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Wine Pairing

Smoking is a culinary technique where food is exposed to the smoke from burning or smoldering materials suchas hardwood,  while being previously  marinated with salt and sugar. Which are the most commonly smoked food? Cold meat and sausages, salmon, tuna, sardines, cod and also cheese. Note that usually this kind of viands are eaten raw without any garnish.

Claudio which wines do you recommend me?

The technique of smoking food brings us back to ancient times when it was a way of preserving food in the long term. For this kind of food, there is a wide range of possible pairings.  I would match a few slices of smoked salmon with some rosé sparkling wine that has good acidity so it can bear the oily texture of salmon and still retain its personality, a similar excellent choice are  vinous champagnes with Pinot Noir as main grape. To relish a good jerky beef nothing as a powerful and structured red wine  such as a crianza red wine from Ribera del Duero or a Mencía from Bierzo.

Includes any recipe that has rice as main ingredient prepared together with veal, pork, poultry or wild rabbit meat. In any of its varieties, to be able to obtain a luscious flavourful dish, meat has to be roasted slowly if possible in a earthenware casserole dish, where the bresa or mirepoix (stirfried chopped vegetables and spices) are also prepared. Finally the rice is cooked along with the meats in a meat broth to intensify its taste. Which of these meat rices is your favorite? Chicken rice with artichokes, white botifarra and mushrooms rice, rice with tenderloin Iberian pork and foie, mountain style rice with pork ribs, rice with foie gras and ceps (boletus edulis), oxtail risotto, rice with rabbit and chanterelles, etc...

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

My recommendation would be that you try sparkling wines including even some Pinot Noir’s champagne. Also it works perfectly with fragant and light red wines chiefly those with a short oak aging without forgetting barrel aged rosé wines, these latter might be the best for these type of rices.

Includes any recipe with the rice as main ingredient along with fish, mussels and crustaceans. The dish can be presented creamy in broth, without it or cooked in paella. The secrect behind a perfect rice is the well known mirepoix or bresa (stirfried chopped vegetables and spices). Once we have this, we cook the rice in a seafood fumet (white broth made with pieces of white fish and shrimps or other small shellfish); depending on the quantity of fumet we will achieve that rice is much soupy or drier. Still haven't found your fish rice? Seafood paella, rice with lobster, rice with cod, rice in green sauce with cockles, rice with sea cucumbers, and an endless llist of seaside recipes.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Fish rice dishes because of its marine component are simply crying out for either light and crispy white winesrosé wines or sparkling wines. For instance, a succulent seafod paella matches perfectly with a rosé wine from Navarra and a creamy rice with lobster is even better with a saline and mineral white Ribeiro wine. 

This refers to lighter-colored meats, as opposed to red meat, such as poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) or also lamb, rabbit and pork. With the exception of lamb and pork, these meat have a low fat index and quite neutral taste so they are associated with delicate wines and can even pair perfectly with white wines. A few culinary proposal with white meats? Chicken fricassee, pork tenderloin in mustard sauce, grilled Iberian pork, roasted ham hock, pork with turnip tops, râble de lapin, chicken in velouté sauce, goat ribs with jacket potatoes, roasted suckling pig at the Segovian style, plump chicken cannelloni, pig’s trotters in sauce, fried eggs with bacon and fries, etc...

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

The best matches for white meats are white grape based white or sparkling wines. Chardonnay’s sparkling crianza wines  is a perfect pairing for a chicken fricassee and a Palatinate Riesling aged in bottle is an exceptional match for grilled Iberian pork or roasted ham hock, an audacious pairing that will amaze both you and your guests. Light and elegant red wines can also fit flawlessly with a Segovian style suckling pig. And just a last suggestion, have you ever tried to enjoy some full English or Irish breackfast along with a crianza cava sparkling wine?

