Decoding the Mysteries of Wine
Wine can be intimidating. From sommelier talk to countless varieties, how are you supposed to hold your own? It makes you want to crack open a boxed cabernet. But you need to leave behind stuffy sommeliers and pretentious jargon. Wines are no longer just for stuffy dinner parties. And guess what? You don’t need a Ph.D. to enjoy a glass, either.
This blog is a crash course in wine for the casual connoisseur and the adventurous eaters out there!
The Types of Wine
Whether you are a novice or a long-time wine drinker, there’s always something new in the world of wine.
Here’s an overview of the different types of wine, their varieties, taste profiles, and food pairings:
Red wines are the kings of richness and robustness. Made from grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah (Shiraz), they are rich in dark fruit flavours. They take beautiful notes of dried fruit and tobacco with time, blending with leather.
Red meats, hearty stews, and aged cheeses go great with red wines. A steak slow-cooked in soy sauce and moonshine or some sharp cheddar is definitely a culinary ecstasy.
With lighter, crisper white wines, the picture is somewhat different. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio. Their aromatic flavour profile covers everything from citrus and green apples to tropical fruits and delicate blooms.
Accompany them with seafood, chicken or poultry, and light pasta. Try bringing out their taste in a crisp salad too! Picture a glass of Sauvignon Blanc paired with grilled salmon or Pinot Grigio complementing creamy chicken pasta from your favourite restaurant.
Rosé wines are somewhere in between the fullness of reds and the transparent crispness of whites. Made from Grenache, Syrah, Sangiovese, and other red grapes, they offer a nice balance with hints of red berries, watermelon, and florals.
From salads, grilled meats, and even pasta foods to sweets–they exude variety. Rosé is an ideal companion for picnics, brunch, or casual gatherings.
Wines like Port and Sherry are fortified, thus gaining a measure of spirit to their composition. The alcohol content is increased somewhat while the flavour becomes more complex. Spanning from dry to sweet, they go through a dazzling range of nutty and spicy notes.
Fortified wines match well with nuts, blue cheese, and desserts that are particularly rich in chocolate. consider a glass with Port and some walnut shells or dried fig alongside, or even Sherry paired with dark chocolate mousse.
Champagne, the king of bubbly, leads the charge of sparkling wines, but Prosecco and Cava offer equally delightful options. Ranging from dry to sweet, these sparkling concoctions are a refreshing delight with strains of green apples and citrus.
In addition, sparkling wines make excellent aperitifs and go well with seafood, appetisers, or desserts.
Sparkling rosé combines the best of both worlds – the effervescence of sparkling wines and the fruity and floral charm of rosé.
You can anticipate refreshing notes of red berries, citrus, and flowers that would be great for any celebration.
Serve on special occasions or with snacks, seafood, and light pieces of food to accompany a glass of sparkling rosé.
Dessert wines are the extreme pleasure of pleasures, a honey-sweet harmony in taste. You might think of Port, or sherrys, and late-harvest Rieslings.
You can anticipate honey, dried fruit, and caramel flavours with a hint of nuts.
They are best served with desserts and cheeses and even as a substitute for dessert.
For example, a glass of Port with chocolate cake or sweet Sherry with blue cheese.
Choosing the Right Wine
Selecting a suitable wine to go with your meal can be both pleasurable and rewarding.
Understand your tastes first. Red, white, or perhaps sparkling wine? Are you more of a dry or sweet wine lover? But first, you’ve got to know your taste.
Are Wine Pairing Rules Out of Date?
“Red wine with red meat; white wine with fish or chicken.”
This sounds fine in concept, but what about a winter beef or venison stew in hearty sauce? The subtle flavour of white wine would be mostly lost here, and the delicate taste of fish meat-like soles would get completely drowned out, too, by a big red Australian Shiraz. However, looking creatively at the choice of food from around the world and all kinds of wines, there is no point in clinging on blindly.
Match the Wine With the Dish
The golden rule is that the wine must complement your dish. Consider this as a guide to pairing your food with the right wine:
The secret to perfect pairings? Your taste buds. The only rule of thumb is just to have fun. Try things out, ask questions, and, most importantly, hang loose! The more you think about it, wine is no longer something to be scared of. Fill up your glass and invite over a few friends—the good times will flow.
You can enjoy exquisite dishes with the best wines at Violas in Covent Garden. Have an immersion in pure indulgence that lingers long after the last sip.
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