The Perfect Match: Wines for red meat
New Zealanders eat a lot of red meat and this week I'd like to show you how I match wine to some of our more traditional species and cuts.
Let's start with lamb, which has a rich, musty flavour. When cooked well, the rendered fat will leave you licking your lips all night. When it comes to matching wine with lamb, there are two varietals I use most often, merlot and pinot noir.
Merlot is a soft, velvety wine that's easy on the palate and lets lamb be the star of the show. I suggest matching a bottle of Corbans Homestead Merlot (RRP $17.99) to your next Sunday lamb roast to see how its sweet plum flavours complement the dish.
The second wine I love to use with lamb is Pinot Noir - another soft, red varietal. Considered by many as the 'holy grail' of wine, pinot noir's intricate depth of fruit and silky tannins pair with the earthy mustiness that lamb can possess. Try some loin chops slowly cooked on a low heat with peas, mash and a pan gravy made from the cooking juices plus a little Huntaway Reserve Pinot Noir (RRP $23.99), beef stock, cornflour, salt and pepper. Cook the gravy over medium heat until it is reduced and glossy and you have my absolute favourite all-time home cooked meal.
Beef is next on the list and sometimes the different cuts play an important part in the selection of the matched wines - for example, finer cuts of beef require softer styles of wine.
Let's take a look at steak for starters. Fillet steak has no fat and is therefore considered a 'fine' cut of beef. I would match this with softer varietals such as merlot.
Scotch fillet, which has a nice marble of fat in the middle, is still considered a fine cut of beef but that bit of fat carries a little more flavour. You could again look to merlot, or stretch to a cabernet merlot blend - Corbans Homestead Cabernet Merlot (RRP %17.99) is a great, full-bodied option.
Cuts like sirloin/porterhouse, T-bone and rump do a little more work when they are attached to the animal and therefore have a lot more flavour. All of these cuts also have a healthy fat content which again, carries more flavour. For these cuts, we start to look to the big reds - shiraz (also known as syrah) and cabernet sauvignon - the 'king' of the red grapes. These higher tannic wines work better with the flavour of the meat while their alcohol content tackles the fat.
Try an Angus the Bull Cabernet Sauvignon (RRP $22.99) with the most underrated of all steaks, the T-bone, for a match made on a grill plate.
Next week we'll take a look at what to drink with game.