Cottage Pie Food Pairings That Will Excite Your Day

Most of you will already be aware that wine can make or break a dish, and the right dish can compliment a wine. Conversely, the wrong choice of pairing with food can be detrimental to both the dish and the wine flavors! 

Cottage Pie Food Pairings That Will Excite Your Day

Now, when it comes to a favorite dish among families and diners alike, you can’t search too far without considering cottage pie. Cottage pie has a unique flavor, texture and aroma that can be enhanced with some superb wine choices. 

But what are the best cottage pie food pairings? Well, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got everything you need to know in this handy guide, explaining some of the best pairings and other helpful tips.

So, if you’re ready to learn more – then read on and discover all the answers! 

What Is Cottage Pie?

Before we go on any further, it’s important that we examine what cottage pie actually is. Cottage pie is a type of savory pie that originated in 18th century England. It was primarily a choice of poor British people who used potatoes along with a base of meat. 

The use of “cottage” referred to the British people who lived in cottages and used potatoes as an everyday food source. Nowadays though, the dish is considered to be a favorite among the British and indeed all around the world.

It is made using minced beef on the bottom and then mashed or sliced potatoes on the top. Some people even choose to top it further with cheese before they bake it. In any case, both use vegetables and gravy.

The use of vegetables is something worth noting. Usually you can expect carrots, peas and onions within the pie. Think of chicken pot pie but using beef instead! 

It’s important to distinguish that while a shepherd’s pie is made in the same way, the difference between a cottage pie and a shepherd’s pie is the fact that the latter uses lamb mince rather than beef mince. 

Additionally, shepherd’s pie primarily uses mashed potatoes instead of sliced potatoes to represent the fleece of a sheep. This is important to note because the difference in ingredients can alter your choice of wine. 

This is especially important if you choose to make cottage pie using cheese on the top as many more modern recipes will require you to do. 

Cottage Pie Food Pairings

Typically speaking, cottage pie pairs the best with medium bodied red wines that have a lot of acidity. You should look at a wine that has earthy notes, smoky notes and peppery notes. Examples of these sorts of wines include:

  • Chianti 
  • Pinot Noir 
  • Rioja 
  • Shiraz
  • Côtes-du-Rhône
  • Beaujolais-Villages

However, it’s not exclusively red wine that you can pair cottage pie with. If you are someone that prefers a white wine, you may decide to turn your attention to an oaked Chardonnay with some notes of butter.

This will work incredibly well with the crusts of the cottage pie, particularly if the crusts are very breaded. However, the most important point that we have spoken about above is the acidity.

It is absolutely vital to consider the acidity when you are going to pair food with cottage pie because you need something that will cut through both the breaded crusts and the gravy. Additionally, acidity will enhance the flavors within the pie, even at their most subtle.

Indeed, flavors that can be enhanced are the potato, meats and the gravy due to the earthy notes of red wine. Now, while, as we have seen, there can be a number of different ways to make cottage pie, we have some pairings below that will work well with all inclusions.

However, some recipes use tomatoes in their cottage pies. We would say that if you are looking to get the best possible pairings, you should either avoid tomato or keep its use to an absolute minimum.

With all this being said, let’s take a look at some of the most amazing pairings for cottage pie. We hope you’ll love these! 

Ideal Wine Pairings With Cottage Pie 

Without any further delays, let’s examine the best wine pairings for your cottage pie. As we mentioned earlier though, you need to be aware of all your ingredients for more specific choices. 

Pinot Noir And Cottage Pie 

First up in this guide is Pinot Noir. This is a light and very fruity red wine that provides plenty of earthy notes which gladly compliments the gravy, potatoes and beef in the cottage pie. Despite its origins of British poverty, cottage pie is a highly complex dish.

A real cottage pie which has been made to perfection will be made in such a way that the pie crust will absorb all of the gravy and meaty flavors. From there, the dining experience continues to enhance with every new bite of vegetables that have their own unique tastes.

