News > Business

Wine experts reveal top wine and food pairings

By Emma Eversham , 26-Jul-2012

Related topics: Business, Events & Awards, Trends & Reports, Restaurants, Hotels, Pubs & Bars, Alcohol

A team of wine experts has compiled a list of the best wines to match 16 of the UK's favourite dishes, including fish and chips, chicken tikka masala and strawberries and cream.

Seventeen wine critics, including Hakkasan's group wine buyer Christine Parkinson, Tate head sommelier Hamish Anderson and Saturday Kitchen regulars Susie Barrie and Peter Richards, blind tasted hundreds of wines against the dishes for the What Food What Wine 2012 Awards, before deciding which were the best pairings. 

Perhaps one of the most surprising results was that sherry came out as a top match with fish and chips. Judges voted La Gitana Manzanilla an 'outstanding' match to the dish for matching 'in weight and saltiness' while two New Zealand whites - Morrisons' Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and Nobilo Icon Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - were voted best matches under £10 and over £10 respectively. 

Also surprising was a white wine as best match to cheese. Durbanville Hills Chardonnay 2010 was voted best match to mature cheddar. 

Curry and wine

A 2011 Hungarian rosé from Spice Trail came out as an 'outstanding' match with Indian curries. Judges attended a special tasting at Vivek Singh's Cinnamon Kitchen to try wines alongside four popular Indian dishes - chicken korma, chicken tikka masala, lamb rogan josh and the restaurant's own prawn curry - and found it matched all of the spiced dishes best.

Other good matches to curry, notoriously difficult to match with wine, included a New Zealand Gewurztraminer (best match to chicken tikka masala) and a South African Viognier (best match to chicken korma).

Italian restaurateurs may be interested to know that the best matches for lasagne were not from Italy, but from Portugal and New Zealand. Naked Wines' Montaria 2011 from Portugal was voted best match for lasagne under £10 while Villa Maria Private Bin Syrah 2010 came out as best match for lasagne over £10. 

Chair judge Peter Richards said: “Top award winners came from all over – from the Loire to Aconcagua, from the Portugal to Hampshire, from big and small, New World and Old, pricey and eminently affordable.” 

Launched last year, the competition, sees judges blind taste the wines alongside 16 popular dishes before rating them under four categories - sound match, very good match, excellent match and outstanding. Judges know no more information about wines other than if they cost more or less than £10.

The 16 dishes are: 

  • Chicken Korma
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Lamb Rogan Josh
  • Cinnamon Kitchen's prawn curry
  • Fish and chips
  • Smoked salmon
  • Mushroom risotto
  • Rump steak & fries
  • Roast lamb
  • Lasagne
  • Mature cheddar 
  • Stilton
  • Turkey with sage and onion stuffing
  • Strawberries and cream
  • Apple crumble and custard
  • Christmas pudding with rum sauce

Visit What Food What Wine  for the full list of best matches.


National Restaurateurs’ Dinner 2014: in pictures

National Restaurateurs’ Dinner 2014: in pictures

The 27th National Restaurateurs’ Dinner (NRD) took place at the Dorchester on Tuesday, helping raise over £80,000 for...

Travellers’ Choice: Top 10 UK tourism hotspots

Travellers’ Choice: Top 10 UK tourism hotspots

London is the third-best travel destination in the world, according to TripAdvisor’s sixth annual Travellers’ Choice awards...

#AskMark: Our inspiring Twitter Q&A with Mark Sargeant reviewed

#AskMark: Our inspiring Twitter Q&A with Mark Sargeant reviewed

Whether it was his advice for young chefs, his memories of working with Gordon Ramsay or his...

Business Profile: Ping Pong

Business Profile: Ping Pong

Ping Pong’s change-of-location strategy and design brief move it a step closer to bringing dim sum to...

Development Chef Awards 2014: In Pictures

Development Chef Awards 2014: In Pictures

The Farm Frites Development Chef Awards 2014 took place in London yesterday, recognising and rewarding the best menus, dishes...

Find us on Facebook

Digital Edition - Restaurant Magazine

Access to the Restaurant Magazine digital edition