Choose the right wine for wild game

The season of dinners with family and friends is here. During the year, we have shared a lot of tasty recipes from our talented chefs here on the “From Field To Plate” page. You can find them all in our archive. Today we will focus on wine instead. Jörgen Edlund at the wine agency Top Note Wine will share his tips on how to think when choosing wine for different types of game.

Game for dinner – then you just have to buy a powerful red wine, most people think. But it’s not that simple, according to the sommelier Jörgen Edlund from the wine agency Top Note Wine.

- Game meat in itself is ferrous and often quite lean and that of course steers the choice of wine – but the side dishes also play a big role, says Jörgen. In fact, it can sometimes work even better with a white wine.

- One of my most enjoyable experiences of a steak tartare was in South Africa when the venison where matched with a locally produced Chenin Blanc, a strong white wine that met the raw steak in a wonderfully balanced way. White wines can also be suitable for lighter game, but the wine needs to have a larger body, which can be found in an oak barrel aged Chardonnay.

We selected some typical game dishes and asked Jörgen Edlund to choose wine for them.

Jörgen Edlund, sommelier

Fried moose / deer/ roe deer with creamy / fat side dishes
Jörgen: For the animalistic tones from the meat, and the quite often fat side dishes, such as fatty sauce, a strong French Bordeaux, a Spanish Priorat or why not an Italian Nebbiolo from Barbaresco, or a Barolo.

Moose / deer / roe deer / wild boar with Asian side dishes such as chili, coriander and soy
Jörgen: Here it is important to be careful with the tannins. The rough tannins in a strong red wine do not match spicy food at all. I suggest a semi-sweet Riesling, or a Chenin Blanc for Asian flavors. It also works with fruit-driven red wines from slightly warmer climates, such as a Shiraz from Australia, which has milder tannins, or why not a Zinfandel from California.

Wine-scented Tuscan game stew with pasta
Jörgen: If the stew has Italian flavors, such as wine, tomato, rosemary, garlic, why not choose a red wine from Italy: A Sangiovese-based red wine like Chianto Classico or a slightly more luxurious Brunello di Montalcino.

Boeuf Bourguignon – a French stew with wine, smoked pork, mushrooms and thyme
Jörgen: Choose a strong red wine that can match the strong flavors. Not to rough, i.e. not too much tannins, but still a wine with a body that can meet the food in a balanced way. Try for example a red wine from Priorat or a Ribera del Duero, which both are high quality wine regions in Spain. And of course it also works with French alternatives, why not from Rhône, where you get herbs and strength. A Hermitage or a simpler alternative.

Smoked wild
Jörgen: To match a wine to smoked game, you can choose wines from the grape varieties Pinot Noir or Pinotage, which goes well with the smoky tones in the meat. If the smoked meat is served with sweet side dishes, you can also look at white wines such as a semi-sweet wine from Alsace.

Wild birds (wild duck or grouse) with cabbage and apple
Jörgen: Here it works with a slightly stronger red wine again, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot, why not from the new wine world. If you cook the cabbage and apple, they become sweeter and are generally better suited to the wine.

Beef Rydberg with French mustard and horseradish
Jörgen: If you like to eat your Beef Rydberg with a lot of horseradish and mustard, you have to be a little careful with too much tannins / roughness in the wine. But if you balance the dish with a reasonable amount of horseradish and mustard, then a classic Bordeaux will be fantastic together with the dish, or why not a grape Cabernet Franc or Malbec.

It is always important to find balance when it comes to the quality of food and wine, says Jörgen Edlund. If you have fine ingredients in form of game meat with all the prerequisites for a wonderful dining experience, then do not forget to prioritize high quality wine.

Text: Lena Runer

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