It includes the meat of most adult mammals, mainly cows, sheep and horse since they have a darker coloured mead and stronger flavour in contrast with white meat when raw. Red meats typically have a intense, rich flavour.

They allow any cooking style: roast, grill, barbeque, braise, oven or stew. Which are the best recipes with red meat? Boeuf bourguignon, steak tartare, veal fricandeau with mushrooms, beef dry aged burger, veal shank stew in red wine, wagyu beef cannelloni, beef carpaccio with parmesan cheese, beef fillet with foie and port sauce, stewed beef, beef cheeks with vermouth, oxtail in chocolate sauce, spring lamb stew, rosemary crusted lamb chops, shepherd’s pie, etc...

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Blood, strengh and savour! Such qualifiers lead us necessarily to a good rich and full-bodied red wineReserve red winesfrom Tempranillo or Mencía, as well as wines from Cabernet Sauvignon or  Merlot  are good table mates with more close to raw meats. Stews and sauce dishes fit perfectly with Syrah wines. And do not throw away the possibity of a vinous crianza sparkling wine to enjoy a spicy seasoned steak tartare.

With this term we refer to any roe fish despite being the wild sturgeon roe the most  famous (beluga, sevruga and ossetra sturgeon caviar). Caviar is tipically served on thin sliced bread, butter, lemon and stalks of chives in order to reduce the powerful flavor of the product itself.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

With caviar… bubbles! Crianza sparkling wines are the best match with this prized exquisiteness of delicate texture.
Another rather bold but really successful option is the pairing of caviar with a fortified wine like fino to merge the salinity of both products with surprising results.

Considers any animal hunted for food consumption or not normally domesticated (wild animals). The range varies from large game (fur animals) and small game (feathered game). Which are considered game animals? Depending of course on the worl area the most common are venison, deer, roe deer, wild boar, hare, wild rabbit, woodcock,  woodpigeon, partridge, pheasant and grouse. Game meat has to be processed, specially large game such as deer, being necessary to remove the viscera in the filed and then have it hung for a period so that the meat matures.  The taste is strong, power, of animal fur, metallic and wild, commonly known as gamey which is not suitable to delight everyone... Think twice before ordering game dish! Typical recipes for the game food? Royal hare stew, pheasant cannelloni with truffle, wild duck in orange sauce, roasted wild boar leg with mustard sauce, wild boar borscht,  venison stew with pears, salmis of woodcock, etc.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

The sturdy and wild  hunting world demands "hunter" wines able to cope with both feathered and fur animals. Nevertheless, frequently this type of cuisine tends to be accompanied by robust wines with structure, you will make the most of your hunting experience with any medium-bodied red wines gran reserva, wines with classic style aged in bottle.

There are several types of chocolate, depending on the contains and proportions of cocoa solids and cocoa butter, which can also contain sugar, milk, dried fruit, fruits, liquor… Chocolate might be the worst enemy of wine as it modifies the sense of taste, emphasizing the bitter and acid flavours of wine. To achieve an excellent pairing, both products should be smooth and elegant, the stronger the chocolate is, much body the wine requires. Although chocolate is consumed mostly for pleasure, it also has many positive effects on health: improves the circulatory system, reduces the risk of heart attack, has a positive effect on cerebral stimulation, may help lower cholesterol levels, some studies mark out it has anticarcinogenic activities and don’t forget its aphrodisiac effect. Which kind of chocolate do you prefer? Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, hot chocolate, chocolate fudge, chocolate mousse, chocolate coulant, tiramisu, chocolate truffles, brownies, chocolate cakes, chocolate ice cream, etc.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

With chocolate and any pastries or desserts that use it as primary ingredient I would recommend sweet red wines and fortified sweet wines such as the sweet wines made with Garnacha in Montsant appellation, the fortified wines aged by solera and criadera process, a system typical of warm areas, such as those ones  from TarragonaJerez and Montilla-Moriles with Pedro Ximénez,  and finally we should never overlook the leading wine ideal to pair with chocolate... Porto!

