Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Simple Wine Pairing

Want to really impress your guests this holiday season? Try pairing your favorite recipes with the perfect wine. You don't have to be a master sommelier to understand the basics. Read on for some wine-pairing tips.
  1. Crisp wines balance salty flavors. Most dry sparkling wines like Champagne or Cava have a little hint of something sweet that makes them refreshing when you're sampling crackers, olives, or other hors d'oeuvres. 
  2. Sweetness from Rieslings, Gew├╝rztraminers, and Vouvrays are perfect to serve with something spicy. Try pouring one next time you get Chinese takeout or enjoy some spicy Indian fare. 
  3. Light white wines like Sauvignon Blanc  or Pinot Grigio often have crisp fruit flavors. Try them paired with light chicken or fish dishes. 
  4. Silky white wines, like an oaky Chardonnay, pair well with fatty fish like salmon. You can also try it with dishes that are prepared with a rich, creamy sauce. 
  5. Dry Rose has the acidity of white wine and some of the fruit flavor of red wine. This makes it a perfect choice to pair with rich, creamy cheese dishes. 
  6. Pinot Noir is great for dishes with earthy or smoky flavors. Think mushrooms, herb potatoes, applewood smoked bacon, or duck. This would be a great pick for Thanksgiving dinner.
  7. My favorite varietal is Zinfandel. The rustic, rich flavors are pretty versatile- pair it with pate, sausage, or even a big bowl of pasta with hearty red sauce. Note that this is not a great wine to serve with cheese.
  8. Having a BBQ? Try a Malbec! Malbec, Shiraz, and Cotes-du-Rhone are bold enough to stand up to the flavors of tangy BBQ sauce. 
  9. If your dish has a lot of spices like cumin, chili powder, etc. choose a Syrah or a Cabernet Franc that also has some spicy notes to complement your food.
  10. Choose a Cabernet Sauvignon to go with juicy red meat. A Cabernet or Bordeaux has firm tannins that help to balance out each bite of steak or roasted rack of lamb. 
If you want to go beyond the basics, read more at FoodandWine.com

Tip: If you've chilled white wine in your fridge, it's probably a little bit colder than the optimal serving temperature. Delicate and oaked wines tend to lose the full complexity of their flavor when they're too cold, so let it sit out for about 15 minutes before you enjoy it. 

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