SELECTING AN ENJOYABLE BOTTLE OF WINE
Have you ever stood in a liquor store looking at row after row of wine, wondering which bottle you should purchase?
The old adage of serving white wine with white meat and red with red meat is far too simplistic. Generally we enjoy our favorite wine with our favorite food, but the key is to select wine based on the “weight” and texture of the meal. For example, heavier meals and sauces require a more robust wine to match their weight and lighter meals and sauces will require lighter and more subtle wines. Here are a few points to consider:
Matching Wine to Meals
• Heavier meals such as red meat or game meats (i.e. turkey) with heavy sauces, pasta with an Alfredo sauce, and dishes with lots of butter or gravy match nicely with Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Piedmont (northern Italians), and Bordeaux blends • Lighter meals such as chicken, or lightly sautéed meat, seafood and lobster or shrimp in light sauces pair nicely with Tuscan wines like Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Red Burgundy wines, California chardonnay, French whites, and Sauvignon Blancs. • Spicy foods match with slightly more fruity or sweeter wines like Sancerre (France), Sauvignon Blanc (especially good from New Zealand), Gewurztraminer (Germany and California), and Pinot Grigio (Italy and California). • When serving chocolate, a port wine or coffee is traditional. But chocolate also matches well with some Cabernets. • Sparkling wines such as Cava (Spain), Prosecco (Italy), and regions of California can provide much of the mystique and delight of the original Champagne (France) yet offer much better value while pairing well with delicate, lightly textured foods.
Do your homework.
If you want a bottle of wine for a special occasion, there are websites on which you can research the type of wine you are looking for. Winespectator.com is a good place to start.Take time to read the reviews and ratings to find a wine that will work well for the occasion
Shops specializing in wine are usually knowledgeable about the wines they stock. Describe to them what kind of wine you are looking for and you should get a reliable recommendation.
Keep track of good wines you drink.
Write down the name of the winery, varietal, and country of origin. If sampling wine at the tasting room of a winery, they will typically provide you an information sheet on the wines you taste – be sure to make note of your favorites.
Select a wine by its rating.
Stores will often post the rating of wines particularly when a wine has a high rating. A rating of 90 or more is excellent. Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate are more common rating services. Most wines are not submitted to competitions so you do miss some great wines if you only purchase wines based on their ratings.
Points to Consider: • Don’t worry about vintage wines until you become more educated about wines. • Even in bad years, good wines are made, and even in great years terrible wines are made. Always ask questions. • Consider experimenting with a new wine. It is fun and much more interesting than drinking the same wine all the time. • Often people select a wine because they like the label. Remember the label has absolutely nothing to do with the quality or taste of the wine. Selecting wine is fun - there are so many wines to choose from. When exploring different wines you can learn so much about the countries and regions that produce those wines – it’s like travelling the world in search of that perfect glass of wine. Enjoy your journey!