This is a technique for food preservation in which food is introduced in a solution of water, salt and citric acid to preserve them from microorganisms and oxidations. Which canned vegetables are suitable for wine? White or green asparagus, piquillo peppers, artichokes, fried baby beans, thistles, starflower, peas, mushrooms and a long etcetera. Keep in mind that all vegetable preserves have a prior cooking process so they tend to have a soft texture. They can be consumed alone or be used as a garnish in fish, meats or salads.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Who said eating vegetables is boring? With this wide range of canned vegetables you can enjoy some wild asparagus with Albariño wines from Spain or Portugal, also with fruity, aromatic whites wines of Verdejo, thistles and starflower with dry and light white wines of Palomino Fino  and stir-fried mushrooms in their own juice will have its perfect pairing with fortified winessuch as oloroso.

It includes all products from the black Iberian pigs salted and  marinated with paprika, garlic, spices and left to dry in cellars for the curing process. What are the most representative Iberian cured meats? Ham, salami, tenderloin, chorizo and morcón. It is best enjoyed eaten alone, with tomato rubbed bread or in a stew.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Considering its spicy and seasoned components as well as its natural fat, Iberian cured meats are great partners of sparkling wines and fortified wines such as fino and manzanilla.
Sometimes they also fit well with some young dry and light white wines made from Xarel.lo grapes for its dynamic, tarty and saline temperament.

Covers any type of salad in all its versions (with goat cheese, foie gras, seafood, dates or tropical fruit, etc.)

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

As long as salads are usually dressed with salt, oil and vinegar, every salads dishes fits well with fortified wines from Sherry area such as fino or manzanillas, as well as the all the range of light and fresh sparkling wines.
For salads done up with any fruit an interesting harmony is created by matching with aromatic wines of Sauvignon Blancgrape where you will find fragant nuances such as pear, peach, blood orange and grapefruit.
If you are looking for a jolly wine pairing my advise is that you enjoy your salad with a young rosé wine.

This section covers oily fish (sardines, anchovies, tuna, bonito, mackerel and dogfish), shellfish (mussels and scallops) and poultry (pheasant, partridge and quail) preserves that have been cooked in an acid solution, usually vinegar, together with some other herbs and spices, such as garlic, bay leaf, black and red pepper, mustard seeds and oil. The pickling creates a perfect combination of the main food flavours with the sourness of the vinegar, while the spices enhance its taste through a marinating process.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

This may be one of the most difficult matches but I would dare to say it is enough to select a wine with acid architecture and some spark of residual sugar. A off-dry Riesling such as a German Kabinett from the Mosel area will match masterfully the sweet-spicy taste of pickled poultry. Also light and fresh Brut sparkling wines are other stimulating pairing for pickled fish and shellfish.

Is a dish prepared cooking food slowly in liquid on a saucepan and served in the resultan gravy. Typically stews include any combination of vegetables (potatoes, leeks, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers...), tough meats that allow slow-cooking (beef, poultry, sausages and pork), sometimes fish and shellfish (cod, monkfish, tuna, squids, clams...) and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas) allowing flavous to mingle in a broth or soup. Stews are autum-winter cold months specialties due to its high calorific value. Are you in the mood for a stew or a hotpot? Tolosa beans fully dressed, stewed lentils with black pudding and ham, stewed peas with cod, stewed squid with chickpeas, beans with clams and ham, sea cucumbers with chick peas and sausage, small cuttlefish with peas and artichokes, Rioja-style potatoes, French cassoulet or bouillabaisse, German eintopf and many more.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

What would please grandparents to drink with such traditional recipes? Rich and full-bodied crianza red wines that can endure the intensity of the dish whether they are  continental or Mediterranean wines. Should the hotpot have white meats, vegetables and/or fish involved I would first-line a crianza sparkling wine.

