This month ISES Sydney chapter members went on a quest to learn the importance of good wine and how best to match the beverages to the food served at an event.
Report and photos by Cynthia Sciberras
Tom Stanford, from John Boston Premium Beverages shared his enthusiasm and expert knowledge, giving guests his three key pointers on the importance of good wine and beer. Then, without too much resistance from guests, went on to share his 7-deadly sins, when it comes to matching food and wine.
So here they are – the three key points.
1. Don’t let price be the only driver for choice
- Be relevant to your market, occasion, client
- Choice of brands will define you
- Develop your supply chain – supplier relationships; It could become your competitive edge
2. Less is more
- Value rather volume
- Quality over quantity
- Your recommendation and research = value added – find the ‘hidden gems’
3. Make changes and reinvent
- Vintages roll over every year
- Make your starting point – wine?
- Take appropriate risk with new product; that which is best matched (suited product); go non mainstream
The 7-deadly sins – when it comes to matching your beverages to your food and wine for an event.
1. There aren’t really any “rules”
The most important thing when matching food and wine is to use your imagination. There are no rules that work for every situation or person.
2. Match wine with people first
No matter how well those oysters and that minerally fresh Riesling go together in your mouth, to someone who just loves to drink big reds, it’s unlikely to taste any good. Respect that everyone’s palate is different and think about your guests and their wine preferences first and think about the food match second.
3. The food and wine must both taste great on their own
Duck and pinot can make magic together when united, but it’s not always the case. A watery, insipid, cheap pinot is still going to taste sad and bland even if it is teamed with the most succulent duck confit. And the same goes for the food – if it doesn’t taste any good on its own, it is very unlikely that your wine match, no matter how delicious, is going to make the food taste better!
4. Weight is important
Lighter, more delicately flavoured food generally works best with lighter style wines and heavy tannic reds tend to be best hooked up with more robust meaty dishes but of course there will always be times when a light wine could team marvellously with a heavy rich dish.
5. Contrast one to the other
Contrast is something that we personally love to play with. Using a light acidic wine like Hunter Valley Semillon to cut through the oiliness of fried fish and chips is always a winner.
6. Complement each other
Finding flavour similarities can result in a harmonious food & wine matching experience. Matching the earthiness of mushrooms in a mushroom risotto can work a treat with a funky earthy Pinot Noir. Or a fresh minty cabernet sauvignon to complement your classic roast lamb with mint sauce can also be a flavour explosion.
7. Trust your own instincts
Like most things in life, if it feels a bit dodgy then it probably is! It’s not the end of the world if the food and wine are more at the divorce end of the relationship spectrum – as long as you follow pointer number three, you’ll be able to enjoy each on their own. A judicious sip of palate cleansing water in between mouthfuls can make all the difference.
Thanks Tom, for sharing your expert knowledge and insight.
The event sponsors were:
Catering – Avocado Group
Venue – The Wine Society
John Boston Premium Beverages
Staffing – Stedmans Hospitality
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