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Doing it the French Way

When choosing a wine to go with a particular dish some consideration should duly be given to the protein on the plate – the meat or fish. It is the central component and important. However, it is rarely served alone so to consider it in isolation would be wrong.  A dish might be highly seasoned, or the sauce (the jus) might be light and fresh or rich and sweet. The vegetables might be fresh, roasted and/or honey-glazed. It can be a busy plate or a simple one. With simple Chicken Caesar Salad I like a decent Chardonnay, for example. On the other hand Coq au Vin (with its red wine sauce) without a Rhone red wouldn`t be Coq au Vin at all, and with Chardonnay would be plain wrong. So consider the dish as a whole when you are choosing your matching wine for supper, and avoid wines which will likely over power the dish, or be overpowered. Your merchant will help you choose, naturally. The next choice is whether to follow the main course with a desert and finish with the cheeses, or to follow the main with the cheeses and finish the evening with desert. This is the French way, and I prefer it. Sticking with the savoury until the end gives more scope for wine-drinking continuity; no reason at all why you can`t  finish off the same dry white you have been enjoying with the sea bass, it is likely to go as well with the cheeses as any red. Additionally you might bring forward the sweet wine you have chosen for desert and enjoy the contrasting sensation of its sweet taste next to the salt in the cheese. It can be explosive on the palate and joyous. Happy days…

The Wine Centre, Great Horkesley  Opening hours 10am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday. Telephone 01206 271 236 , email

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