Is wine the best partner for pie?
This week is National Pie Week in the UK - not that we Brits need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
The event was seized on a couple of years ago by an enterprising PR agency as an opportunity to explore wine and pie pairing but to be honest I’m not convinced that beer isn’t the better drink - with the majority of British pies at least.
Here are some thoughts based on the wines I had an opportunity to taste last week (this was back in 2011 so the vintages will have moved on since then.)
Steak pies with gravy
Almost always better with a strong ale or porter in my opinion.
Steak pies with red wine sauce
Should work with any full-bodied red. I normally tend to favour Languedoc or Rhône-style reds but enjoyed the Grant Burge Benchmark Shiraz 2009 (£7.99 Booths) in the selection.
Chicken pies with a creamy filling
The one I received, Pieminister’s Chicken of Aragon pie was paired with a New Zealand Sauvignon but I’d tend to go for a less aromatic white like an unoaked or subtly oaked Chardonnay, old vine Chenin Blanc, Gavi or any other smooth dry white. Cider and perry also work well with chicken pies.
Pies with a tomatoey filling
Whatever the other ingredients I generally find cooked tomato works better with wine than with beer - I’d suggest an Italian Sangiovese or a Tempranillo-based red like Rioja, especially if there’s chorizo involved as in Pieminister’s Matador pie.
Cheese and spinach pies
I generally prefer crisp whites such as Sauvignon Blanc or even a more neutral white such as a Picpoul de Pinet with a light vegetarian pie like this but have to admit the recommended pairing with a 2009 Louis Jadot Beaujolais worked really well even though the wine was quite sharp on its own.
Pair with the same sort of wines as creamy chicken pies.
With a classic pork pie I’d always go for an English bitter. A cold game pie however is a great match for a good red burgundy or Pinot Noir.
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