The world of food and wine is full of myths, rules, and pre-conceived ideas. Too often, it is intimidating, leaving wine drinkers full of guilt when they love and embrace something they ‘shouldn’t.’
In the last few months, I’ve had a lot of people (especially men) confessing that they don’t drink much red wine. It’s either a personal preference or because their partner simply does not enjoy red. Yet, they fully admit being carnivores. "But aren’t we supposed to drink red with meat and white with fish?"
The rules don't mean anything if you’re not enjoying yourself. I can tell you all day that a delicate white is the wine of choice for sole prepared simply with beurre blanc but if you don’t like white, well, you don’t like it. So don’t let the rules rule you!
If you’re one of these carnivores that exclusively love whites, do not fear! There are plenty of options. One of the biggest food and wine pairing revelations I’ve had was when I was in Greece about a month ago. Assyrtiko (a local indigenous white grape variety) is regularly served with grilled lamb that has been simply seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon. The wine has enough structure and concentration of flavours to withstand the weight of the meat. Many of these wines have had some grape skin contact, which gives a slight tannic texture and it works like a charm with red meat.
Whether you opt for Assyrtiko or another white, the key is to choose a full-bodied wine with depth and concentration of flavours. Sumptuous whites from the Southern Rhône Valley and the South of France have all of these qualities. Round and opulent Vermentino from the Sardegna or the Tuscan coast is another favourite. A rich and buttery Chardonnay that has spent some time in an oak barrel is another wine to look for.
If you want to try some delicious whites that will pair well with red meat, here are my top picks.
Tested and approved! I had a glass (or two) with my piece of steak when I was in Niagara a couple of weeks ago. With an outside temperature of 40 degrees celsius, the last thing I wanted was a full-bodied red.
Made of a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne, this is a typical mix that you would find in the Southern Rhône Valley. Serve your favourite meat with a side of grilled peaches or apricots. It will provide a great bridge between the wine and the meat.
Rich with pronounced aromas of peach and nectarine, this wine is delicious with grilled magret de canard. Check out this mouth-watering recipe for duck breasts with a balsamic cherry reduction sauce from the Food Network.
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.