Foie gras (fat liver) is a food product made of liver of duck or goose that has specially fattened by overfeeding with corn and cereals to obtain a liver with a rich, buttery and delicate texture. Regarded as a luxury dish, it is mainly consumed fresh, poêlé (grilled) or mi-cuit (semi-cooked) on toasted bread.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Doubtlessly the oily texture of the foie-gras needs sweet white wines with good acidity such as Moscatel, maybe a Rieslingof late-harvest grapes (spätlese) from the German region of Mosel  with a mi-cuit foie-gras. Another interesting option is a grilled foie-gras in combination with a sweet white wine of Montsant made from raisined grapes.

It includes any form of food taken from the sea, not only fish but molluscs (mussels, oysters, cockles, clams, razor clams, small clams, squid, octopus, baby cuttlefish) and crustaceans (prawns, shrimps, mantis shrimps, lobster, slipper lobster, crabs, brown crabs, spider crabs, goose barnacles, etc). How would you like to enjoy your seafood? These dishes can sustain fabulously the cooking on grill simply with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic and parsley, some can also be eaten raw such as oysters or clams, many others slightly steamed and finally as rice soup or paella dishes type.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Seashell products are naturally iodized and this makes them an excellent match for Riesling fruity and aromatic white wines, and also those wines from Rias BaixasRibeiroTxacoli and Rueda appellations.

These are fishes externally blue-coloured that contein a high percentage of oil, and its moderate consumption is beneficial due to the elevated omega-3 content (prevents cardiovascular diseases and reduces heart attack risk). Oily fishes are best consumed raw or grilled. Which oily fishes should we find in the market? Tuna, bonito, herring, anchovies, sardines, salmon, eel, mackerel, swordfish and red mullet.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

The wide assortment of oily fishes as well as its different cooking procedures gives us the opportunity to discover multiple pairings: from light and elegant red wines for a bonito tataki; young rosé wines with a grilled or papillote salmon; some fruity and aromatic white wines, as for instance Albariño wines to go with marinated swordfish.

This term refers to fishes with white colour and low-fat content (not more than 2% of its weight). As far as cuisine is concerned, they are suitable for any preparation: grill, steaming, with sauce and in stews. What are the most common white fishes? Hake, monkfish, sole, bream, turbot, cod, John Dory and scorpion fish.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

White fishes, thanks to its low fat content, are perfect partners with white and red wines of scanty consistence, light personality and good acidity as for instance: any calcareous wine from the Chablis appellation,  all the fruity and aromatic Riesling wines of Nahe appellation; every white wine from Muscadet Sèvre Maine appellation  at the Loire department; the white wines of  Rioja made with Viura grapes, as well as those red wines with Pinot NoirGamay or Merenzao match exquisitely with a good baked hake, steamed bream or grilled scorpionfish.

Welcome to the world of sweetness that completes every remarkable meal. Desserts include cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits, pies, puddings, candies and ice cream with a sweet taste owing to its high sugar concentration. Other ingredients mixed with sugar are flour, eggs, fruits and dairy products. Still trying to make up your mind on dessert? Rice pudding, apple pie, gingerbread, cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, berries and cream puff pastry, vanilla custard, flambée caramel custard, crème brûlée, sweet fritters, iced whisky cake, banoffee pie, carrot cake, Christmas pudding, rum baba, sachertorte, soufflé, tarte tatin, tea loaf, etc.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

In the amazing world of desserts, the leading role is played by sweet wines. Normally we match chocolate or cocoa desserts with red sweet wines and other desserts with white sweet wines. A Sachertorte based on cake, apricot jam and dark chocolate or simply a few nuts are a charming partnership with red sweet wines made from raisined grapes, as well as a Colheita Porto. On the other hand, a creamy tropical fruit shortcake borders perfection if you pair it with sweet wines made from botrytis-affected grapes.

