Saturday 10 December 2016

Katherine Donnelly: And now for the wine

Published 12/02/2011 | 05:00

Sweet, sour and spicy sums up Derry's Valentine's menu. The flavours and textures are assertive but harmonious, which is also the note the wine must strike.

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You want to pick up on the food's sweet accent, and not clash with the spiciness and sour tang.

Tannins are the main enemy because they can make such foods taste bitter. They are found in the skins of grapes, and are also drawn from the wood in oak-aged wines.

So, best choices are unoaked whites, particularly from aromatics such as Riesling, Viognier, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, which are marked out by their fresh, lush, tropical fruitiness and exotic perfume.

Reds are a trickier match with oriental-style foods because, unlike whites, their skins are included in the winemaking process and they are more likely to spend time in oak.

Reds also must be fresh and fruity and are best from thin-skinned grapes that have not spent time in oak, or only barely so. Strawberry-scented Pinot Noir is king.

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