When serving or ordering a dish, one of the details that people spend the most time worrying over is: What wine would go well with this food? Many novices to wine are afraid to experiment with wine and food combinations, thinking that ordering the “wrong” wine with their food would be a major restaurant gaffe. While certain wines certainly do go better with certain foods, there are few choices that could be considered downright wrong.
The key to matching a wine with your food is finding a wine that complements the flavors of the food. If when you taste a food you don’t think “Ah, (fill in the blank) wine would go very well with this”, do not fret. It takes experience with wine to get a feel for food and wine combinations. If you are a novice wine drinker, start by trying different types of wines and noting the flavors that you taste. These are the major hints to what foods would go best.
Another detail to consider is how strong the food is. Fish and dishes with cream sauces are generally considered to be light flavors, while steaks, stews, and other hearty dishes are strong flavors. Typically, white wines go better with light foods and red wines with stronger tasting foods. This is an oversimplification of the art of wine and food pairing, but it is a good initial rule of thumb to follow.
The Flavors of Merlot
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When you taste a Merlot, see if you pick up on certain tastes. Merlot wine is typically described as being a strong red wine with a hint of spice, berry, and herbs in the smell and taste. These qualities are referred to as “tones”. Smell the wine and see what tones immediately come to mind for you. The tones will vary based on vineyard, year, and method of storage.
Because Merlot is a stronger wine with some spice, it goes well with steak and other meats such as pork, lamb, and duck. Stews are also a good choice, as are hearty pastas that use a tomato sauce base. Once you feel comfortable tasting the tones of Merlot, try branching out and pairing the wine with some of your own recipes that you feel would be a good match, or try pairing food with a different type of wine. There are many varieties of wine from vineyards all over the world, and experimenting with the infinite pairing possibilities can add joy and excitement to everyday cooking. Be brave, and enjoy!
For More Information
To learn more about wine and food pairings and new recipes to match with your wine selection, please visit the interactive, innovative cooking website CD Kitchen here.
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