Choosing and Pairing the Best Wine with your Food

Friday, April 18th, 2008 at 12:00 am

wine bottleYou do not just use wine on any food, because the flavors of this alcoholic drink is supposed to complement what you are eating. For instance, red wine goes with beef and tomato-based pasta sauces while white wine is best with seafood. However, not all wines taste the same and pairing a particular type of wine for a certain food can make a huge difference in bringing out the flavor. Here are some of the wines that go well with food.

Riesling – This type of white wine is often consume when young, about five years old and below. It is during this period when Riesling is at its optimum flavor, which usually reminds tasters of flowers, peaches, and melons. With its rich, aromatic value with hints of green apple, grapefruit, peach, honey, rose blossom, and cut green grass, Riesling goes well with Asian foods, ham, chicken, turkey, foie gras, and cheese.

Gewürztraminer – Another white wine variety that has rich aromas and spicy notes. This very sweet wine has the scent of lychees, dried roses, passion fruit and muscat grapes. Along with Riesling, it is one of the few wines that is paired with just-as-fragrant Asian cuisine.

Chardonnay – A very neutral grape that can be infused with different flavors such as apple, pear, tropical fruit, and vanilla depending on the style. It is because of this versatility that Chardonnay can be paired in a variety of dishes ideal for white wine such as shellfish, cream soups, rich fish dishes like salmon, and even vegetables.

Sauvignon Blanc – The flavor of this white wine is dependent on climate when its grapes were grown. It ranges from aggressively grassy to sweet and tropical. It pairs well with fish, goat’s milk cheese, and even sushi.

Pinot Noir – In the broadest terms, Pinot Noir tends to be light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black cherry, raspberry, or currant. This variety of red wine is best with turkey, roast beef, and sausages.

Zinfandel – The taste of this red wine depends on the ripeness of its grapes, ranging from red berry fruits to blackberry, anise, and pepper. Aside from turkey and roast beef, Zinfandel also goes well with tomato-based dishes.

Cabernet Sauvignon – This red wine is known for its green bell pepper flavor, aside from mint, eucalyptus, red fruits, and chocolate. This herbaceous flavor makes it a perfect partner for goose, duck, and even roast chicken. It is also good for roast beef and lamb.

Merlot – One of the most popular red wine varietals in the United States, Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry, plum, pine forest, and currant. It also goes well with goose, duck, chicken, as well as beef and lamb.

Syrah – Wines made from this red grape are often powerfully-flavored and full-bodied, which reminds one of black pepper, plum, and even game. This is what made it a great partner for game birds like pheasant, dove, quail, and grouse.

Sparkling wines – There are a variety of sparkling wines all over the world such as the French Champagne, the Spanish Cava, the Italian Asti, and Cap Classique in South Africa. These fairly sweet wines have flavors ranging from apple to vanilla, and they go well with a variety of appetizers like caviar, smoked salmon, canapes, prosciutto ham, cold cuts, egg dishes, sushi, and soups.

Dessert wines – Although different parts of the world have different interpretations of what makes a dessert wine, but these are usually sweet fortified wines like Sauternes and Tokaji Aszú. These have higher levels of alcohol and sweetness. They are best appreciated alone, or with fruit and other bakery sweets.