5 Busy Weeknight Pairings
5 Busy Weeknight Pairings

Make your life a little easier with speedy mid-week casual dishes to add to your recipe repertoire along with a top wine pairing for each! That's one less decision to make in your life, and one you can feel confident about!

B.U.S.Y? It’s the modern mantra! You fly from alarm clock to shower, dressing in a flash, skip onto the bus or train, and then to your desk, juggling emails, Slack messages and phone calls, with meetings and one-on-ones and trying to get some actual work done at the same time too! And then back home again in reverse, so by the time you’re slotting your key in the door in the evening you’re just about exhausted from making grown-up decisions all day. We hear you!

So let’s make your life a little easier by suggesting some mid-week casual favourites to add to your meal repertoire - along with their top wine pairing choice - so there’s at least one less decision to make in your life!

Fish Tacos and Fiano

The dish: Fish tacos are super easy to prepare - all you need is a few tortilla wraps, some avo squished onto a type of guacamole, a few lettuce leaves and a fillet or two of fish, or even do like us and pick up some little fish cocktails (AKA goujons) from your local fish & chip shop. A few squirts of sriracha and kewpie mayo and you’re good to go! Get the recipe here

The wine: Fiano is our pick for a fish taco or two… a dry white with a surprising amount of texture, Fiano sings with citrus and pear aromas and slight almondy nuttiness that complement the delicate nature of the fish, but also has enough oomph to carry the spice from the hot sauce. Refreshing, minerally and just gorgeous - and it handles any herby coriander element like a real pro too!

Other great wine styles that would work: Gruner Veltliner, Chenin Blanc

Mac & Cheese and Chardonnay

The dish: Macaroni Cheese (AKA Mac & Cheese) is the Comfort Food Numero Uno! Whether you’re under the weather or feeling like a big warm hug from inside, a creamy, steaming bowl of Mac & Cheese will sort you out in no time. So easy to make and as quick as it takes to boil a pot of water for the macaroni. If you’re feeling fancy you can also drizzle some truffle oil into the sauce and pop it in the oven for a few minutes to crisp it up. Mmmm heaven! Get the recipe here

The wine: Oaky Chardonnay ticks all the boxes here for a supremely excellent Mac match; creaminess, nuttiness, texture, butteriness from malolactic fermentation (winespeak here, apologies) and just a little acidity so that things don’t get too blousy. Just make sure you can undo the top button of your jeans afterwards!

Other great wine styles that would work: Barbera, Nebbiolo, Lambrusco

Texan Chicken Wings and Carménère

The dish: Chicken wings are a great midweek dinner option - usually inexpensive, easy to cook, and no fuss! Turn oven on, plonk wings into baking tray, slide into oven, easy-peasy. And if you remember to get some marination happening the night before, you’ll be even happier with yourself! Get the recipe here

The wine: For these bold Texan flavours, you’ll need a bold wine, and Carménère is bold with a capital C! Spicy berry flavours, a deep colour and fantastic softness and smoothness will just about stand up to the smoky paprika, chilli-infused, sweet BBQ sauced nature of these babies… just remember to lick your fingers before you pick up your wineglass!

Other great wine styles that would work: Malbec, Zinfandel (aka Primitivo), Cabernet Franc

Fried Rice and Riesling

The dish: Here’s a pro tip - cook more steamed rice than you need one night and save the rest to make fried rice the next! The secret to success is using the cold cooked rice as it fries up better… and it’s the ideal last-minute dinner as you can you anything you like or need to out of the pantry or fridge. A few rashers of bacon sliced up,  cold meat chunks, sweetcorn out of a tin if you have to, frozen peas, a random jar of kimchi, a few spring onions, egg whisked then fried and tossed together with the rice, and there you have it! Dinner in a flash. Get the recipe here

The wine: So you could go in many directions depending on what your pantry or fridge is going to offer up, but for this supercharged kimchi version we’re going straight to Riesling and do not pass go! High acidy for the tang of the spiced cabbage, aromatic and fresh to balance the spice heat, a little texture for interest, and those gorgeous lemon, lime and apple flavours to balance the ginger. De-lish!

Other great wine styles that would work: Pinot Gris, fruity rosé, Vermentino, Chenin Blanc

Pasta Amatriciana and Montepulciano

The dish: Pasta - everyone’s go-to fast family favourite - made special with a super-simple sauce that packs in the flavour. Pronounced ‘amar-trich-yarna’, this sauce of tomatoes, guanciale - or pancetta or bacon - and chillies from the town of Amatrice in Italy’s Lazio region (its capital is Rome). Even though its name may make it seem fancy, this dish is super simple and sure to become one you can pull out of a hat in no time, any night of the week! Get the recipe here

The wine: We’ll jump straight to Montepulciano here;  a red variety that is widely planted in Lazio (in Italy, as in many regions of the Old World, the wine and food just kinda grew up together and makes perfect sense to eat and drink side by side!). A medium-bodied wine with soft tannins, and high acidity (which is excellent with high acid tomato-based sauces), Montepulciano’s flavours range from wild cherry, blackberry, boysenberry and plum, but with a light smokiness that does magic with the pancetta. Bravo!

Other great wine styles that would work: Barbera, Sangiovese

About the Author

Melissa Moore is a competition-winning sommelier, wine writer and perpetual student of wine (currently WSET Diploma). She has a sharp palate for both wine and sandwiches, enhanced only when blaring loud dance music

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