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How to select the correct wine for different meals

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The most important thing to remember is that the "correct" wine to accompany any meal is the one that you most enjoy with that meal. Personal taste varies quite a bit, and you should feel free to choose whatever food and wine pairing you like best. That being said, there are a few general principles to consider that will help you select a wine that will bring out the best in your food.
First of all, you want to consider whether a white or red is going to be most appropriate. The general principle is that white wines are best suited to meals with white meats such as chicken, meals involving a creamy sauce, meals with fish, and meals with a lighter, more delicate flavour. Red wines, on the other hand, tend to work best with heartier meals, with red meats and tomato-based sauces. However, it is important to know that you don't absolutely need to stick to these rules. If you or one of your guests really doesn't like white wine, it's entirely appropriate to serve a lighter red, such as a Pinot Noir, with your chicken dish.
You want to choose a wine that will enhance the flavours in your food. One of the easiest ways to do this is to select wines that have similar kinds of flavours to those in your meal. If you're serving a pasta with a rich cream sauce, you're probably going to enjoy pairing it with a rich, buttery Chardonnay more than with a light, crisp Pinot. Similarly, a dish with a light, citrus based sauce would likely be an excellent partner for a Sauvignon Blanc. Basically, meals which are high in acidity tend to work best with wines that are also more acidic, and vice versa.
Think about the amount of spice that is in your meal. Spicy flavours have a particular effect on wine that is well worth understanding. The spicier your food, the drier your wine is going to taste; by the same token, a dry wine is going to make your hot food seem even hotter. For this reason, a fruity, off-dry white is a very popular pairing with spicy Thai and Indian dishes.
When it comes to dessert, your best choice will almost certainly be a sweet wine. The sweetness in your dessert will make almost any dry wine seem bitter and unpleasant in comparison. Naturally, there are exceptions to this! Many people find that very dark, bitter chocolates can be paired beautifully with very rich, full-bodied red wines.
In the end, all of these guidelines are only suggestions based on pairings that are popular with most people. They provide an excellent starting point, but do feel free to explore and try different combinations that appeal to you. There are no rules about which wines you can enjoy with which foods, so go right ahead and have fun experimenting!


Great article

Wow! It's incredible how so many people are into wine yet no-one has ever given me these tips before. I'm looking forward to sounding like a real connoisseur the next time I host a party!


That's great advice. I really enjoy my wines, but some of this advice was a bit new to me too! Thanks.

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