaching for the classic red for classic Easter Sunday lunch, THINK PINK!

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