How to Match Food and Wine in Bordeaux – Vatel Hotel College


Vatel #Vatel#Bordeaux 17 January 2017 Masters Students of Hotel Management, Bordeaux – We learnt about the lessons of food and wine matching and wanted to experiment ourselves with a range of foods with different characteristics (some not so easy) and a range of wines – 6 styles of white wines and 6 styles of reds. We did the tasting at the Vatel School of Hotel and Restaurant Management in Bordeaux where students attend from around the world (India, China, France, USA). @BDE_Vatel_Bdx


Firstly think of wines in STYLES….

White Wines

  1. Simple fresh, fruity (2016 Les Fumées Blanc Sauvignon, VdP Côtes de Gascogne)
  2. More complex dry (2016 Sauvignon Humo Blanco Lim Bio, Colchagua, Chile François Lurton)
  3. Full-bodied oaky (2014 Kendall Jackson Chardonnay)
  4. Aromatic white medium sweet (2015 Melody Gros Manseng Demi-Sec VdP Côtes de Gascogne François Lurton (25 g/l medium sweet)
  5. Sweet wine (2013 Château la Rame, Saint Croix du Mont)
  6. Sparkling wine (Cava Cygnus Bio, Brut Cava)

Red Wines

  1. Simple soft fruity style (2015 Allegrina Valpolicella)
  2. Full-bodied Bordeaux (2010 Château Fourcas Dupré, Listrac)
  3. Full-bodied New World (2014 Piedra Negra Malbec Reserva Mendoza, Argentina François Lurton)
  4. Medium Body Peppery (2014 Côtes du Rhone Villages, Embisque)
  5. Medium body (2014 Il Palazzo Chianti Corte Giara)
  6. Pinot Noir (2011 Spätburgunder, Pfalz Germany)

Selection of wines from around the world

We selected a range of foods that had a range of characteristics, not always easy to match with wine



  1. Rocket salad (peppery and herbaceous)
  2. Tomato and basil sauce (acidity, sweetness)
  3. Mushrooms (umami)
  4. Cow Cheese – Camembert (fattiness, creaminess)
  5. Goat’s Cheese (acidity)
  6. Brebis Ewe’s Cheese (sweetness, saltiness)
  7. Blue Cheese (saltiness)
  8. Smoked salmon (saltiness, fattiness)
  9. Prawn Seafood (saltiness, lightbodied)
  10. Foie gras/Rillettes (fattiness, sweetness)
  11. Wild Boar Paté (gamey, stong flavours)
  12. Chorizio strong (chilli, fattiness)
  13. Chocolate mousse (sweetness, bitterness)
  14. Lemon Tart (acidity, sweetness)

How to match Food with Wine  – Here are the steps for food and wine matching….

STEP 1 – What are the DOMINANT flavours? (acidity, sweetness, bitterness, saltiness and ‘umami’ heartiness like in mushrooms or parmesan cheese ). Match or Contrast.

  • Remember that only acidity and saltiness have a positive impact on wine (tastes more rounded and fruitier).pata-negra
  • Remember that bitterness and sweetness have a negative impact on wine (tastes thinner and more tannic) as well as umami (
  • Are there other factors such as fattiness/oiliness to take into account (can be alleviated by acidity of tannins which cuts through it)
  • Extra flavours such as garlic or chilli?
  • Dishes are often combinations so look at dominant flavours
  • vatelfoodandwinessmile

STEP 2 –  Match STRENGTH of flavours (think of wine as a sauce) *Are they intense (eg game) or delicate (sole)?

STEP 3 – Match WEIGHT of dish (with BODY of wine) *Is it heavy or lightweight?


STEP 4 – Match AROMAS/FLAVOURS in the dish those in the wine eg basil in a dish with a herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc, cinnamon with a spicy Syrah, spicy Thai dishes with Ginger and cloves and Gewurztraminer, fruit desserts with grapey Muscat, mushroom risotto with an earthy Pinot Noir


STEP 5 – TEXTURE is important too, matching or contrasting – * From Tannins (silky, velvety, rough, astringent, coarse) *From Alcohol (viscosity also heat*), MLF and on lees (creamy, fattiness) *From Glycerol (residual sugar viscosity, unctuous, luscious) *From CO2 – prickly, creamy, agressive bubbles (mousse) *There can also be a production of heat from Chilli (spicy food) and a cooling effect from menthol


Results – Here is what we found from our own food and wine matching;

  • Chorizo (powerful flavours, chilli, fattiness) and sparkling wine
  • Tomato and basil (acidity, herbaceousness) – simple sauvignon, Pinot Noir (with low tannins), Valpolicella (with low tannins)
  •  Mushrooms (herbaceous, umami); with low tannins not to react – Chianti, Pinot Noir
  • Goats cheese (acidity and light body): we did not like not the sweetest wine like Sauternes  but the medium sweet wine, for us St Croix du Mont, also red wines with low tannin levels like Valpolicella. Some liked the medium bodied Bordeaux wine in 2010 with medium acidity and medium tannins. And the Malbec from Mendoza (Argentina).
  • Smoked salmon the fullbodied chardonnay with its thick texture, saltiness, fattiness and strong flavours, also the Pinot Noir with its low tannins
  • Brebis (Ewe’s milk)  (nutty, fattiness, sweetness) claret Bordeaux (with its acidity)
  • Blue cheese (creamy, salty) good combination with the medium sweet wine and the sweet wine
  • Wild Boar Paté (fattiness, strong gamey flavours, certain sweetness) New world Chardonnay with tis rich textures and fruitiness, low tannin Pinot Noir, acidic but fruity Bordeaux wine
  • Prawns (salty, strong flavoured, light bodied) New World fullbodied Sauvignon, Sparkling wine, fullbodied Sauvignon
  • Duck Tartare (with sesame, rich body) simple white wine aged in oak (Cassard Prestige White Bordeaux)
  • Foie gras (fullbodied, fatty) better with medium sweet wines rather than sauternes, also good match with Pinot Noir (with acidity and low tannins) , also fullbodied rich dry but ‘sweet’  from the ripe Malbec from Argentina
  • Chocolate Mousse, Chianti (high acidity and its red fruits)
  • Lemon Tart (acidity, sweetness)  actually went well with the new world Chardonnay with its ripe fruit and full body and oaky sweet notes


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