A good meal is the foundation of any social gathering and can make or break any event, whether it is a formal dinner dance or an informal dinner for one in front of the TV. The accompanying wine can make or break a good meal.

Choosing a wine to go with a meal seems a daunting task particularly when taking into account the preferences of others who may also be enjoying the meal.

It’s really not as overwhelming as it first appears.

First up, if others have very definite preferences and refuse to budge, let them have it. There are worse things to fight over than which wine you are about to indulge in.

Whilst there seems to be a bazillion varieties of wine, both in the red category and the white, not to mention bubbly and dessert wines, there is a simple rule of thumb when choosing the most suitable wine to complement a meal.

Red meats = red wine

White meats = white wine

Then you can start to play with varietals. A good quality steak, cooked medium rare goes extraordinarily well with a deep, rich red wine, such as a merlot, shiraz or cab sav.

Hearty reds are a great accompaniment to hearty dishes; roasts and beef pies for example. They’re also fabulous with good Italian food. Although a full bodied white such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, can work just as well.

Barbequed red meats, and even the white meats, go well with a lighter red.

Poultry works brilliantly with both whites and reds, but a dry white, such as a chardonnay or Semillon chardonnay are ideal. If you prefer something not quite so dry, a Riesling is a great choice.

Chinese and Thai food like a crisp white, like a sauvignon blanc or a chardonnay. These whites also complement salads and starters perfectly.

“White” meats, such as pork, duck and veal are set off by lighter reds, and some of your less dry whites, a Semillon chardonnay or a Riesling.

There is a very handy wine matching tool over at Wine Wheel and it will help you work out which wine suits what food.

And if you’re ever stuck for which wine is what, or would like to test a few out before serving up your next fine meal, be sure to contact Winery Driver (

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