THE JOURNAL | TOP TIPS
You'll be pairing wines like a pro with these top tips from head sommelier at Launceston Place, Nicola Perrone.
When the flavours and texture of the food and wine are in harmony our palate considers it a good match. Sometimes we treat food and wine like two separate entities, when actually each one compliments the other and brings together a full sensory experience. Every person has different taste and a different sensitivity to flavours, spiciness, alcohol, acidity etc…But there are some tips that we need to keep in mind for successful food and wine pairing:
- Start the meal in ascending order of intensity and alcohol content, from a light white wine to a robust red wine, before finishing with a sweet or fortified wine.
- Is important to know the cooking method (seared, braised, grilled, roasted, steamed) and the ingredients and sauces in each dish, that’s why it can be difficult to try to match a wine with more than one course.
- Many people love spicy food, but it is usually really difficult to match. A safe pairing for white wine is an off-dry light Riesling, or an aromatic wine like Gewurztraminer, with red wine a light Pinot Noir, or a Syrah/Grenache blend - keep in mind that when there is a high percentage of alcohol in the wine paired with spicy food it can enhance a burning sensation on your palate, so it is really important to find the right balance.
- There are also exceptions to the rule “white wine with fish” and “red wine with meat”, a structured white wine matches well with white meat like chicken and pork, Chardonnay with a spicier and creamy texture, or a light red wine works well with a meaty fish, like sea bass and tuna, Pinot Noir or Gamay from Beaujolais - always keep in consideration ingredients and cooking method.
- Wine serving temperature is really important, because the correct temperature enhances the flavour and the components of the wine, a robust wine, if served too warm will enhance the alcohol which will cover the flavour profile of the wine.
- When matching a wine with a dessert is important to take into consideration the sweetness and acidity, if we serve a wine drier than the dish, the wine will taste flat. Ice cream and chocolate based desserts are always challenging, the first because of the cold temperature and the second because of the bitter tendency and the strong flavour of the cocoa - usually it pairs very well with fortified wine, like Pedro Ximenez or a sweet red wine, like Recioto della Valpolicella.
- Please keep in mind that food and wine pairing is an experience and like every experience is important to enjoy it, so don’t expect that it will improve a style of wine that you don’t like. Even if the pairing doesn’t end up being a perfect drink that you like, you will still remember the experience, but it is important to have an open and curious approach, trying for example, a less known wine from a smaller producer instead of the classic, discover different style, now are becoming more popular orange, natural, organic, biodynamics wine.
A true hidden gem in Kensington, Launceston Place serves a flamboyant and seasonally-inspired modern European menu.
Awarded three AA Rosettes in 2019, Launceston Place also won AA’s ‘Notable Wine List’ title in 2013 – one of only seven restaurants in to receive the accolade in the UK that year as well as being awarded ‘Best Wine List’ at the Tatler Restaurant Awards.
Their award winning team includes Head Chef Ben Murphy, who was named Chef to Watch 2016 by The Good Food Guide and took home the Breakthrough Chef of the Year gong at the Food & Travel Awards.