Breaking the rules on pairing wine with food!

Penfolds Bin 311Sunday in Sydney was warm and sunny, the perfect white wine weather, not that I only drink white wine when it’s warm or red when it’s cold, it just helped set the mood for a white.  The thing though was that we were cooking up a good old fashioned and basic Sunday roast, I’ve got a load of beans coming out of my veggie patch that need eating.

So the dilemma I was in was that the mood was white but the roast beef was flashing a solid red!  My first thought was that maybe a Viognier would hold up against the beef, being a little oily and all, but the problem was that I actually don’t have any Viognier laying around, strangely enough (note to self: I must get me some).  And according to the infographic I’ve dropped into this post I was possibly right on that assumption too.

So in the end I decided to pop open a 2006 Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay hoping that a bit of age may add to the roast experience.  2006 was also an excellent vintage in Tumbarumba so the wine itself was looking good.

Pairing this Chardy with a roast was always going to be risky but it’s the best white style I could think of that was available with ease, and I was getting thirsty!


Opening this wine was a pleasure, it just smelled so good!  Nice and toasty with hints of melon and a general array of fruit.  Definitely showing some age, but too much so?  Clearly it had turned a golden colour but on sipping it had morphed into a nutty complex wine that had retained most of its fruit flavours, now laid over the top of toast.  It was still quite delicate and fine too, possibly too much so for the roast.

Quite enjoyable to drink, but how did it go with the beef?  Sadly, not as good as I had hoped.  The beef overpowered the delicate elements in the wine leaving behind only the earthy aspects.  It was still ok but they did not enhance each other at all sadly.  The best bit about getting a food and wine pairing right is when they join to create a unique and enjoyable experience but it just felt like these two were having an argument.

rioja-nealA lot of this wine was saved to sip and savour after the meal was complete.  It was a good old Chardy indeed.

Sometimes though you can get an odd food and wine pairing spot on.  Neal recently tweeted about a strange combo he got right, the pairing of sushi with a Spanish Rioja.  Apparently this ended up being the perfect wine for the sushi he was eating.  It just goes to show that although there are some general guidelines, and for fairly good reason, you may get lucky breaking those pairing rules from time to time.

And, when it comes down to it, it’s about drinking whatever the hell you feel like (even if it ends up clashing)!

Author: Conrad



  1. Stick to the rules, he he he.

    Oh, I’ve missed the genetic link for constructive crit. Father-in-law – he is a wine maniac, a player, and likewise my youngster, he can talk the grape.

    Wife used to work the wine shop – down the Kings Road, Chelsea – owned by the Status Quo keyboardist, yes yes. Status Quo? Exactly 😉 – you are a (cliche alert) a world away at the beach, dammit. Still, like Connery I can always spot a Russian spy on a train…

    all the best


  2. I reckon that the best way is to toss wine rules out the window and enjoy any you have handy 😀 Learned that lesson a long time ago and that’s probably the reason why I usually have more whites than reds lying about


  3. I tend to be one of those people who drink what they feel like…. I’m not a good paired of food or wine. I drink the same thing with a steak, that I would a bologna sandwich. I’m mesmerized often by what you guys do;)


  4. Sod the rules! But the bit I’m jealous about is that you have the perfect white wine weather. Not so here in deepest darkest Essex. Flooding, grey grimness all about. Better stick to the warming reds for a while here!


      • Hm. I tend to want bigger bodied wines, zins and syrahs for the most part. And seriously oakey chards or Marlborough Sauvignon blancs. I find pinots thin. But, those wines that don’t have enough body to suit me seem to work well with sushi where my preferred varieties overwhelm the food. I had given up on drinking anything but water or tea with sushi because I haven’t found a sake I care for and wine wasn’t working, until it occurred to me to try Pinot Gris a couple of months ago. I had completely discounted anything red. I’ll keep Pinot noir in mind.


    • I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that! Yes, it was not the biggest dish but we hate over-eating or wasting food on the plate and would rather go back for more. It was a simple meal and a simple photo to go with it. Cheers Mabel. 😛


  5. Sounds like there’s a good reason for the rules! Are these actually written rules? I ask because I’ve never really read a rule as such and always looked upon it as an unspoken rule…red with beef/steaks white with chicken/fish. ??


  6. Had a local wine maker actually tell me that it was ok to chill a red a little in the Aussie summer as that would make it closer to a “cellar temp” which is the recommended temp for his wine so I no longer feel guilty about popping it in the fridge for a bit before opening.
    Not much of a still white drinker so I have been drinking rose’ and light reds while the weather is stinking hot.
    Did recently match Moet with sashimi and teppanyaki which was most delightful before moving onto saki…


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