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Wines to drink with game

In autumn in particular, game becomes extremely popular. Even when served raw it has a much stronger taste than most other types of meat. As with many other ingredients, however, the way the game is cooked plays a large part in giving each dish its specific taste, and the sauces and sides also influence the flavour experience. That's something to consider when choosing the wine to go with your meal.
Every wine tastes different, depending on what you drink it with, and equally, the perception of the person drinking it has a bearing on how it tastes. Moreover, personal likes and dislikes play a significant role in determining these perceptions. We've put together a brief overview here with some recommendations on wines you can't go wrong with.

Good partners: wine and game

The best options to pair with game are complex, powerful wines. Spicy notes in a wine harmonize with the roasted game flavours that develop during cooking, and depending on the cooking method, both whites and reds can be good wine choices. If the meat has been cooked slowly and gently, an aromatic white wine will do the trick. The key is to ensure that the wine has a robust enough flavour to do the game justice.
By contrast, a spicy red is the best choice to accompany game that has been pan-fried or braised, particularly if it is rich in tannins. Together with the game, these create a harmonious flavour. Intensive Rhône wines are, for example, a classic choice to accompany game and are best enjoyed at between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius.
Another way of doing justice to the strong flavour of game is to choose a sweet wine as a contrast to tone down the strong game aroma. The fruity sweetness of the wine perfectly counterbalances the dominant tanginess of the meat. A good example of a contrasting wine would be a pinot noir.

Sides to go with the wine

Not every wine goes with every dish. The right wine to go with your game dish also depends on the sides, herbs and spices used, and how the dish is cooked. So when choosing a wine to enjoy with your meal, make sure you consider the side dishes, too. You can't go wrong with a potato side, be it boiled potatoes, dumplings or croquettes. Dishes such as these are seasoned only very lightly, so have a neutral taste and go well with the tanginess of the wine and game.
Tip: The classic side to serve with game is spaetzli noodles, but the best sides for a harmonious balance are risotto, pasta or potatoes, as very few wines can play counter to the high egg content of spaetzli.
You can also enhance the sauce you are serving with your game dish by adding wine. If you are making a sweet, fruity sauce to go with your dish, you should add the same wine you plan to serve with the meal. You also need to consider taste when it comes to vegetable sides, noting that some aromatic herbs can really round off the taste experience. All this will help you create a delicious combination of wine, meat and sides.

Cold dishes

When served cold, game tends to come in the form of cold cuts, terrine or paté.
Cold cuts are generally presented as a selection of different meats, often with cheeses and other tasty morsels, resulting in a mix of different flavours that need to be combined and making it difficult to find a wine that goes well with all the different components. To play it safe you could go for a light, fresh wine or a sparkling wine. But do feel free to experiment – it's the only way you'll find out what you like best.

Pan-fried/grilled dishes

Pan-fried game has a very distinctive taste, characterized by strong roasted notes, and the sauce should be matched with this. Game dishes are traditionally served with strong sauces and hearty sides – not just because they are seasonal in autumn and winter, but also because the meat isn't particularly suited to grilling.

Braised dishes

Game can be braised either in a pot on the stove or in a roaster in the oven. This method also brings forth those dominant roasted notes – in both the meat and the sauce. Braising takes a long time but allows the intense flavour of the meat to develop even further. It is a very traditional way of cooking game and is a fitting choice in the cold and windy autumn weather. Venison stew is the perfect example – delicious!