Wine is more than a beverage to some; it can actually be a hobby. There is a lot to learn about wine. In fact, some newbies to the wine community might find it intimidating to attend a wine tasting. Once you learn a bit more about how to taste and pair wines, you will have no problem picking out your own favorites.
How To Taste Your Wine
The first step to tasting a wine is to look at it. Your cup, which should be about one-third of the way full, should show depth and saturation. As you swirl your wine, note the color. A purple-tinted red wine could be zinfandel or syrah. On the other hand, a light red wine could be pinot noir. Once you’ve swirled your wine, look at the “legs” as they run down the side. Experts say that longer legs mean that the wine has more alcohol.
Next, you need to smell the wine. Take a few quick sniffs from the brim of the glass and try to figure out if it smells like the barrel, fruit, flowers or herbs. Different wines offer different scents. You might smell grass, chocolate, smoke or even coffee.
Finally, take a sip of your wine. If you truly want to taste the accents as you sip, aerate the wine by sucking in as if you are using a straw. It might seem a bit silly, but it is actually the best way to truly taste the subtleties of the beverage.
Pairing Wine and Food
It used to be that pairing wine seemed as simple as drinking red wine with chocolate, beef and berries and drinking white wine with fruits and fish. Once you get through the basics, the pairing process is actually a bit more complex.
Champagne is typically a celebratory drink, but it is also perfectly paired with any salty foods. This is because the sweet flavor of the champagne will provide refreshment from the salt. Stay away from pairing salty foods with chardonnay and red wines or you may notice a real lack of flavor. Sparkling wine will help clear your palate as you sip.
Fatty foods are common in many diets, and balancing fat with an acidic drink is essential. For instance, a delicious piece of steak works well with a cabernet.
Next time you dine on something a bit tangy, reach for the sauvignon blanc. The tang will not overwhelm your meal. In fact, this is a great choice for a salad that has a moderately acidic dressing.
For dessert, consider something sparkling. Moscato is the perfect choice, especially if you have a fruity dish. Pay attention to the amount of sugar in your treat as well. A simple fruity sauce pairs well with chardonnay, and sweeter desserts should pair with even sweeter wines.
Finally, consider white wines when you are eating seafood. Pinot grigio is an excellent choice. Fattier fish will work well with a chardonnay.
Don’t forget to consider the texture as you select a wine for your meal. It should make sense that light foods pair well with light wines and heavy foods pair well with heavy wines.
Choosing the Perfect Wine
Still not sure what kind of wine is right for you? Look at this list of wines to determine which selection will suit your palate best:
Cabernet Sauvignon – This is the ultimate red wine. It is dark, fruity and ages well.
Merlot – This dark-fruited wine is still soft enough for most palates. It is among the most popular red wines on any menu.
Pinot Noir – This silky red wine is light in body, making it a great wine to enjoy with a light lunch.
Pinot Grigio – This wine is light and crisp. It is acidic but delicious.
Chardonnay – This is a rich white wine with complex flavors. You might even find it to be a bit creamy.
Sauvignon Blanc – This is yet another crisp white wine with a refreshing nature. You will find it to be quite flexible and enjoyable with nearly any meal.
Sparkling Wine – Sparkling wine is easy to pair, and it is a great celebratory wine for those who don’t enjoy champagne.
Rose – Rose is a pink wine that can be dry but refreshing.
Breaking the rules is inevitable, and totally fine. Food pairing is not down to an exact science, and you might find that certain blends go very well with other foods not even mentioned here.
Ultimately, the wine you enjoy drinking is up to you. Maybe you like the taste of wine when you are breaking the rules and pairing a sauvignon blanc with a salty meal. This is completely up to you. Your personal preference is what really matters when you are selecting the perfect wine for your event or meal.