Matching the Best Wine for your Meals
Wine is a good companion for meals, usually for dinner. So the question that begs to be asked – is there a hard and fast rule about which wine to pair with which food?
The answer is no. At the end of the day or the meal, it comes down to your own personal preference. You can always enjoy your crispy bacon with a Chardonnay. You might be pleasantly surprised how well they go together.
However, there are known practices that have become quite traditional and widely-accepted when it comes to wine and food pairing. So while we do not want to dictate your preferences, here are some tips on how the others prefer to do it. You might learn a thing or two.
- Dry white wine – vegetables and starchy food like bread
- Sweet white wine – cheeses, cured meat and sweet desserts
- Rich white wine – cheese, fish, white meat
- Sparkling wine – cheese, vegetables, starchy food and fish
- Light red- roasted vegetables, white meat, rich-flavored fish, cured meat
- Medium red – roasted vegetables, hard cheese, white meat, red meat and cured meat
- Bold red – hard cheese, red meat, cured meat
- Dessert wine – cured meat, soft cheese and dessert items
In a nutshell, like in planning the flavors of your food, you start with foods that are less demanding in flavors. From delicate flavors to stronger flavors. Using the same principle in choosing wine pairs, go from light to dark.
For instance, you can start off with champagne during the start of the meal, like the appetizer. As you move on to salads, pair it with white wine. When you start on the steak or main course, choose red. And to end the meal, have your dessert with a glass of port.
The next question that begs to be answered is what are the usual preferences for the specific wines. Here is a list of our good taste:
- White wine – Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Muscato, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Viognier
- Sparkling wine – Prosecco, Brut (Dry)
- Rose wine – White Zinfandel
- Red wine – Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Shiraz or Syrah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel
You want to appear sophisticated so you try to take a crash course on wine. Here are a few more basic tips on selecting and storing your favorite bottles:
- If you are new at this, try a wine specialty store that offers wine-tasting so you can choose your wine to your preferred taste.
- Before you buy, know your menu so you can pair accordingly.
- Research before you go shopping. Read blogs and articles on different wine brands, colors, flavors and such.
- Ask for help from the sales people. Ask about favorites.
- High price does not necessarily mean high quality so do not make price your deciding factor.
- Don’t be afraid to try imported wines. There are countless of respectable labels from Australia, Spain and Chile.
- Don’t be afraid to try local wines. Just because it is local does not mean it does not taste great.
- Buy on line. Just read up before you buy.
- Don’t discriminate the screw cap. We have the notion that wines with corks are top labels. These days, more wine companies are using screw caps for economic reasons plus there is actual shortage of supplies.
- Aside from the wines you are buying for your guest, buy a bottle for yourself to try without thought to the menu you are serving. This one is for you to enjoy.
Do you know the shape and size of the glass affects the way the wine would taste?
- Serve it slightly cool. Don’t freeze it, and don’t serve it at room temperature either. If you want specifics, here is a rundown:
- Red wine – serve at 53 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit
- White wine – serve at 44 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sparkling wine – serve at 38 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit
- Open the wine correctly. If it has a cork, poke it off-center to get the diameter of the wine opener smack in the middle so the cork does not break.
- Let red wine breathe. This is done by decanting or pouring the wine into a glass pitcher or wine decanter and letting it breathe for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Pour in the right amount, not too much. One can always refill. A bottle can go up to 5 glasses if each glass has 5 oz. It is approximately ¼ of the glass.
- The proper way to hold a wine glass is to hold at the stem, almost at the base, not touching the glass itself that holds the wine.
Finally, if you are not able to finish your bottle, store it properly. Use a wine preserver, which is a small device that takes the place of the cork or the screw cap. Store in the refrigerator or wine fridge. Keep it away from hot areas like near the oven.