The REAL Girl’s Guide to Wine – Pizza, Burgers and Pad Thai, Oh My! How to Wine Match Food You ACTUALLY Eat

In partnership with Villa Maria

Villa Maria’s resident wine expert Jess Bell takes us on an epicurious adventure into the world of wine pairings – but with food you actually want to eat!

Two of my favourite things in life are food and wine, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one! There really is nothing better than a beautiful pairing and the deliciousness that ensues, BUT, why is it that every food and wine pairing guide has to be fancy? I mean, I can’t remember a time when I have ever enjoyed a vino with pan-seared duck breast on a Friday night. I think it’s time we get REAL with how we’re enjoying these two fine things in life – so, I’ve whipped up a real girl’s guide to wine pairing for all the food you ACTUALLY want to eat!

There’re a few simple things to remember when you are pairing wine and food – try and match the weight and feeling of a wine to the food you’re eating. It doesn’t have to be a complicated gourmet extravaganza, but simply both should have a similar intensity, pairing lighter food to lighter style wine, and heavier, richer food to heavier weight wine. Some other words of wisdom include trying to have a wine more acidic and sweeter than the food you’re having. If you’re ever in doubt, just go with your favourite. A good pairing won’t better if you don’t like the food or wine to begin with!

But if you’re keen to get the most out of your favourite feeds and look a bit fancy for your friends, family and flatties, here’s my handy guide.

(Oh and here’s a handy dandy code for you if you’re wanting to get in on the food matching – use CAPSULE10 at!)

Fish taco Tuesday? Hit a Sauvignon Blanc!

What grows together goes together! This is a wine and food pairing rule to live by. New Zealand is renowned for our phenomenal seafood and sauvignon blanc, so when you put them together and it’s just an absolute Kiwiana dream. Freshness and acidity are key here – give your tacos a squeeze of lemon to lift the experience even further to the next level.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020

When pizza will only do? Rosé all day!

We all know that rosé is the supreme choice and crowd pleaser when you’re feasting with friends, or treating yourself (we’ve all had those days). Whichever vibe you go for, rosé is the one for you – vibrant and fruity, it’s textured enough to handle weightier pizza toppings like meat if you’re that way inclined, but provides a burst of juicy flavour and brightness that can balance out the greasy goodness. The only issue you may face with this pairing is pineapple, not because it’s an adverse wine and food pairing but mainly just because pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza… can I get an amen?!

Villa Maria EarthGarden Rosé 2020

Not just for drinks with a girls – treat yourself with your Friday night pizza too!

Burgers are best – and so is bold Pinot Noir

If you’re going for the works with full toppings on your cheeseburger, it just has to be pinot noir! For me, the perfect burger wine must have enough structure to handle the juicy, savoury beef, but it also has to be bold and full of vibrant, fresh fruit to balance all those other wonderful flavours. As a big mushroom fan, I love when there’s some portobello action on a burger, top it with some smoked cheese and OOOSH! Hello dreamy pairing, where have you been all my life?

Villa Maria Reserve Pinot Noir 2019

A delicious, satisfying Pad Thai? Balance it out with a ravishing Riesling

Whether it features seafood or meat, if Thai food is your go-to, riesling’s the wine for you. When you eat something spicy and drink something with a little bit of sweetness such as the Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling, the sweet goes to the background and the fruit of the wine comes forward and balances the spice. If you already enjoy a wine with a little sweetness, you won’t need any convincing – just try it! But if you’re a little more hesitant, give it a go – I’ll bet that you change your mind.

Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2020

Name me a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

Lasagne and the wonderful world of meaty pastas – go for the blend to rule all blends, Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon

As it gets colder outside and summer seems like a distant memory, sometimes we just need a hug from the inside out. And nothing achieves this better than tomato-based Italian pasta dishes – especially lasagne (preferably Mum’s!) With the depth of tomato flavour, rich and cheesy bechamel sauce and that delicious mince, a wine that is ripe and mid-weight is the way to go. The merlot cabernet sauvignon I’ve picked won’t overpower the flavours in the dish; it’s a soft wine with no bitterness or extreme tannins. In a perfect pairing, where no element overpowers the other.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Elevate the can’t be stuffed cheese toastie with a cheeky chardonnay

Yes this may be a whatever-you-have-left-in-the-fridge-after-a-hard-week pairing, but honestly I don’t think there’s anything better! Whether you’re using old faithful edam from the block and that random relish that your mum gave you that’s been hiding in the back of the fridge, or you decide to lift the game a little and go all out with some fancy four cheese action, Chardonnay and a cheese toastie are a match made in heaven. This particular drop is perfect – it’s got a vibrant acidity but also a softness that works incredibly well with all of that cheesy creaminess.

Villa Maria Hawkes Bay Reserve Chardonnay 2019

What are your favourite wine pairings? Let us know!

Enjoy responsibly.

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