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How to pair wine with 6 classic British foods, according to a wine expert from Bordeaux

If Tesco’s new wine bar which opened in August is anything to go by, the British love a good glass of vino.

Wine often is an ideal accompaniment to most meals, but choosing the right one for your dinner can be a bit tricky.

Laetitia Ouspointour grows and sells her own wine in France. She is the manager of Chateaux Vieux Mougnac, a small vineyard that her family has run for more than 140 years.

She runs wine tastings and pairing workshops for people who visit her vineyard, and has some helpful tips for matching wine with food.

“You want to think about whether you want to complement or contrast the flavours in your dish,” Ouspointour told Business Insider.

“If you have something like bitter chocolate that is 70% cocoa, a sweet wine goes best because you are contrasting the bitterness with something much smoother.”

We asked Ouspointour which wines she thought went best with classic British foods, and she had some unexpected answers.

From red wines with fish to dry whites with apple crumble, here are six classic British foods and what you should be drinking with them.


Stilton.Chris Warham/Shutterstock

Ouspointour said that Stilton, which has a very strong, salty flavours, goes perfectly with a sweet wine. “They are often called dessert wines,” she said, “but they are definitely not just for dessert.”

She said that, instead of trying to find something as strong as a blue cheese, contrasting the savory flavours is the best way forward. Sweet wines like Sauternes or Port “match well with something like Stilton. You have bitterness on one side that is lifted by the acidity and sweetness level of the wine.”

Sunday roast

roast beef yorks
Roast beef. Neil Langan/Shutterstock

The most classic of British dishes, a traditional Sunday roast has bold, rich flavours. Ouspointour said that when it comes to roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, it’s better to drink a full-bodied red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon. “If it’s red meat, I would go complimentary because it’s a full-bodied meal.”

On the other hand, if you’re serving roast chicken, you can go for a lighter red like a Clariet.

Fish and Chips

fish and chips
Fish and chips. Flickr/damski

Ouspointour said that fish and white wine are natural pairings. “The first thing that comes to mind for me is a dry white wine,” which also helps to contrast the rich, oily flavours of battered fish.

But surprisingly, red wine works just as well. “If you wanted, you could definitely go for a lighter red wine like a Bordeaux or a Clairet.”

Goat’s cheese

goats cheese
Goat’s cheese and beetroot salad. Martin Gaal/Shutterstock

Goat’s cheese and beetroot salads regularly appear on menus in restaurants. And places like Somerset in the west of England produce award-winning goat’s cheeses.

Ouspointour said that a dry, citrusy white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, “goes better with the milder, neutral flavours that are in goat’s cheese.”

Beef stew

beef stew
Beef stew flippinyank/Flickr

Beef Bourguignon might be famous in France, but a hearty beef stew is one of the most popular dishes in the UK.

Ouspointour said the flavours of the beef stew itself should be the star of the meal, so a medium-bodied red like a Bordeaux is ideal.

She said: wines with “intense red colour and soft tannins,” go best with stews with a rich sauce.

“For this,” said Ouspointour, “I would go with a Bordeaux, because it complements the flavours without overpowering them.”

Apple crumble

Apple crumble
Apple crumble. andrea_44/Flickr

People in the UK search Google for apple crumble recipes more than any other dish, and it is one of the most popular classic British dishes.

“I would recommend a dessert wine such as a Sauternes, because the freshness of the fruit works with the silkiness of the sweet wine.”

But if sweet wine isn’t your thing, Ousinpointour actually prefers a Sauvignon Blanc.

This is because of the wine’s structure. Anything with too many “tannins” — a chemical compound found in the skins and seeds of grapes which makes wine bitter — will leave a sour, unpleasant taste. Ouspointour says a dry white like Sauvignon Blanc cuts through the buttery flavours of the crumble, but doesn’t overpower the whole dessert.

This story was originally published by Food & Wine.


By: Edith Hancock

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