If dining is an art form, then wines are the palette that provides vibrant colors to any dish. Perhaps, wines are as important as the meal itself. A dining experience would not be complete without the complementary wine that goes with it. But any wine wouldn’t do. Its taste should blend well, if not enhance the flavors of the food you are eating. So how do you choose the right wine?
Red or white
It doesn’t take a connoisseur to distinguish which wines go with certain types of dish. In fact, it’s all in the taste. While there are different types of wine, the most common classifications are red and white. Besides the color, the taste is what distinguishes the red from the white. Red wines tend to be heavier. White wines, on the other hand, are lighter and sometimes sweeter. The rule here is not to pair the stronger reds with light meal as the wine could undermine the subtle flavors of your food. For example, chicken and fish should be paired with white wine. Chardonnay and even Sauvignon Blanc are good choices. If you prefer to have your white wines sweeter, then opt for Riesling. For red meats like beef, pork or game meat, a red wine is a must. Cabernet Sauvignon may well suit most of the dishes like lamb, goose, beef and even pasta (with red sauce). But if you prefer a lighter, smoother red, Merlot is an excellent choice.
Seafood, herbs and spices
Most people use white wines for their seafood, although there are some red wines that could complement its sumptuous flavors. There are some who prefer rose wine to go with their seafood. The key here is to choose the food and wine pair that best suits your taste palates. Champagne and Riesling are good complements for caviar while Roussanne and Marsanne are excellent choices for crab. Sparkling wine is good for fried shrimps or oysters. Chardonnay pairs well with mussels and seafood in cream sauce. Pinot Noir can go well with a broth based seafood stew. For a lobster dish, it’s better to go for Burgundy (white). Syrah or Shiraz, on the other hand, is a powerful red that can complement chili and is perfect for spicy homemade meals.
Italians love to infuse their dishes with herbs. Entrees like ossobuco and ravioli are a staple in Italian cuisine. You can actually consider pairing these herb-rich dishes with a wine that best embodies its flavors and aroma. For a dish with a hint of mint, Sauvignon Blanc is a good wine. A dish infused with Thymes tastes well with Chardonnay. Actually, vegetarians like Chardonnay as it cleanse the palate from the tangy aftertaste of some vegetables like asparagus. Pinot Noir is an exquisite choice for a meal with rosemary. Cabernet Merlot can handle the strong aroma of oregano.
Capping off a great meal is a good dessert paired with a good wine. In choosing the best wine to go with your dessert, you must consider a few things. Is your dessert very sweet? Or is it served cold? Overly sweet desserts overwhelm your taste buds, making the wine taste sour or blunted. Sorbet is a good choice for a dessert. But because it’s served cold, it can dull the palate which makes any dessert wine tastes flat. As a rule, choose a wine that tastes sweeter than your dessert. For rich and creamy desserts, you can go for Port Wine, Sauternes or Ice Wines. Vin Santo goes well with fruits and chocolates while Muscat is good for nutty desserts.
There are other things to consider when choosing the right wine to go with your meal. There’s the dryness or the sweetness of the wine, the weight or the alcohol volume, the body or the thickness of the wine, and the vintage or the year the wine was made. All these factors play a role in choosing the right wine. But in the end, the best wine is the wine that you share with friends and loved ones over a fine meal.