Matching Wines with Roast Meats

Matching Wines with Roast Meats

Ultimately the choice of wine that best accompanies a roast dinner depends on personal taste. However there are some “rules” that can be applied to narrow the choice down a little.

Wines With Roast Beef

To be honest there are very few wines that won’t go well with a decent joint of roast beef. There are some obvious exceptions such as dessert wines and plain awful wines, but on the whole any half-decent wine will make an acceptable partner for roast beef. For most people a joint of roast beef is a special treat, especially when the more expensive cuts such as aged rib are concerned. For this reason the real challenge is to find a wine that really does the beef justice.

If the beef is being served rare (and who would have it any other way?), a fairly tannic wine such as a premium Bordeaux, Australian Shiraz, or one of the better Languedoc-Roussillon wines could be considered. The chewiness of the meat has the effect of making the tannins more subtle – making roast beef one of the best food partners for these types of wines.

Other wines to consider include Northern Rhone (e.g. Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage), Barolo, and Rioja.

Wines With Roast Lamb

Lamb is unable to stand up to tannins in the same way as rare roast beef – the fattiness of the lamb clashes with the bitterness of the tannins causing an unpleasant astringent taste. For this reason if the types of “big wine” described above to partner roast beef are to be drunk they should be sufficiently mature for the tannins to have mellowed. Mature St Emilion is a particular favourite with roast lamb.

Wines With Roast Venison

Venison can be a difficult match for wine. However, when roasted and served rare, a good Red Burgundy or New World Pinot Noir would make a good partner. Avoid overly-tannic wines.

Wines With Roast Pork

All that fat causes the same problems with tannins described under “roast lamb” (above) – only worse! If you want to serve a red wine, go for something very soft like a decent Beaujolais or a soft Pinot Noir. Dry whites such as Chablis and Muscadet can also work well with pork.

Where roast pork is served with a sweet accompaniment such as apple sauce a dry wine will not work particularly well. In such cases a Mosel Riesling Kabinett would be worth considering.

Wines With Roast Chicken

Unless you’re adding some flavour such as garlic, thyme, chilli, or rosemary, a plain roast chicken can easily be swamped by the flavour of the wine. Generally lighter flavoured whites such as Frascati or an unoaked Chardonnay make good partners for roast chicken. However if you’re “beefing up” the flavour with some herbs you could go for a lighter red – something like a good Côte de Beaune.

Wines With Roast Turkey

As with roast chicken, roast turkey is in danger of being swamped by the flavour of the wine – especially if you’ve got a cheap supermarket turkey. Splash out for a good-quality turkey that has been hung to give it some flavour and treat yourself to a good-quality Châteauneuf-du-Pape – it will cost you, but you’re probably cooking Turkey for Christmas or Thanksgiving so who cares.

Wines With Roast Duck or Roast Goose

Lots of fat can cause problems with tannins, but (presuming you’ve got a good-quality duck) lots of flavour invites a wine that is capable of standing up to it. Mature vintages of “big wines” such as Barolo, Red Burgundy, Red Bordeaux, Shiraz and even Pinotage can work here.

Wines With Roast Game Birds

Game birds such as pheasant, grouse need a wine that can stand up to their “gaminess” without being overpowering. Young Rioja, Merlot-dominated Bordeaux (e.g. St Emilion, Pomerol) and New World Pinot Noirs can all work well.