Matching food and wine
Elevate your dining experience by picking the right wine to sip alongside your meal
When it comes to food, it’s hard to match the joy of a perfectly paired wine and meal, whether that’s a glass of crisp chablis to wash down briny oysters, lushly fruity malbec to drink alongside a juicy steak or glass of sweet vintage port with a wedge of salty blue cheese.
If you’re new to pairing food and wine, making the right choices can seem daunting, but there are a few concepts you can follow if you’re not sure where to start.
Firstly, it’s all about balance. Make sure the flavours and intensity of your wine and dish match each other. A light, low-alcohol white wine will be overwhelmed by a rich, hearty beef stew, while a full-bodied red would bully the delicate flavours of grilled white fish. Try matching full-bodied wines with full-flavoured foods and vice versa. Consider other aspects of flavour, too: wines with high acidity balance out the richness of fatty and sweet foods, for example.
Don’t be too wedded to the rules, however. If you really want to drink red wine with fish, try choosing a light, chilled red such as pinot noir (a winner with salmon) or a full-bodied, oaky chardonnay with that steak. Matching food and wine is also about how an ingredient is cooked. Chicken cooked in a rich, creamy sauce will need a different wine than a chicken curry with lots of spices, for example.
It’s easy to overthink things, but remember that wine tasting is subjective and that it’s always best, above all, to pick wines that you’ll enjoy drinking, which is why you need to know about Beronia.
Distinctive Riojan wines
La Rioja in north-central Spain is one of the country’s most famous wine-producing regions, known for its vibrant, juicy reds that sing with flavours of berries, red fruits, herbs and smooth spice.
The wines of Bodegas Beronia are intimately reflective of the region. Located in the village of Ollauri in the heart of Rioja Alta, it was first founded in 1973 by a group of wine-loving Basque friends who would regularly come to La Rioja on holiday. Now part of the prestigious González Byass group, it’s an acclaimed Spanish winery that crafts traditional yet innovative Riojan wines.
Wine is produced from around 900 hectares of vineyards at Beronia, with fruit from vines that range between 30-50 years, resulting in wines of refined intensity and fruit character. Everything is supervised by head wine maker and Beronia’s technical director Matías Calleja, using grape varieties such as Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Garnacha and Viura, and employing sustainable and environmentally friendly wine-making techniques.
When it comes to ageing the wines, Beronia are pioneers in the use of mixed barrels, using a mixture of American and French oak in its barrels, each of which imparts different flavours to the wine and adds greater complexity and a rounded quality.
Take Beronia’s Crianza, aged in mixed barrels for 12 months and part of Beronia’s Classic range. Expect black cherry and spicy bramble notes, as well as red fruits and aromatic herbs, plus a subtle hint of vanilla. Full-bodied with a velvety mouthfeel and soft tannins, it’s winningly balanced and easy drinking and makes a versatile match for foods such as roast lamb and grilled beef or meaty veg such as aubergines, as well as charcuterie.
Beronia also has a newer, state-of-the-art winery in Rueda in Castilla y León, where it focusses solely on the production of its award-winning verdejo. Made from two different harvests to achieve the perfect balance of crisp freshness with a silken texture, this wine opens with bright citrus aromas that pave the way for smooth white peach and hints of melon. A great choice for summer, it’s perfect with light salads, white fish and meats, and grilled or fried seafoods.
The versatility of these wines means they can be matched with a wealth of different foods, from hearty roasts to delicate summer salads. Here are a few ideas to get you started: