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Pairing For Regional Foods

Foods from specific regions, or those created by particular cultures or ethnic groups, can have strong and unique flavors. These can range from rich and earthy to hot and spicy. Pairing regional wines with food from the same geographic area helps ensure complementary flavors. Cuisines with flavor profiles that make wine and food pairings challenging can be matched with wines that complement their strong ingredients and seasonings. When Pairing Wines, Look Local Traditional regional cuisines and the wines of those regions evolved together over the course of centuries. Some traditional dishes have a particular wine as an ingredient; pair the same wine with the food for cohesive flavors. For example, match Italian wine with Italian food, as the traditional cuisine of Italy has evolved over time to accentuate the qualities of the wines available in the region. Some regions produce a variety of both wines and traditional dishes. When pairing regional wines in this case, keep in mind the flavor bridges between the wine and the food (spice, acid, etc.), and how these flavors will mirror or complement one another. The overall weight of the dish is another important factor to ensure balance in your meal. Bold foods will benefit from bold wines, whereas lighter fare calls for a wine with a more delicate flavor. Pairings for Strongly Flavored Ethnic Foods Some regional or ethnic foods are difficult to pair with wines. Strong spices often have a numbing effect on the palate, and wine’s delicate or complex flavors cannot be enjoyed fully. For example, Indian or Mexican foods can be highly spiced. Finding wine for sushi can be a challenge as well, especially if you enjoy the dish with hot wasabi. Follow a few basic guidelines to pair wine with boldly flavored foods. Avoid strong, dry wines (particularly red wines) when eating spicy foods; tannins in the wine can intensify the heat of spicy dishes. If you are set on pairing these spicy foods with wine, a slightly sweet and acidic wine, like Riesling, can balance the spice. Riesling’s low alcohol content will also help you to avoid spiking the heat of an already spicy dish.

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Selecting The Best Match For Your Wine Or Food

Decisions about wine pairings can be made based on a number of food characteristics. The main protein and sauce can both provide viable comparison points for wine. Based on personal preference and different flavor matches, several wines can pair equally well with the same dish. Special considerations apply for certain wine and food types. Pairing: Main Ingredients Traditionally, pairings are often determined based on the protein in your dish. Classic white wine pairings include chicken and fish, while red wines are often paired with beef. However, these are only guidelines. For example, rich salmon can be successfully paired with a red wine with low tannin concentration, such as Pinot Noir. This type of pairing also accounts for the concept of pairing by weight. The protein in a dish is a significant determining factor in its overall “weight:” rich versus light, strong versus delicate. Pairing: Sauces and Spice Lighter proteins, such as chicken or fish, are apt to take on the flavors of sauces or spices. These accompaniments can create “flavor bridges” that connect the dish with certain wines and provide a harmonious or contrasting flavor profile. For example, a pasta or chicken with cream sauce could be mirrored by a rich Chardonnay, or contrasted by an acidic Sauvignon Blanc. Two wines may prove excellent pairs for the same dish for different reasons. The winning choice can be dictated by your perception of the primary element of a dish, or your personal preferences. Special Courses: Cheese, Appetizers and Dessert Generally, lighter and sparkling wines pair well with appetizer courses. Wine and cheese pairings can follow a basic rule of thumb: red wines pair well with hard cheeses, whereas white wines often pair well with soft. In addition, pungent cheeses like stilton pair well with sweet wines, like port. Dessert, however, can present challenges. Light fruit desserts can be matched with lightly sweet sparkling wines like Prosecco. Very sweet desserts, however, can make wine taste dull or bitter, and are often better paired with coffee than wine. Solo Artists: Stand-Alone Wines Some wines are best enjoyed alone; their flavor profiles are compromised when food pairings are introduced. Some complex, oaky (and very expensive) aged wines can be blunted when paired with food. Simpler wines are often a better match at meals, and display their fruit character more effectively. Similarly, dessert wines often function better as replacements than accompaniments, as sweet desserts can diminish their nuanced flavors.

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Tempranillo Grapes

To Spanish winemakers, no more important fruit exists than the black grape known as Tempranillo. The main ingredient of the famous robust red wine Rioja, and an important part of other red wines, the black grapes generally are used in varietal, or blended, wines. The low acidity of the Tempranillo grape leads most winemakers to blend it with other wines to keep its body after aging. But not much is needed to correct what the otherwise-perfect grape lacks in PH. To make Rioja wines, for example, winemakers sometimes use as much as 90 percent Tempranillo grapes in their blends. In Portugal, makers of fine Port often utilize the thick-skinned grape. Deeply, richly red in color, wines made from the Tempranillo grape yield plummy-blackberry flavors with undertones of herbs, vanilla and leather. The wines present a full body, especially when aged for several years in oak barrels before distribution. Wines made with aging in mind are known as ”crianza” wines, and have a more robust quality. The lighter ”joven” wines can be enjoyed soon after production. Tempranillo”s History Tempranillo grapes get their name from the Spanish word ”temprano,” meaning ”little early one,” due to their tendency to ripen weeks before other grapes. This classic mainstay of Spanish winemaking may have been transported to the country by French monks, possibly even as a genetic offspring of Pinot Noir, the grape that it most resembles. Whatever their origin, Tempranillo grapes go back so far in Spanish culture that historians can”t pin down their discovery as wine grapes, or whether they are truly native to Spain. The earliest specific reference to the grape appears in a 13th century poem praising ”las tempraniellas” as superior to other grapes.

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American Vineyards

No matter which of our 50 states you visit, you”ll be able to find an American vineyard. Both the number of U.S. vineyards and the reputation of their wines have grown enormously in recent years. This is good news for those who enjoy the unique qualities of American wines. Wineries in California California boasts more American wineries than any other U.S. state. This is due to weather conditions that are ideal for growing the grapes needed to produce fine wines. The long, warm California growing season is gentle to delicate grapes. You can find American wineries in many areas of California, and the Napa Valley is probably the most well-known. Napa Valley is world-famous for its Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. There are numerous vineyards in the Napa Valley that produce wines ranging from everyday table wine to world-class collectibles. Because of the countless varieties of wine available from this region, the price range is large. Californian wines start around $18 and can sell for more than $600. Wineries in Colorado The hot days and cool nights of Colorado, coupled with elevations of over 4,000 feet, create an excellent wine-growing environment. Colorado boasts about 60 U.S. wineries, many located in the Colorado River”s Grand Valley. This area is said to have growing conditions similar to famous wine-growing areas of France. Colorado is best known for Syrah and Viognier wines. The price range for wines grown in this area is as low as $4 per bottle for wines from Carlson Vineyards to about $22 for a Balistreri Colorado Merlot. Wineries in New Jersey While this state doesn”t often come to mind when thinking about vineyards in the United States, New Jersey is home to our country”s oldest continuously operating vineyard, The Renault Winery. The Renault Winery has been producing wine since 1861. It is well-known for fruit wines as well as: Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Chambourcin Merlot. Prices for Renault Winery wines range from $9.99 to $16.99 per bottle. In addition to the Renault Winery, New Jersey also boasts approximately 20 other vineyards. Wineries in Florida Long before Florida became a U.S. state, Spanish settlers were producing wine in this region. Because of its warm, humid climate, the muscadine grape and muscadine hybrids thrive. These grapes are sweet, and Florida”s wines are known for their sweetness. Wineries in Michigan and Missouri On the Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan, the bay”s deep water helps to tame the temperatures in autumn and winter. This brings excellent conditions for growing quality Riesling grapes, making this area of America well-known for Riesling wines. In fact, in 2002 a Michigan Riesling won the prize for best dessert wine in an international competition. Another great place to find wineries in the United States is Hermann, Mo. This area, west of St. Louis, runs along the southern bank of the Missouri River. The climate here has extreme temperature changes. Yet, wine has been successfully produced in the region since the 1800s. Grapes native to the United States, such as […]

