Red wine: try something different with your meals

Red wine: try something different with your meals

When it comes to drinking wine with meals, most people usually plump for the traditional white or rosé because that's what they're used to. But if you're feeling brave and willing to step out of your comfort zone, red wines can also go great with food too. 

It's often thought that red wine will only pair with red meat or cheese, due to its heavier and bold flavours, but that doesn't have to be so. It's about creating a complementary pairing between your meal and your drink, so if you're eating something like chicken or fish, try a light unaged red wine from Rioja.

Rioja is renowned for producing classic oak-aged reds, but the Spanish centre of wine also has some newer, lighter wines that go great with a range of summer meals.

Light red wines go great with pasta dishes and noodles, as pasta is so filling. They also work particularly well with roasted vegetables, served at lunchtime, so they're perfect if you're watching what you eat. When trying to decide if a meal goes with a type of light red wine, remember a simple rule: the more texture a meal has, the lighter the red.

Bodegas Bilbaínas Viña Zaco 2008 is a well-balanced light red with ripe fruit flavours, meaning it pairs well with traditional meat dishes, such as braised chicken with caramelised onions and sun-dried tomatoes, or a light stew with plenty of red peppers. It's best for a sit down meal with the family, and conjures up images of sitting for hours with friends, in a rustic tapas bar in the Basque Country.

Beronia Tempranillo Elaboración Especial 2010 offers a deeper and more intense flavour, with hints of vanilla and mulberry. If you're having a quick al fresco meal with a couple of friends, this flavoursome light red will suit it beautifully. Try pairing it with a summery dish, such as lemony prawn and pea risotto, or a beautiful salmon salad.

Bodegas Bilbaínas Viña Zaco 2008, £9.14, available from Wine Rack and various independents

Beronia Tempranillo Elaboracion Especial 2010, £11.99, available from Waitrose (selected stores) and selected independents

Emily Bancroft

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