The reason why Pinot Noir is such an ideal choice for cottage pie though is because, as it is a lighter red wine, it does not interfere with the bonding of the ingredients within the cottage pie which all work harmoniously together. 

No, instead it will add some acidity into the mixture and further enhance the overall flavors, particularly as we mentioned, the meaty flavors from the beef and the gravy.

Moreover, Pinot Noir is highly refreshing due to its fruity and juicy cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors. This is something that is vital to note because it cleanses your palate between every mouthful, better preparing you for the next bite of your dish. 

It’s worth mentioning here that while Pinot Noir is arguably the best choice of red wine to pair with cottage pie, it is not the most budget friendly option. It’s never advised to opt for the “cheap” versions of Pinot Noir either.

Instead, consider looking at producers like Etude or Ponzi Vineyards and source the very best quality of Pinot Noir for a really amazing dining experience with your cottage pie.

Chianti Classico And Cottage Pie 

As we mentioned briefly, it is critical to pay attention to acidity when it comes to looking at wines to pair with cottage pie. This is largely due to the levels of fats and carbohydrates in a cottage pie, particularly in the crust.

Chianti Classico is an Italian red wine created using the Sangiovese grape, which is famed for its amazing balance of tannins and acidity. 

The tannins within Chianti are softened by the use of the beef in cottage pie, and this allows for the wine’s vibrant and refreshing cherry flavors to showcase themselves. At the same time, Chianti has many savory notes which help to compliment the earthy flavors of gravy.

These include things like leather, coffee, smoke, black tea, oregano, herbs and spices. Chianti Classico is another medium bodied wine which easily stands up to the beefy tastes and aromas of a cottage pie, whilst not suppressing them. 

Côtes-du-Rhône And Cottage Pie 

Côtes-du-Rhône is a medium bodied, French red wine that is well known for its sweet and refreshing strawberry and raspberry flavors. However, there’s a whole host of complementary tones too. 

These include earth, black pepper, spices, meat, smoke and herbs. All of these together help to elevate the savory flavors of a cottage pie. 

While Côtes-du-Rhône can be a blend of up to 23 different grapes, you’ll most commonly find Grenache with Syrah and Carignan blended together. Indeed, French wines can be somewhat tricky to work out – but Côtes-du-Rhône ensures a food-friendly result.

Once again, you may wish to look at the best producers of this wine, so it’s a good idea to turn your attention to Château de Beaucastel or Tardieu-Laurent to name just two. 

Shiraz And Cottage Pie 

Shiraz is another excellent choice when it comes to pairing cottage pie with a wine. Any medium bodied Shiraz offers a superb black pepper taste with additional notes of spices – all of which work amazingly well with cottage pie.

It’s not necessary to get yourself a Shiraz from Australia. Sometimes this can unnecessarily increase the costs of your meal and it is sometimes a little too bold. As a result, you’d be better off opting for an everyday Shiraz.

Some examples of this are Yellow Tail or Jacob’s Creek. However, if you want to be absolutely sure you’re going to get the best out of your meal with this type of wine, you can choose something like French Syrah.

While this isn’t a Shiraz, it is very similar but has a better savory and earthy taste which better complements a cottage pie. 

Beaujolais-Villages And Cottage Pie 

Finally on our guide we have Beaujolais-Villages which is made from the Gamay grape which has a whole host of flavors like cherries, raspberries and strawberries, but adds scents like black and white pepper.

All of these combined significantly enhance the beefy flavors of the meat and gravy within a cottage pie. Beaujolais-Villages is a lighter bodied wine, which means it’s entirely possible for the flavors of cottage pie to overwhelm the wine. 

However, it really depends on how dense your cottage pie is in terms of the beef. This is why knowing your recipe is critical when it comes to wine pairing.

The Bottom Line 

The right pairing with cottage pie can make your meal into an incredible dining experience, and hopefully our guide will help you get there!
Sarah Perez
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