Good Wine Guide

Good Wine Guide

Becoming Familiar with Wine

Many of us are not even vaguely familiar with the different varieties of wine that are available for purchase.

In fact, some of us probably thought red wine and white wine were the only ones in existence. Most of us don’t have any idea of the number of varieties of wine that are in existence.

We have dinner wines, dessert wines, red wines, white wines, dry red wine, dry white wine, sweet red wine, sweet white wine and much more.

Before you serve your first dinner that includes wine, make sure to understand something about wines. Know what is proper to serve with different meals.

A general rule of thumb is white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat, but there may sometimes be variations to that. For instance, although chicken is a white meat, red wine is the customary wine of choice because it complements a chicken meal better than white wine.

Another variation is turkey which has both white meat and dark meat. Because of both white and dark meat on turkey, one can choose to serve either white or red wine while some may actually serve both—red to the guests who choose dark meat and white to those who choose white meat.

Another thing that is important to understand is the relationship between red wine and fish. Customarily you would serve white wine with fish but in the event, you choose to serve red wine, it’s important to choose one that does not contain any tannins since the presence of tannins in twine you serve with fish may give the wine a metallic taste.

Though the taste itself is not going to cause any harm, one drinks wine for the flavor thus having a metallic taste takes away from that. To avoid this possibility either serve white wine with fish or make sure the red wine you serve is free of tannins.

Before you have your first party or even serve your first wine with dinner make sure you know exactly what you should serve with the meal you have chosen.

Taking the time to research and learn about how wines complement food, you will be able to make a better selection of wine to go with the dinner you are serving. The more dinners you serve the more educated, you will become about the proper wine to serve.

Choosing a Dessert Wine

Most people know you should choose white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat, but what about dessert wine?

Is there a protocol for choosing a dessert wine? One of the most important things to remember is to not serve desserts that are so sweet that they give the wine an overpowering taste.

You want to choose a wine that will complement your dessert and add to an already elegant taste. If you do anything less you are not doing a service to your dessert, wine or guests.

One of the dessert wines is that of port and comes in tawny, ruby, and vintage varieties. These wines are usually very sweet and are a good pairing for fruit desserts including pumpkin pie and cobblers.

The tawny ports have a nutty flavor and are a good pairing for anything in the milk chocolate variety while vintage ports work well with dark chocolate.

Some of the French wines that have a very high fruity taste are recommended with cheeses, creamy desserts and fruity creamy desserts.

Ice wines are a good pairing with grapes, light-flesh fruits, tropical fruits and hazelnuts. They are also a very good complement to nutty or desserts containing Carmel.

There are other varieties of dessert wines as well that you may wish to pair with different desserts you may be serving. You may want to take the time to try the wine on your guests by having them over for a tasting party before you actually serve any of the dessert wines.

Choose one or two that you feel would be good matches and get the opinions of some people you normally invite to your dinner parties..

Getting some opinions before you pair any dessert wine with a dessert will allow you time to make another selection if your first selection is not well received. You may even want to have a few different dessert choices in order to discover which ones your guests feel may go the best with the wine you plan to serve.

Keep in mind that dessert wines are not like ordinary wines—they are much sweeter and as such will have a much stronger flavor if you serve a dessert that is too sweet.

You are much better off staying with fruity desserts and choose a dessert wine that will complement your dessert rather than overpower it.

Choosing a High-Quality Wine

Certainly! Choosing a good bottle of wine can be both exciting and overwhelming. Here are ten tips to guide you in your wine selection journey:

  1. Start With a White Wine or Rosé: If you’re new to wine, begin with white or rosé wines. They have a lighter, sweeter, and more refreshing flavor profile than red wines. These options allow you to appreciate and enjoy wine without feeling overwhelmed by complex flavors and tannins. If you prefer dry wines, opt for their dry counterparts1.
  2. Choose Quality Over Price Point: While expensive wines may carry prestige or rarity, they aren’t always synonymous with quality. Many affordable, high-quality wines offer excellent value for money. As a beginner, focus on quality rather than price1.
  3. Consider Your Taste Preferences: Everyone’s taste buds are unique. Think about your preferences—whether you enjoy black coffee (indicating a preference for acidic flavors) or sweeter drinks like apple juice. This will help you find a wine that aligns with your palate1.
  4. Read the Label and Focus on Wine Information: The label provides valuable insights into the wine’s origin, grape variety, and winemaking techniques. Look for terms like “estate bottled,” which means the wine comes entirely from grapes grown on the winery’s estate. This attention to detail can guide you toward an enjoyable and high-quality wine1.
  5. Carefully Choose a Wine Label: Pay attention to the labels. Some wines have multiple labels (first and second labels). While the first label represents the winery’s flagship wine, the second label often offers excellent quality at a more affordable price1.
  6. Don’t Fixate on the Wine’s Age: Contrary to popular belief, a wine’s age isn’t always a critical factor. Some young wines can be delightful, while older ones may not suit your taste. Focus on other aspects like flavor and quality1.
  7. Embrace Adventure and Take Risks: Don’t be afraid to explore different grape varieties, regions, and styles. Trying new wines broadens your horizons and helps you discover hidden gems1.
  8. Keep Track of the Wines You Try: Whether you use a wine journal or a digital app, recording your tasting experiences helps you remember what you liked and disliked. It’s a fun way to learn and refine your preferences1.
  9. Consider the Occasion and Purpose: Are you celebrating a special occasion or enjoying a casual dinner? Tailor your wine choice accordingly. Some wines pair better with specific foods or moments1.
  10. Broaden Your Horizon: Experiment with different grape varieties. Each grape brings unique flavors and characteristics. Explore beyond the familiar and discover new favorites1.