Is the general classification of cow's milk, sheep's milk or goat's milk cheeses, with cultures of the blue and or greenish-gray mold Penicillium added to give them their characteristic blue-green veins and aged in temperature controlled natural caves or cellars. Their taste is strong, tends to be spicy and salty and with a peculiar sharp smell of sour and ferment.

Which are the best-known blue cheeses? Spanish Cabrales and Picón from Tresviso, French Roquefort and Bleu d'Auvergne, Italian Gorgonzola and English Blue Stilton.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Due of its complex taste, salty blue cheeses match very well with sweet white wine, as those from the French Sauternes appellation, those from the German Riesling and also red sweet wines such as Porto.

This category includes all the chesses made out of cow’s milk, sheep’s milk and goat’s milk  and cream which gives the unique texture due also involving a signifiacative increase in fat content.  Creamy cheeses have different intensities, which may range from bittersweet to a very strong sharp and pungent flavour with prevalence of tarty, spicy and salty sensations and with a fermier scent; the cheese paste is usually soft with a mouldy rind in cases such as Brie de Meaux or with a humid one which would be the case of Munster cheeses due to the washing during its maturing that might be done with brine or  spirits. In this section, France is the largest producer of creamy handmade cheeses of raw milk. Which are the best creamy cheeses? Among Spanish creamy cheeses stand out Torta del Casar, Tupí, Afuega’l Pitu, while for the French ones we can highlight Brie, Camembert, Saint-Marcelin, Saint-Félicien, Munster, Epoisses and Crottin de Chavignol.

Claudio, which wines would you recommend me?

My advice for pairing creamy chesses, mainly based on its texture, are young white wines and with good acidity. As for red wines I would recommend you to choose young, light ones, with what we could say white wine personality.

You have to bear in mind that creamy cheeses with strong flavour need wines with more acidity. An excellent matching are Sparkling wines and those white wines with intense character as those made from Riesling grapes containing residual sugar.  With red wines, I would suggest you tasting wines with light red colour as those made with Pinot Noir.

Encompasses a wide range of cow’s milk, sheep’s milk or goat’s milk cheeses, aged through a process where they are dried and cooked or notn; ranging from semi-hard or semi-cured chesse up to extra hard depending on the time of its aging in cellars, this curing process provides a quite hard and dry texture as well as enhances the intensity of flavour, highly appreciated by cheese lovers; minimum ageing time for a cheese to be considered cured is six months, but generally it requires about one and a half years or two; milk used can be either raw or pasteurized depending on the treatments before the elaboration process; the rind can be simply brushed or washed with oil, distillates, or spices. Which are the most prestigious cured cheeses? Manchego, Idiazábal, Comte, Beaufort, Reblochon, Morbier, parmesan, pecorino, Emmental, Gruyere, Gouda and Cheddar.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

You will enjoy cured cheeses mainly with crianza red wine or reserve from Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Chianti appellations. For semi-hard cheeses I would much more recommend you dry and light white wines with good acidity and sometimes saline reminiscences as those from Jerez-Manzanilla, Jura or Ribeiroappellations and wines made from Albariño or Riesling grapes.

Japanese dish, vinegared sushi rice-based, garnished with fish and seafood. It may also include fresh vegetables and seaweeds that enhance the taste of the fish. What does sushi taste like? There are many kinds of sushi, variety arises from the preparation and additions whether it is sashimi (raw fish only), sushi (fish and rice) or maki (fish, rice and nori), the tastes are delicate, light and refined, always provided the fish and/or seafood are in perfect condition. In this type of dish, the textures prevail over the flavour.

Claudio which wines would you recommend me?

Due to its delicate composition and pure flavors, I match sushi with wines produced from white varieties: out of sparkling wines to compensate the rice texture, up to white wines, as for instance those ones from ChablisPenedèsRibeiro and Rías Baixas appellations, certainly including off-dry wines with good acidity made from Riesling, able to outweigh the extremely pungent flavour of wasabi.