How to Choose a Wine

16/05/2011 12:37

Choosing a wine to go with dinner shouldn't be so difficult. Use the information in this article to make pairing a wine with dinner easy ! While it is safe to say white wines go well with white meat and red wine goes well with red meat, this rule also has exceptions. The best rule to follow for selecting a wine is to follow your own taste. Each person has different preferences, and you should go with what you like. It is also worth noting that each wine is different. A Riesling grown in California will differ from a Riesling grown in Germany, due to the surroundings of the vineyard. Make sure you try different varieties until you find what suits you best.

  • Sauvignon Blanc: Goes great with mild cheeses, fruit and white fish or seafood that is light.
  • Chardonnay: Can be paired with salmon, lobster, shrimp, crab, grilled fish or pasta with a cream sauce, such as Alfredo.
  • Pinot Noir: Try this with pork, grilled chicken or salmon.
  • Merlot: This will pair well with pasta in red sauce, steaks, duck or smoked meats like sausage.
  • Zinfandel: Goes well with many tomato pasta dishes, pizza, pesto, red meats or chicken with heavy sauces.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Pair it with steak, red meat, grilled and smoked foods.
  • Syrah/Shiraz: This will work with spicy foods, seasoned steak, grilled or blackened meats, spicy pizzas, smoked turkey or pasta with herb sauce. 
  • Pinot Grigio: Pairs nicely with seafood, light pastas and cheese-cracker combinations.
  • Sangiovese: Well-matched for the flavors of chicken, red meat, fish, lamb, pork, pastas, stews or well-aged cheeses.
  • Malbec: Try it with spicy Mexican, Cajun, Indian or Italian fare (especially with tomato-based sauces). Consider giving Malbec a go with barbecue, chili and sausage.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau: This wine is a terrific accompaniment for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, working well with both light and dark meats, herbs and many other flavors that are a part of the festivities. Due to its food-friendliness, this wine will also pair well with grilled or roasted meats, a variety of pastas, salads and cheeses.
  • Pinot Blanc: Goes well with seafood, light-flavored meats, light-medium sauces and mild-flavored cheese choices.
  • Riesling: Try it with spicy pasta, smoked meats or Asian fare.

Here are a few wines of excellent reviews that are moderately priced.

  • Pinot Noir, Smoking Loon 2007 (CA), $15: Cherry and Strawberry flavors and slightly astringent.
  • Merlot, Coppola Diamond Collection 2007 (CA), $17: Brilliant deep garnet color with the aroma of cherries and clove. Red plum and black cherry flavors with light milk chocolate and vanilla bean on the finish.
  • Zinfandel,  Gnarly Head Old Vine 2007 (CA), $11: Plum, pepper and chocolate flavors with a spicy finish.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, R.H. Phillips Toasted Head 2006 (CA), $15: Cherry and blackberry fruit flavors with notes of chocolate, leather, roasted coffee and sweet oak.
  • Pinot Grigio, Santa Margherita 2007 (Italy), $30: Pale straw yellow in color with a pleasant golden apple taste and intense aroma.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau, Georges Duboeuf 2009 (France), $15: Purple-pink wine that is particularly lightweight, and the wine can be dominated by fruity flavors of bananas and pear drops.
  • Pinot Blanc, Luna di Luna 2007 (Italy), $10: Light and clean with subtle refreshing pear flavors.
  • Riesling, Robert Mondavi Private Selection (CA), $10: Sweet floral aromas on the nose and ripe juicy peach with a splash of honey, green apple and a touch of citrus on the palate.

Salut and Bon Appetit!