Whether you’re tucking into pizza or egg & chips — we reveal perfect wine pairings for your isolation diet

THE nation is boozing its way through lockdown, with sales of alcohol up by a third.

It is no surprise that after a long day of work, home-schooling children and housework, many of us want to relax with a glass of wine and easy-to-cook dinner.

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Your stay-home menu deserves a sommelier too, so we asked wine expert Helena Nicklin to pick the perfect plonks to pair with your isolation dishes

The good news is that even beans on toast can have its flavours enhanced when paired with the right wine.

Here, online wine expert Helena Nicklin picks the perfect plonk to sip with your simple suppers – with all bottles under a tenner.

…with curry pot noodle

A refreshing, juicy white balances mild spices nicely and is punchy enough to avoid being overpowered

THIS refreshing white wine has bags of ripe, juicy flavour.

Pinot Gris is the best grape for this and will offer the most fruit on the palate.

My choice to quaff is this stunner from New Zealand.

It will balance the mild spice nicely, but is punchy enough to avoid being completely overpowered by the taste of curry sauce.

  • Freeman’s Bay New Zealand Pinot Gris, £5.99, from Aldi

…with fried chicken

Chicken goes great with chardonnay – Helena particularly recommends this full-bodied McGuigan Estate one

CHICKEN just loves the Chardonnay grape, even more so when the meat has been fried.

You need bold, tropical notes and a splash of crisp citrus to pep up your fried foul and make the batter sing.

This great-value and delightfully balanced Australian Chardonnay is full bodied and crisp.

It matches perfectly with a bucket of wings.

…with beans on toast

For your classic lockdown dish of beans on toast, opt for a juicy, soft red to balance out the slightly sweet flavours

JUICY, soft and red, a classic bottle of Merlot originating from a country with lots of sun is the perfect match for baked beans.

This one has aromas of blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Its luscious, velvety tones are exactly what you need to offset the texture of crunchy toast and the slightly sweet flavour of your classic tinned topping.

Beanz meanz Merlot.

  • Casillero del Diablo Merlot, £6.50 (on offer), from Sainsbury’s

…with bowl of cereal

It turns out even a bowl of cereal can be enhanced with a wine accompaniment, so try Helena’s pic of a powerful French white

CAN’T be bothered to cook and ended up grabbing a bowl of cereal on the sofa instead? We’ve all done it.

With mild-flavoured, non-sugary cereals such as cornflakes or Rice Krispies, it’s best to glug something white, dry and weighty, preferably with earthy flavours.

This powerful French white with Grenache blanc and Marsanne grapes is ideal.

  • Cotes du Rhone Blanc Les Dauphins, £6.50, from Tesco

…with spaghetti bolognese

If you’re serving up a beefy dish like spaghetti bolognese, try a silky, smooth red like this Exquisite Malbec

ARGENTINIAN Malbec is a perfect partner for robust, beefy dishes.

It is smooth, silky and sophisticated, but it is also bold and ballsy with ripe blueberry fruit and milk- chocolate notes thanks to its high-altitude vineyard plots.

This bargain bottle of red will give real boom to your bolognese.

It is exactly what you want when you have made the effort to cook.

  • Exquisite Malbec, £5.99, from Aldi

…with bananas and custard

Sweet desserts are even better with sweet wines, like this Finest Dessert Semillon from Tesco

SWEET desserts ideally need to be paired with sweet wines, or whatever is in your glass will end up tasting unpleasantly metallic.

This Australian dessert wine is great value and could be a pud in itself with its golden colour and gloriously honeyed apricot notes.

Its intense, syrupy flavours go perfectly with any classic fruit and custard combos. Cheers.

  • Finest Dessert Semillon, £6 (half bottle), from Tesco

…with pepperoni pizza

If you’re dining on a pepperoni pizza, grab yourself a glass of Sicilian red

HOT spice can be tricky to match with wine but the Italians have come up with the answer here.

This Sicilian red is made in a special style called appassimento, which uses partly dried grapes.

This gives it more body and tang with some oaky notes to prevent it tasting too dry, but also provides ripe cherry sweetness.

A perfect foil for chewy dough, creamy cheese and sizzling pepperoni toppings.

  • Terre Siciliane Appassite, £7.99, from Lidl

…with egg and chips

Cava goes great with egg and chips as the cool, sharp bubbles freshen up your palate – like salty, eggy flavours

RAISE a glass of fizz as you dip a chip into your yolk. Bubbles are a great match for fried foods but avoid prosecco, it’ll be too sweet.

This cava is an affordable Spanish option made just like champagne but with different, local grapes.

Its cool, crisp, slightly sharper bubbles will cut through any grease to freshen everything up on your palate, and its savoury, toasty notes will stand up well to salty, eggy flavours.

  • Exquisite Vintage Cava, £6.49, from Aldi

…with cheesy jacket potato

A comforting dish needs an equally comforting wine, so opt for this easy-drinking Fire Tree Sicilian Fiano from Aldi

A COMFORTING dish like this needs an equally comforting white wine.

The southern Italian Fiano white grape is easy-drinking, inexpensive and full of character. The orange, passionfruit and lemon notes in this bottle match well with salty cheese like cheddar, and will bring some refreshing zing to help counteract starchy carbs.

Exactly what you need with your jacket spud.

  • The Fire Tree Sicilian Fiano, £4.49, from Aldi

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