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Other Wines

The world of wines does not just include red and white wines. If you wish, you can explore the many other types of wines that are available to you. Sparkling Wines Bubbly wines are a favorite for special celebrations such as weddings or ringing in the New Year. Sparkling wines are also wonderful to drink in front of a cozy fire or during an elegant brunch. On the top of the list of sparkling wines are champagnes. In many parts of Europe, the designation “champagne” is allowed to be used only in reference to the bubbly wines produced in the Champagne region of France. Sparking wines produced in other regions of France cannot be designated as champagne. For many years, sparkling wine producers in the United States called their wines champagnes. Wine producers did this largely because consumers in the United States were familiar with the word “champagne” and the qualities attributed to drinking champagne. The wine producers felt that placing “sparkling wine” on the labels would be less desirable to consumers. However, bubbly wine drinkers in the United States have become more sophisticated as the quality of wine production in the United States has improved. Today, more and more wine producers are switching to labeling their wines “sparkling wine,” taking pride in the quality of their products. Some notable champagnes and sparking wines include: Chandon Blanc de Noirs: Napa Valley, California Dom Perignon: Reims, Champagne, France Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante: Piedmont Region, Italy. Typically, three types of grapes are used to make champagne in France: Chardonnay Pinot Meunier Pinot Noir. In Italy, Muscat blanco is used to make bubbly wines. In larger production facilities, Columbard, Chenin Blanc, Sultana and Shiraz grapes are also used. Blush Wines Many experts have less than kind remarks about blush wines. Despite this, the popularity of blush wines is very high.

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Wines Of The Balkans

The Balkans refers to a region of Eastern Europe, although the definition of which countries should be counted among that group varies somewhat depending on whom you ask. The list of Balkan countries seems to always include: Albania Bosnia Croatia Herzegovina Montenegro Republic of Macedonia Republic of Serbia. Other countries sometimes included are: Bulgaria Greece Moldova Romania Slovenia the European part of Turkey. When it comes to the wines of the Balkans, however, all of those countries can be counted as part of this region. Wine in the Balkans The Balkans region produces some wonderful wines, especially along the Adriatic Sea. In some parts of the Balkans, wines have been produced for thousands of years. Unfortunately, this rich history was interrupted in the last century by two world wars, the fall of communism and the civil war, which led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. As you might imagine, all of that wreaked havoc on the vineyards. Even though the recent years of conflict have made it difficult for winemakers, this area is once again on the rise and more and more wines from the Balkans are entering the marketplace. Wines from the Balkans: The Former Yugoslavia The earthy, dark reds produced by this region have become the best known, with Zilvaka ranking as the most famous. Some wine critics describe Zilvaka as an acquired taste, but others greatly enjoy it. By contrast, the Brda region in Slovenia is a continuation of the famous Venetian wine region Friuli, and it produces some of the best Slovenian wines. Among them is Avia, which can be found in many major supermarkets among the lower-priced bottles of Merlot and Chardonnay. In fact, many wineries around the world actually use barrels made of slow-growth oaks from Slovenian forests to age their wine. Both Slovenia and Croatia have a cool, continental climate, which enables white wines to flourish. The vineyards in both of these countries take advantage of this fact to grow grapes that are popular worldwide, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. But they also produce some wonderful local white wines, such as Rizling, Malvasia and Grasevina, which all have the potential to become popular dessert wines. Croatia also has the advantage of the Dalmation coastline along the Adriatic Sea, where the Mediterranean climate allows red wine grapes to flourish, including Merlot and the traditional grape variety Plavac. Wines of Bulgaria and Romania Did you know that Romania is one of the great wine-consuming countries of the world? Some historians also name Bulgaria as the birthplace of winemaking. Two famous Bulgarian wines include Pamid and Gamza. Unfortunately Bulgaria has to export about 80 percent of its wines, including the well-liked Pamid and Gamza, due to its predominantly Muslim population. Wines of Hungary Hungary has remained faithful to its traditional winemaking methods rather than adopting the French method, as many other countries did. Perhaps this is what has made Tokay, a sweet wine made from grapes with noble rot, so popular. Ranked among Port […]

