The last few weeks has seen the cold come back with a vengeance, and the last thing on my mind has been cooking dinner. Toss in a COVID lockdown , and homeschooling two kids that are now operating well above my paygrade, well the care factor for cooking starts to slow down, and I have been taking solace in that Friday night pizza/fish and chips take away. Trying to avoid those COVID kilo’s is proving to be more difficult than i imagined. Over the last few years I’ve noticed that most takeaway food outlets are located near a bottle shop, with the COVID changes its even more so. There are a lot of bottelshops around the main streets besides restaurants etc that are no doing takeaway, so here’s a few matches that can be easily found in your local bottle shop to make that settling in on a Friday night so much easier.
Fish and Chips: The old fish and chips can be found on just about every restaurant menu in town nowadays. Some places are great, some average and some make you wonder how they stay in business. The place up the road from me knock out some awesome battered oysters, and some of the best potato scallops I’ve had, and finding a match is easier than you think, the only curve ball that gets thrown is when you include the battered sav in there.
For me the perfect match to any oyster isn’t a sparkling wine, its Tooheys Old. In fact Tooheys Old is often a go to beer for me, it works so well with casseroles, is great with huge thick steaks that would scare your heart surgeon and is an incredible match with oysters. It can also be one of the most enjoyable replacements for sparkling wine at a Champagne Brunch. But if beer isn’t your thing, and you still like those little bubbles of enjoyment on your tongue, than a bottle of sparkling could be the match. As surprising as it sounds, sparkling wine and deep fried food go together really well, Champagne if you’ve had a win on the scratchies or the nags, sparkling if you’re scraping together the dollar coins from the ashtray of the car. Brown Brothers Prosecco sits around the $14mark, has enough acid to cut through the oils of the deep fry with enough lemon and lime characters to work with the fish.
Of course not everyone likes sparkling and my fall back would be the always popular sauvignon blanc. One of my favourite sub $20 savvies is Catalina Sounds. There is a vibrancy and quality in the wine that makes it so drinkable. Its fresh and zingy on the tongue, great citrus flavours and a great acidity that can cut through the oil.
Thai: We don’t really get a lot of Thai takeaway, mainly because I have problems in stopping myself from eating my body weight in the stuff, but when we do I always look for either a Riesling or a good Sauv Blanc. A Sauv Blanc is a safe bet with dishes like Red or Green Curry, while fish cakes, BBQ foods and so on work really well with Riesling. Pewsey Vale consistently produce a tightly structured wine which can be enjoyed early or cellared for a bit of bottle age, gaining wonderful toasty notes. They typically show citrus and wonderful perfumed aromas, with keen acidity, try looking for the previous years release, as that little bit of time in the bottle can do wonders for the wine. Try to avoid heavily oaked reds, or tannin strong reds, opt for softer reds like Pinot, Gamay, Beujolais or soft styled Grenache instead. Try d’Arenberg Custodian Grenache sitting just under $20
Pizza/Italian: COVID restrictions have meant that we now get our pasta fix at home, and my pizza making skills have improved dramatically however I still enjoy the Amatriciana takeaway from our favourite pasta joint. Picking a wine for can be difficult here, what works with delicate mushroom risotto generally wont work with a heavy osso bucco. So looking at tomato based dishes, generally my go to, especially if there is a few of us to feed, is Jim Barry The Brothers Shiraz Cabernet, if only because you get enough change back from a $20 to grab a cheap $5 pizza on the way home. Its juicy and plush with savoury notes, with the tannin structure giving it a round lingering finish. For something a bit bigger when there is only two of us consuming I find it hard to go past the always reliable Wirra Wirra Churchblock . Its medium to full bodied, chocolate and red and black fruits. Its often a go to for me if I’m honest.
Indian: The problem with matching a wine to Indian is the acidic nature of the vinegar and the yogurt. What you need with curry – and this is why beer works so well- is a contrast to the heat of the food, that is also refreshing. Kingfisher Lager was one of the original beers to come out of India, now made locally under licence. Its got medium carbonation, which means you can have a few to wash away the heat without feeling bloated, there are some nice bready malts in there and the hops are actually more dominant than the nose would indicate. Wine wise, try to avoid big strong tannic reds, as they will only accentuate the burn of the chilli. Try reaching for a Riesling, a Grenache rose or a pinot gris. The Turkey Flat Rose is actually a blend but dominated by Grenache, it shows cherry, strawberry and herbal notes with just enough fresh fruit and spice to work here. Tim Adams Pinot Gris would be one I reach for regularly. Its complex with lychees, white peach, mixed spice and accents of ginger. With a long lingering finish.