We have all been in a situation of picking out wine at one time or another. We’re sitting in a nice restaurant, overwhelmed at the wine list trying to figure out which wine should go with our meal. But you may not be that familiar with particular wines that are on the list or even worse; you have little knowledge of anything to do with wine!
It could be worse - you could be on a date when this happens to you (you were?! Sorry.) Well, keep reading; this article could save you a good deal of awkwardness next time you're in charge of ordering the wine.
If you’re the experimental type, we recommend joining a wine of the month club so you can experimenting with wine pairings from the comfort of your own home.
A lot of us are familiar with the old saw "red wine with red meats or red sauces, white with white meats, seafood and white sauces". While there is some truth to this, there is a lot more to know about pairing wine with food.
Some reds are excellent with seafood, such as Cote Du Rhone, whose Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes provide a smoky, pleasantly mineral taste which compliments many fish dishes as well as any Sauvignon Blanc. Wines produced from the Gamay grape are also a good pairing with seafood and even turkey and duck dishes.
Then you have the whites that can go with even the heavy tomato sauce dishes. One of these happens to be the Sauvignon Blanc (which is good in the sauce if you don’t happen to want to drink it with it! Remember this for when you fix it at home next time). This particular wine happens to go with so many foods, remember cream and lemon at this point. It goes beautifully with the cream sauces that are a bit heavy. Then anything that is served with lemon on it as in salads, poultry, and seafood goes with this particular wine.
One of the rules of pairing wines with foods is to consider the flavors in the food itself. Suppose that you'll be having barbecue (wine with barbecue? Really?). You want a red here, one which has both enough acidity and/or enough body to not be drowned out by the strong flavors of the sauce. A cabernet is just a little too soft for this, although it is certainly done. A better choice, however would be something more assertive such as an Italian Barbera (with its relatively high acidity) or a Valpolicella (which has the body to stand up to any BBQ). Another good and popular choice for this meal would be a red Zinfandel, which has pepper and black cherry flavors which are excellent paired with grilled meats.
So how about whites? Again, we'll go with the grill, given that grilled foods are a perennial restaurant option (and spring is right around the corner). Some good white wine pairings are a crisp, dry white such as a Semillon or a Pinot Grigio with grilled vegetables, salads and even fruit (melon is an especially good pairing with these two whites). These are also good with a variety of cheeses ranging from mild Gouda and Havarti to strong blues.
There's a lot more to know about pairing wines with food, but this article should help you get started exploring on your own - remember, if you like a particular pairing, then it's a good one. And with a research project this delicious, you won't mind testing out different things. An easy way to start testing out new wines – two words – wine clubs! Bon app?tit!
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