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United States Wine

Years ago, a bottle of wine was something to be opened only on special occasions. In recent years however, wine has become a popular beverage to be enjoyed with everyday meals. There is no reason to search the globe for a great wine. Wines made in the United States are some of the finest in the world. Although 90 percent of American wines are produced in California, due to its near-perfect wine-growing climate, every state in the United States produces wine. Wines in California California, our country”s largest wine producer, creates both affordable table wines and world-class fine wines. Located on California”s north coast, Napa Valley is one of the most productive and well-known areas of the California wine industry. This region of the country has ideal weather conditions for growing the grapes needed to make wine. Napa Valley produces a large variety of wines and is respected for its red wines and Cabernet Sauvignons. Great wines of the United States also come from nearby Sonoma. This area produces predominately red wines, but has also earned a reputation for Pinot Noir and Rhine wines. Southern California is also a large producer of American-made wines. In Santa Barbara, a large variety of wines are created, including: Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay Pinot Noir Rhone-like wines. Other West Coast Wine Regions Although the climates of the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon are somewhat cooler than California, weather conditions still lend themselves to a growing wine industry. The cool climate in Oregon may actually be better than California for the Pinot Noir grape, which is attracting the interest of wine enthusiasts. Wine in the Southwestern United States The Southwestern area of the United States, especially Texas and New Mexico, has become increasingly involved in the creation of American wines. Many wines grown in New Mexico, including the following, have won awards at wine shows: Gruet Chardonnay Pecos Valley White Strawberry Delight St. Clair Bellissimo. In recent years, the wine industry of Texas has increased from 54 to 104 wineries. This growth has made Taxes the fifth-largest producer of wines in America. Wine in the Eastern United States The East Coast of the United States is another important source of U.S. wines. While California may produce more wine overall than any other state, more sparkling wines are produced in upper New York than anywhere else in the country, including California. New York has been making sparkling wines since before the Civil War. As early as 1863, New York stunned Europeans by winning a gold medal at the Vienna Exposition for a Sparkling Catawba. New York sparkling wines are valued for their fragrance, finesse and vitality. Some are made from traditional grapes from the Champagne region of France, while others use varieties such as Riesling. The Unique Quality of American Wines No matter where a U.S. wine is produced, what most great American wines have in common is that they are varietals. This means that they are made entirely or almost entirely from a single […]

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French Wine Regions

Many wine connoisseurs feel that French wines are among the best in the world. The wine regions in France offer a wide array of excellent wines. Each of the wine regions has distinct characteristics in the type of grapes grown, with the soil and climate contributing to the characteristics of individual wines. French vineyards offer some of the most famous wines, which are enjoyed by wine lovers around the world. Alsace Alsace is located in the northeast part of France, between the Rhine and Vosges Rivers. Alsace is the smallest wine region in France, and the grapes that grow in Alsace are grown nowhere else. The wines produced in this French wine region are dry and sweet white wines. The wines from Alsace include: Cremant d”Alsace Gewurtztraminer Pinot Blanc Riesling Sylvaner Tokay Pinot Gris. The soil in Alsace ranges from sand to clay. The climate in the region consists of hot summers and cold winters, which gives these wines their distinctive characteristics. Bordeaux The Bordeaux wine region is located in the southwest area of France, near the Atlantic Ocean. Bordeaux is considered to be the most important French wine region and actually accounts for one third of French wine production. The Bordeaux area produces both sweet and dry white wines and full-body and medium-body red wines. The grapes grown in Bordeaux include: Cabernet-Franc Cabernet-Sauvignon Sauvignon Semillion. The Bordeaux region features mild, short winters, hot summers and a high degree of humidity due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Burgundy The Burgundy wine region begins just south of Paris and continues down to Lyon. The wines produced in this region include both red and white wines. The red are known for being subtle and velvety, while the white are characterized by being sensual. The grapes in this region include: Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Burgundy has a wide range of soils, so the area is divided into districts. These districts are: Beaujolais Chablis Cote Chalonnaise Cote d”Or Maconnais. The weather consists of cold winters and hot summers, which produce excellent wines. Champagne Champagne is one of the most well-known wines in the world, both sparkling and festive. The Champagne region is in the northeast region of France, which is east of Paris and west of Alsace. The types of grapes grown in the Champagne region include: Chardonnay Pinot Meunier Pinot Noir. The weather in the Champagne region is unique. It offers cool winters and sunny summers. The soil is chalky, which produces high-quality sparkling wines. Cotes du Rhone This wine region is known for being incredibly diverse. The Cotes du Rhone is in the Rhone Valley, which is south of Lyon and stretches to the Mediterranean Sea. The wines from Cotes du Rhone range from full-body red wines to fruity red wines to full-body dry white wines. The grapes grown here include: Clairette Grenache. The weather in the Cotes du Rhone region consists of cold winters and warm summers in the northern part of the region and mild winters and hot summers […]

