You are hosting your first formal dinner party and need everything to be just right. You created a menu, but are having difficulty selecting a wine. How are you supposed to know which wine pairs best with your entree? Well, we are here to help. These tips from the wine pros will help you look like a sommelier.
· Choose similar flavors. For instance, if the meal has citrus elements, then a wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay will complement the citrus tones.
· Match the sweetness levels of the food. The amount of sugar in the dish should be equal or slightly less than the flavor of the wine. So, roasted pork or chicken, or an apple dessert will pair perfectly with a Riesling.
· Pick a wine with similar characteristics as your food. Does the dish have salty elements such as feta cheese, olives, shellfish, or crisp savory topping? Then serve it with a crisp, dry white wine such as Sancerre, Chables, or Albarino.
· What color is the food? Look at the items on your menu, and pair accordingly. For instance, citrus based items go best with pale yellow wines, red meats go great with red wines – steak and Cabernet, anyone? – Desserts with berries go beautifully with rich, sweet reds.
· Will sauces be served? If so, then pair the wine to the sauce rather than the food the sauce is used for. For example, red meats with a dark sauce or gravy go best with Merlot, Cabernet or Syrah; heavy cream sauces should be paired with a Chardonnay; and light citrus sauces, scampi and risotto go beautifully with Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Savignon Blanc.
· Is your menu slightly heavy? If so, use a wine rich in tannins. These wines include Cabernet Savignon, Monastrell, Malbec, and Syrah.
· When serving foods known for their acidic content, use a wine that is equal to or higher in acid. For instance, for tomato based dishes use a Pinot Noir, Gamay, or Zweigelt.
· Having just desserts? Be sure to have a collection of red and white sweet wines, as well as a couple of sparkling wines such as Prosecco or Cava.
Color, sweetness, crispness, spicy – understanding how these and the other elements work together to enhance the nuances of flavor are all it takes to turn your dinner party debut into a raging success. You will impress your guests, and not need to be stressed out. Bear Claw Vineyards looks forward to being a part of your dinner parties. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding wines and your menu, so please don’t hesitate to ask. Cheers!
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