I am by no means a seasoned wine drinker, champagne is more my lane BUT countless wine making and wine tasting day trips when I travel has cleansed and to a great extent, refined my palette some. So if you’re hosting and need your wine paired, stick with me:

Bacchus: seafood deserves a really good Bacchus; Chapel Down is a fabulous Bacchus and if you are in a pinch, this will be a very fine substitute for champagne; trust me on this.

Chardonnay; For something garlicky a la garlic break or garlic prawns or any type of grilled and flavoured seafood. Or a well appointed cheese plate. In some instances a rosé is good with a cheese plate but in the winter, you want something a bit more full bodied which is where a Chardonnay ticks all the boxes. A Chardonnay is also perfect with most all types of birds because it brings the full flavour to life whilst delicately balancing and revealing the seasoning and flavours. Most white Burgundy’s would work well here.

Syrah: Works a treat with beef. Most reds work with beef and lamb but there is a particular type of red that works so bloody well with beef of most kinds; the Chocolate Block wine from Franschoek South Africa. Full bodied yet not overpowering. Incredibly complex yet astonishingly elegant; it is said that no two vintages are the same there is always a slight change. This make it an ideal all rounder for any and most types of meat.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Keep your pairings simple and spend a little bit more on a wonderful bottle of wine or three.

PRO TIP: On your next trip away, buy a couple bottles of the local wines; this is always a conversation starter because most wine regions do not ship their best stuff abroad. So get a couple of the wine protectors and take with you on your next travels. Whenever that will be.