What Wine Goes with What Food?

What Wine Goes with What Food?

For many dinner hosts, trying to figure out what wine goes with what food can be a major dilemma?  We all think that we are going to break some rule of etiquette or embarrass ourselves if we serve the wrong wine. Don’t panic! It’s a common worry when entertaining, but needn’t be. Here are some tips and suggestions on a wine for every meal.

Traditionally, red wine can be used for poultry, beef, veal, ham, pasta, lamb, and pork. What kind of wine? For poultry, ham, pork and veal, try a red Zinfandel or Beaujolais. For beef, pasta and lamb; a cabernet sauvignon or merlot would work well.

White chardonnay would compliment strong cheeses, pork, poultry and seafood, including shellfish.  A white Zinfandel or rose wine could accompany appetizers, mild cheeses, desserts, ham, lamb, poultry, and seafood.  Sparkling wine such as Spumante or Champagne could also be served with appetizers, mild cheeses, and desserts. The rule of thumb when serving wine for a particular meal is selecting a light-bodied wine with lighter food and a full-bodied wine with heartier, more flavorful dishes.

In addition, here are some suggestions on how to serve wine.  First, quickly chill white wine by placing the bottle in a bucket of ice water for ten minutes, rather than in the freezer.  Chill sparkling wine in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving, or chill in ice water for twenty to thirty minutes. 

Red wine should be allowed to breath before serving and this is best done by decanting the wine rather than leaving it in the bottle (after all, how much air actually gets into the top of a full bottle of wine?).

When filling a wine glass, you also need to allow the wine to breathe; so don’t fill it to the top. Filling it half way is much better (and more polite). 

If you still have a problem deciding on what wines to serve with your meals, here is a safe bet.  When choosing white wines, pick out a Pinot Grigio (deliciously light and dry), Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or Champagne (only for more special occasions).  For Rose wines choose a Zinfandel, and for Red wines a Beaujolis, Pinot Noir or Merlot (which is a full-bodied wine perfect for any pasta dish as well).

Remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune on wine.  A simple Pinot or Merlot will suffice, and both are affordable.

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