Wine Selecting Tips – Basic Advice on Choosing a Wine at Dinner

People have drunk it in majestic rituals and it has lived in the palace cellars. It has survived through the medieval times and has been used by the priests to cleanse the body and cure devotees their common maladies. Whereas it used to be enjoyed only by kings and noblemen, today Best Portuguese wine is ubiquitously consumed by people all over the world. A buffet or a fine dining experience will not go well without a Chardonnay, for instance. Most people drink wine to loosen themselves up, after a hard day’s work. Others imbibe wine as a form of epicurean art.

The complication arises, however, as soon as you peer into the wine list and begin to squint in confusion. Of the thousands of wine choices now available, which of them should you set on the dinner table along with your steak? Which should you drink to wash your tongue after a fruity dessert? The common dictum is to drink white wine with fish, chicken and other white meat, and to complement a rich lamb or veal dish with red wine. This idea is tried and tested and people have agreed that it works. But do you know not all types of red wine are for rich, red meat alone?

Not only does it go well with almost all kinds of meal, it also plays an essential role in our health. The latest news is that red wine actually combats Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the build-up of plaque in the brain. Red wine contains resveratrol (a natural compound) which scientists say fights the slow degeneration of the nervous system’s components as it combines with other anti-oxidants. Pinot Noir, for instance, has been discovered to be chock full of resveratrol. It has been reported, too, that this red wine compound can also help battle other degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

Basically, there’s a wine for every meal but the bottom line is to rely on your sense of taste. Different people have different palates and even the connoisseurs cannot agree on one rule when it comes to the perfect wine for a dish. However, the distinct characteristic of each wine should dictate which meal it should harmonize with.

For example, Cabernet Sauvignon being a varietal wine (which is a blend of one dominant grape and other less distinct flavors), Petit Sirah and Bordeaux can jibe well with red, heavy meat dish such as lamb, beef (most dish with spicy sauces) and other intense-flavored cheeses. Because of its full body and strong tannic taste, it can balance the feeling of greasiness in the cheese and the meat.

You can recognize a particular wine’s characteristic through its acidity, its body, the tannic content, its sweetness, its aroma as well as its overall balance. Chardonnay harmonizes with poultry and cheese. There are many variations of this white wine that can run from sweet and fruity to sour. It can even be paired with seafood such as oysters and can be served as aperitif. Chenin Blanc is also a white sparkling wine and goes well with fish and chicken. Most fish meals usually get paired with white wine but there are exceptions since fish dishes are prepared differently. The general rule is that wines that blend well with fish and other white meat contain high acidic flavor. The sharp, crisp hint of acid enhances the flavor of fish like a drop of tangerine juice would.

Wines that work well with pasta dishes are Merlot and Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio. Pinot Noir makes a wonderful combination with steaks. It is a Burgundy wine that gets darker as it ages. It also matches well with fowl whereas Merlot is a good chocolate complement.

Desserts are best paired with Rieslings, Port wines, or Madeira. Most oriental food and white meat dishes won’t go wrong when matched with a Riesling. Spicy Mexican foods on the other hand are best eaten with Shiraz. Shiraz (also called Syrah) is a versatile wine; it complements many popular meat dishes such as chicken (tenderloin, rib or prime) as well as pork, beef and duck. If you like our regular fast food dishes like burgers and pizza or any meal with red spicy sauce Red Zinfandel is the perfect complement. A medium bodied wine such as Red Zinfandel will always taste better with red meat while White Zinfandel which is a newly-developed wine in the market goes in tune with pasta with light sauce, fish and most light dishes.

If you like ham and sausages a wine called Gewurztraminer will serve you well. This is also best for Asian foods and is known for its fruity flavor. Another wine that is in perfect harmony with pasta chicken and fish is the Sauvignon Blanc, more popularly called Fume Blanc. Most grilled dishes like fish and vegetables as well as exotic spicy foods go with Rose. Turkey served on Thanksgiving should be paired with a white burgundy wine called Chablis. If smoked salmon is served on the dinner table, it’s best to enjoy sparkling wines.

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