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Wines Of Italy

Italy was made for grapes, or perhaps, grapes were made for Italy. Wine has been made in Italy for thousands of years, making this country one of the oldest producers of wine in the world. Today, wine from Italy is enjoyed by connoisseurs around the world. Wine is made in Italy in all three regions of the country: northern Italy, southern Italy and central Italy. Italian Wine Regions: Northern Italian Wine Wine regions in northern Italy include the following: Friuli-Venezia-Guilia has more than 46,000 acres dedicated to growing grapes. Friuli-Venezia Guilia is known for such wines as Ramandolo and Friuli-Giulia. Liguria includes more than 118,000 acres of vineyards. More than half of the wines produced in this region are white wines. Lombardy has more than 60,000 acres dedicated to growing grapes. This region produces predominately red wines. Wines include Franciacorta, a white sparkling wine, and Botticino, a red wine. Trentino-Alto Adife has over 31,000 acres of vineyards, with the majority of the wines produced being red. Red wines include Alto Adige Colli di Bolzano and Alto Adige Santa Maddalena. Valle d-Aosta, or Aosta Valley, has over 82,000 acres of vineyards that predominantly produce red wines. Veneto has more than 186,000 acres dedicated to vineyards. Veneto produces Soaves. Also included in northern Italy is the Piedmont region, with over 142,000 acres of vineyards. Piedmont is well-known for inventing the famous red Italian wine, Barolo. Barolo, which is made from the Nebbiolo grape, is meant to be aged for up to 15 years. Another noted red wine from the Piedmont area, also made from the Nebbiolo grape, is Barbaresco. Barbarescos should be aged at least two years before drinking. Piedmont is also known for its sparkling wines made from the Muscat grape. Unfortunately, many of these Asti wines do not make the grade as far as taste and quality. Wine Regions of Italy: Central Italian Wine Wine regions of central Italy include the following: Emilia-Romagna has over 143,000 acres dedicated to growing grapes. Emilia-Romagna is noted for the production of the white wine Albana di Romagna. Latiumhas more than 118,000 acres of vineyards. Latium produces fine wines, including Bianco Capena, a white wine, and the red Aprilia. Latium is also home to Frascati, a much criticized wine. Umbriagrows grapes on over 40,000 acres. Noted wines include the red Lago di Corbara and the white Colli del Trasimeno. World-famous Tuscany is located in central Italy and is home to Chianti, made predominantly from Sangiovese grapes. Look for Chiantis that are designated Riserva, as these Chiantis have been aged longer than other Chiantis. Legend has it that grapes were growing in Tuscany before mankind inhabited the area. Tuscany has over 157,000 acres of vineyards. Italian Wine Regions: Southern Italian Wine Wines from Southern Italy are produced in the following areas: Campania has over 101,000 acres dedicated to vineyards. Campania is known for Taurasi, a red wine, and two white wines, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Sardina has over 107,000 acres of vineyards. […]

