A question we are asked frequently is, “Which wine should I serve with my meal?”
When serving wine at home, or hosting a tasting with friends, here are some basic rules to follow if offering various wines:
- Serve poorer wines before the greater wines
- Light wines served before heavy wines
- Young wines before older wines
Aperitif – A Fino sherry; Champagne; if serving a cocktail. stick to a Martini
Hors d’ouvres – Don’t break out the great wine just yet, unless serving oysters, then go with a Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc. Otherwise, serve a dry Champagne (or sparkling wine); Pouilly-Fuissé; Vouvray; Pinot Gris; Chardonnay; Chenin Blanc
Soup – Depending on the soup, a lighter soup pairs with white wines. We suggest if serving a gumbo or tomato based soup to pour a Pinot Noir or a Sangiovese.
Fish – White wines are traditionally served with a fish course, as reds with a heavy tannin can create a metallic taste with the fish. However, Pinot Noir pairs well with freshwater fish, especially when it is prepared in a tomato based pasta dish.
Meat – Any good red wine goes well with mutton. A burgundy pairs well with pork. With beef dishes, a light Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Shiraz, Rioja, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Malbec.
Poultry – Chicken or Turkey can be paired with either red or white wine, based on the way it is prepared. Lighter sauces call for a white wine, while a BBQ chicken would go well with a Beaujolais or Rose. A White Côtes du Rhône or a Viognier are nice choices for a white pairing and for that leftover turkey sandwich with cranberry, try a Grenache Blanc. Keep in mind the rule when serving other types of fowl such as duck, goose, or pheasant: Darker meat, darker wine.
Game – Red wine is the go-to when serving wild game. A Medoc or Cabernet Sauvignon work well. Venison, along with Elk or Buffalo pair well with a strong, bold red such as a Chianti or Valpolicella.
Dessert and Fruit – We feel the wine should be sweet like the dessert. Reisling, Moscato, or an Ice Wine pairs well with cheesecakes or fruit tarts. Extra dry sparkling wine is scrumptious with buttery crusted desserts and apple pie. Port tastes delicious with anything chocolate or with nuts.
Cheese – Any wine goes with a cheese course.
Coffee – Cordials work best
Choosing the perfect wine is subjective, and ultimately, there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to personal taste of the individual guests. Not all will partake in the white wines and a few will turn down the red vintages. As long as there is laughter, good company, and a variety of wine, any gathering is sure to be remembered fondly by all.