Remember, wine appreciation is subjective, so trust your taste buds and enjoy the journey! 🍷 Cheers! 🥂

What are some popular grape varieties?

Certainly! Let’s explore some popular grape varieties used for different purposes:

  1. Concord Grapes:
    • Flavor: Bright fruit, berry-forward, with a sticky, sugary backbone.
    • Use: Often used to make pie, jam, juice, and flavored candy. Also used for Kosher wine.
    • Growing Areas: North America, particularly the Finger Lakes region in New York, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Michigan.
    • Fun Fact: Developed as a hybrid in 1843 in Concord, Massachusetts1.
  2. Crimson Seedless:
  3. Sultana (Thompson Seedless):
  4. Ruby Seedless:
  5. Moon Drop:
    • Characteristics: Almost black, long in length, crisp, and sweet.
    • A unique grape variety to try and enjoy.

Remember, each grape variety has its own distinct flavor profile, so feel free to explore and discover your favorites! 🍇🥂

How do I pair wine with different grape varieties?

Certainly! Pairing wine with different grape varieties can enhance your dining experience.

Here are some classic food pairings for various grape varieties:

  1. Chardonnay:
    • Flavor Profile: Known for its buttery texture, crisp acidity, and flavors of green apple, citrus, and tropical fruits.
    • Pairings:
      • Buttery seafood dishes like lobster or crab.
      • Chicken in creamy sauces.
Cabernet Sauvignon
  1. Cabernet Sauvignon:
    • Flavor Profile: Bold and full-bodied with dark fruit flavors, firm tannins, and hints of oak.
    • Pairings:
      • Juicy steak.
      • Rich stews.
      • Aged cheeses.
  1. Merlot:
    • Flavor Profile: Smooth and velvety with flavors of black cherry, plum, and chocolate.
    • Pairings:
      • Roasted or grilled meats.
      • Tomato-based pasta sauces.
      • Dishes with a touch of spice.
Sauvignon blanc
  1. Sauvignon Blanc:
    • Flavor Profile: Lively acidity with vibrant flavors of citrus, green apple, and herbs.
    • Pairings:
      • Seafood.
      • Salads.
      • Fresh cheeses.
Pinot noir
  1. Pinot Noir:
    • Flavor Profile: Elegant and medium-bodied with flavors of red berries, mushrooms, and earthy undertones.
    • Pairings:
      • Roasted poultry.
      • Grilled salmon.
      • Mushroom risotto.
      • Soft cheeses.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and personal preferences may vary. Feel free to experiment and discover your own favorite wine and food pairings. Cheers! 🍷🥂

What about pairing wine with spicy food?

Pairing wine with spicy food can be a delightful adventure! The key is to find wines that complement the bold flavors of spicy dishes without being overwhelmed. Here are some excellent wine choices to pair with your favorite fiery foods:

  1. Riesling:
    • Flavor Profile: Riesling offers a touch of sweetness balanced by refreshing acidity. Look for off-dry or slightly sweet Rieslings.
    • Pairings:
      • Spicy Cuisines: Whether it’s Indian curries, Thai dishes, or Mexican salsas, Riesling’s sweetness cools down the heat.
      • PorkChicken, and Light-cured Meats.
  1. Gewürztraminer:
    • Flavor Profile: Gewürztraminer is aromatic and slightly sweet, with notes of lychee, rose petals, and spice.
    • Pairings:
      • Indian Curries: The onion, tomato, and ginger base in Indian curries harmonize beautifully with Gewürztraminer.
      • Spicy Asian Dishes.
  1. Rosé:
    • Flavor Profile: Dry rosé wines are versatile and have bright acidity.
    • Pairings:
      • Spicy Food: Rosé’s crispness balances the heat.
      • Roast Pork LoinAsian Cuisine, and even Filet Mignon.
  1. Light-Bodied Red Wines:
    • Flavor Profile: Opt for reds like Pinot Noir or Gamay (Beaujolais) with lower alcohol content.
    • Pairings:
      • Spicy Food: These reds won’t overpower the flavors.
      • Tuna SteakRoast Goat, and Lamb Rack.
  1. Sparkling Wines:
    • Flavor Profile: Bubbly wines cleanse the palate and provide a refreshing contrast.
    • Pairings:
      • Spicy Food: The effervescence complements the spiciness.
      • Enjoy with a variety of dishes.

Remember, personal taste plays a role, so feel free to experiment and find your perfect spicy food and wine pairing. Cheers! 🍷🌶️

What about pairing wine with chocolate?

Pairing wine with chocolate can be a delightful experience, and it’s all about finding the right balance. Here are some tips to create harmonious wine and chocolate pairings:

  1. Start with Sweetness:
  2. Match Style and Weight:
  3. Taste from Light to Dark:
  4. Specific Pairings:
    • White Chocolate:
      • Ideal with sweet wines like Pedro Ximénez Sherry or Moscato d’Asti.
    • Milk Chocolate:
      • Pair with versatile wines such as dry sparkling wines or light-bodied whites like Pinot Grigio.
    • Dark Chocolate:

Remember, wine and chocolate pairing is subjective, so explore and find your own delightful combinations. Cheers! 🍷🍫


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