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Wine Science

People have enjoyed drinking wine for thousands of years. Like many other happy human discoveries, wine was likely discovered by accident. By 3000 BC, people in ancient Egypt and Persia were making wines. The art and science of winemaking has changed considerably since these early times. Wine Science — The Ancient Romans The ancient Romans kick-started several developments in making wines. By 1000 BC, Romans were taking a closer look at grapes and the diseases that affected them. They were also considering the types of soils in which grapes grew the best. They started classifying different types of grapes and developed pruning and irrigation techniques that improved wines. Perhaps the largest contribution that Romans may have made, however, was to develop wooden casks. Before this, wine was stored in skins or jars. The Science of Wine Fermentation — Champagne During the 17th century, the Catholic Church, which controlled most of the best vineyards in France at the time, was not happy with second fermentations that led to wines with bubbles. In fact, the Church sent Dom Pierre Perignon (c. 1638-1715) to its vineyards to try to develop a way to stop the second fermentation that led to sparkling wines. Happily for us today, tastes in the royalty of England and France changed; Dom Perignon was told to reverse course and figure out how to improve the process of making what we now call champagne. Wine Science — The Cork During the times of the ancient Greeks, cork was probably used to seal wine containers. Somehow over time, this knowledge of cork to protect wines was lost. The same Dom Perignon brought cork stoppers back into fashion after finding that cork was much more effective at keeping champagne inside bottles than the wood stoppers currently in use. Science of Wine Fermentation — Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) Louis Pasteur discovered and proved that yeast formed alcohol from sugar during the fermentation process and that bacteria could make a wine turn sour. Pasteur”s discoveries ultimately led to more wine production and less wine spoilage, as well as to wines that were safer to drink. The Art and Science of Winemaking Today Today, many winemakers feel conflicted about utilizing modern scientific knowledge to enhance the art of making wines. While information about the interactions between grapes, soil, weather conditions and different methods of fermentation has increased exponentially since ancient times, many feel that winemaking is a refined art that should not be tampered with too much through the use of advanced scientific practices. One of the things that scientists are working on today is developing computer models to help identify what people consider to be the good traits of wine. Other scientists are trying to pinpoint the chemicals in wines that lead to certain tastes, such as ”peppery.” It is hard to imagine a time when winemakers will be able to manipulate characteristics of their wines to be completely consistent from year to year. It is also hard to imagine a time when science will […]

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Budget Wine Cellars

What wine lover doesn’t dream about having her own wine cellar? Being able to uncork a great bottle of wine whenever the mood strikes is high on the personal wish lists of many oenophiles. For most wine lovers, however, the cost of such luxury may seem way out of range. But it doesn’t have to be. Learning to properly store wine is easy and there are plenty of good quality budget wines on the market. Custom wine cellars are within the reach of just about any wine lover willing to do some research and roll up their sleeves. Purchasing Wines: What Should You Buy? Before starting your wine cellar, sit down and make a list of wines you’d like to include. Choose wines that you’ll drink soon after you buy them, as well as some you can store. Include wines that you may want to have on hand when company shows up unexpectedly and wines for special occasions, like good Champagne. Below are tips for buying different types of wine: Red wines: In general, red wines tend to take well to storage, but not all of them. If you’re not sure which varieties will store well, ask the staff at your wine store. Sparkling wines: Like red wines, some sparkling wines can be stored for long periods of time, while other should be drunk right away. Choose some budget varieties like Spanish Cava or Prosecco for everyday drinking, and a bottle or two of Champagne for special occasions. White wines: Because they’re less acidic than red wines, white wines don’t tend to store and age well. Only purchase white wines you’ll be able to drink within 12 to 18 months of buying. Purchasing Wines: Building a Wine Cellar on a Budget Although wines can be expensive, there are ways to make building custom wine cellars more affordable. Looking for sales and educating yourself about what’s up-and-coming are great ways to score bargains. Here are a few other ideas for building your dream wine cellar without going broke: Internet wine clubs: Wine clubs are a great way to learn about new wines and discuss what you should include in your cellar. They’re also a great way to buy wine at a discount. Purchasing by the case: Whenever possible, purchase wines by the case. Nearly all wine shops offer a case discount, sometimes up to 20 percent a bottle. Many shops will allow you to purchase a “mixed case,” allowing you to get the discount without purchasing 12 bottles of the same wine. Wine auctions: If there’s an expensive bottle of wine that you simply must have, consider bidding on it at an auction rather than buying it at a store. Auctions are great ways to add some real gems to your wine cellar at great prices. Before placing your bid, however, make sure to find out how much the bottle you’re after is really worth. Some wine auctions will also allow you to sell wines from your collection. Proper Wine Storage: […]

