When preparing a big dinner party, many of us focus on planning out the menu while leaving the wine pairings to chance. The beauty about wine is that it can be considered part of your meal, and when paired thoughtfully it can complement any dish. Part art and part science, there’s no one exact pairing: Always follow your personal preferences and budget. In following just a few simple guidelines you can take out the guessing over what to serve your guests.
Here are a few helpful wine pairing tips to consider when you’re preparing for your next dinner party.
When serving a red meat such as steak or lamb, try a wine made from the world’s most popular red wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon. The full flavour in the meat stands up to full bodied, concentrated flavor and softens impact of high tannins in the wine, revealing complex dark fruit flavours. For special occasions, look for an older vintage from an age-worthy region such as Bordeaux or California. Try the Ravine Red Wine Gift Pack to serve at your next dinner party.
Both popular choices, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are agreeable matches when serving roasted or fried chicken dishes. The richness of the seasoning will affect the exact pairing so look to match the intensity of the dish with the intensity of the wine. A Sauvignon Blanc from a warmer region such as Chile will pair with a spicier, meatier dish. Pinot Grigio pairs excellently with white meat dishes prepared with a citrus ingredient. As an added bonus, these wines will do double duty next to green salad tossed with vinaigrette or other tart dressings.
The fire-grilled finish of the barbecue makes the best pairing with a wine that’s bold on taste. A hearty Argentinian Malbec or spicy Australian Shiraz won’t be overshadowed by the meal. These full-bodied, black fruit-driven wines enhance the peppery flavour of smoked foods.
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Pair fatty white fish such as halibut, or any fish in a rich sauce, with a buttery Chardonnay from California, Chile or Australia. The creamy, silken notes in the wine pair perfectly with the flakiness of the fish. Think outside the box and pair Salmon or Tuna with a lightly chilled red such as Pinot Noir. The savoury flavour of this fish will stand up to the light body and lower tannin of the Pinot. Try the 3 Gold Medal Winning Chardonnays from Trail Estate Winery.
Sparkling wine is always impressive next to oysters, mussels, or shrimp appetizers. Complementary high acid and zesty citrus flavours can be found in many examples of Crémant, Cava, Prosecco at affordable price points.
When serving spicier dishes cooked with curry powder, red chilies or black peppercorns, you want to pair it with a wine that will help tame the heat from the spice. An off-dry Riesling is a famous match due to its slight sweetness and round body. The spicy, smoky spectrum of Zinfandel amps up exotic dry spices. A dry Gewürztraminer, with its intense floral aroma, also pairs well with heart-pumping cuisines. Try the Riesling Magnums - Heaven & Earth by Trail Estate Winery.
Pasta with Meat Sauce:
A wonderful rule of thumb to remember is that most recipes pair well with wine from the same region. Medium-bodied Italian red wines are the ideal pairing for tomato-based pasta sauces. A Sangiovese or Primitivo is a perfect match for meaty Bolognese or Italian sausage. Classic Chianti has high acidity and a savoury tomato leaf note to the aroma that would stand up next to the sauce.
For an unconventional pairing, try serving Dry Rosé with firm, mellow cheeses such as Fontina and Mozzarella. Dry Rosé such as one from Provence has all the crisp acidity and minerality of a white wine, plus the ripe red fruit character of a youthful red.
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