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Wine and charcuterie pairing
With salt, fat and spice, there are plenty of flavours to consider when finding a wine to go with your charcuterie board. We get the experts’ advice…
Wine and charcuterie pairing
Regional and style matches
‘The first rule for me, is to go for regional matches whenever possible,’ said Yuri Gualeni, restaurant and wine manager at Tratra wine bar and restaurant in London. ‘If I know where the charcuterie is made, then I’ll know a wine.’
‘As with most pairing, we would always look to match lighter flavoured meats to lighter wines,’ said Sean Cannon, managing director of British charcuterie company Cannon & Cannon and Nape wine bar in London.
The 10 rules of food and wine pairing
Watch out for salt and fat
Given the high salt content in cured meats, freshness is key when picking a wine. Salt in food softens the acidity in wine, so choose higher acidity styles.
‘Acidity works well to refresh the palate, as fat and salt together are quite dominant factors in tasting,’ said Cannon.
Acidity also helps to cut through the often fatty cuts used for charcuterie.
‘Fat goes well with acid and citrus. A decent vintage Champagne and smoked lardo are great bedfellows,’ said Cannon.
Gualeni agrees ‘Fatty meats need bubbles and acidity.’
Other flavours to consider
‘Think about if it’s very meaty or something more subtle,’ said Gualeni. ‘Whether it’s cured, spiced or herbed too.’
‘German salami, for example,tends to be a bit spicy, so go for something juicy and light bodied, like a Beaujolais.’
You could also match the spiciness with a spicy wine, said Cannon.
‘Highly aromatic meats such as a fennel salami will often pair well with spicy reds such as Northern Italian young red wines.’
What to avoid
‘Nothing like a very grassy Sauvignon Blanc with salami or sauccison,’ said Gualeni.
‘And nothing with too much structure or complexity; Napa Cabernet Sauvignon would be too difficult. It would clash, and you wouldn’t enjoy either of the two.’
Cannon agrees ‘I am yet to find a good match in charcuterie for Bordeaux blends. I think the tannin, wood and darker leathery flavours struggle to be matched by the delicate flavours of charcuterie.’
‘If you’ve got a whole selection of different styles on your charcuterie board, an Anjou or a light Loire red is a good all-rounder. Also Lambrusco – it’s light, fruity, bubbles,’ said Gualeni.
‘And if you’ve got cheese as well, go for an Italian Amarone or Valpolicella.’
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