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Tasting Menus

In a tasting menu, a chef creates a selection of food and wine pairings that showcase a variety of dishes and wines. They may be composed by a vineyard to showcase their collection of wines, or by a restaurant to showcase special menu items. Tasting menus are excellent opportunities to experience connections between wine and food, and to try a variety of wines. What Is a Tasting Menu? Tasting menus can take on a variety of shapes. Sometimes a restaurant tasting menu includes appetizer-sized portions, while others make up a multi-course dinner including appetizer, main dish and dessert. Some tasting menus are themed around a particular ingredient or wine type, while others showcase a wide variety of wines from a single distributor or geographic area. Some restaurants and hotels will host special wine tasting events; these can be multicourse sit-down dinners, or cocktail hours with wine and hors d’oeuvre pairings. Wine Flights Some restaurants or vineyards also offer “flights” of wines. This serving style involves serving a taste (usually about a half glass) of several types of wines. The wines are generally related in some way. For example, you may try a flight of various pinot noir wines from different regions or vineyards, or a variety of wine types from a single vineyard. Wine flight tastings often provide information about the wine’s characteristics and flavor profile. Wine flights may be served with or without accompanying foods. What Can I Learn from Tasting Menus? Tasting menus allow you to try new types of wine without making a commitment; most tasting menus provide only one glass (or a half glass) of each wine with its paired food. Attending a food and wine tasting is a great way for beginners to develop a better understanding of the connections between wines and foods, and see how different wines can have specific flavor-enhancing effects on certain dishes. Trying pairings from a restaurant tasting menu can give you ideas for making food and wine pairings at home, and for ordering wines to go with your dish in a restaurant. You can even host a party at home where you create and serve different food and wine pairings to your friends. Be creative: There are no “perfect” parings, so drink what you like and try new combinations.

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Types Of Wine

The variety of wines available to enjoy is practically endless. Some of the major wine types available include: blush fruit/country non-alcoholic red sparkling white. A description of different types of wine begins with classification. Wines of all types can be classified by either the primary grape variety or the region where the grapes were grown. Wines classified by the type of grape they contain are called varietals and wines classified by the growing region are named for the region itself. Even within types of wine there is a great variety of flavor and texture, due to the climate of growing regions. A warm, wet year will produce grapes with a different flavor than a cooler, dryer growing season. This is why some labels and years are more valuable than others. Types of Red Wine Red wine comes from black grapes. The grapes are fermented whole, with the skin and pips intact. These wines can be light or sweet, refreshing or mellow. Here are some of the major types of red wine: Barbera: This grape is similar to Merlot, but not as well known. Barbera wines go well with many dishes, including those prepared with tomato sauce. Their taste is similar to black cherry and plum fruit, with a silky texture. Cabernet Sauvignon: Considered one of the world”s best varieties of grape, Cabernet Sauvignon is often paired with Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It is often served with red meat and has a full-bodied flavor. Merlot: Merlot wines are considered “easy to drink” and are a good introduction to red wines. They can be served with any type of food and have a rough, tannic flavor. Pinot Noir: These grapes are difficult to grow and are rarely blended with other varieties. They are often served with chicken, lamb and salmon. The taste of Pinot Noir wines is delicate and fresh, with a fruity aroma and earthy notes. Syrah or Shiraz: Syrah and Shiraz are both names for the same variety of grape. These red wines go well with beef, steak, stew and wild game. The taste is fruity with black pepper/roast meat overtones and gripping tannins. Zinfandel: Considered the world”s most versatile grape, Zinfandel is used to make wines from blushes to rich, heavy reds. Depending of the heaviness of a particular Zinfandel wine, it may be served with pasta in tomato sauce, pizza or meat. Zinfandel has a zesty berry and pepper flavor. Types of White Wine Since all grape juice starts out colorless, white wines can be made from white or black grapes. Flavors of white wines can range from very dry to sweet and golden. The five main types of white wine are: Chardonnay: This popular grape can be made into sparkling or still wine. It goes well with fish and chicken dishes. Chardonnay has a wide-bodied, velvety citrus flavor. When fermented in a new oak barrel, it has a buttery tone that can resemble coconut, toast, toffee or vanilla. Gewurztraminer: Wine made from this aromatic grape is often […]

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