pairing-wine

Matching Wine with Food

The melange of wine and food go hand-in-hand. Mainly these elements are matched to enhance the dining experience. In most cultures, wine is considered a must at the dinner table. Both culinary traditions and wine making of any region have evolved over the years. The contemporary society demands everything to be blend perfectly. The recent trend seems to cater to the needs to pair the desired choice of wine with food. Let’s say you’re the typical party lover and normally party with your selected set of friends. Naturally, you may be well aware of your friends’ likes and dislikes in respect of food and drinks. Supposedly, you get an opportunity to throw a party for them; you surely know before hand their preferences of food and wine. You would easily arrange to pair these things. The end result would be, people would hover about your great taste of food and wine.

Food experts are of the opinion that the correct combination of these two elements makes dining experience more delightful and enjoyable. The most fundamental element of food and wine combination is to understand the balance between the weight of food and the weight of wine. Heavy wines like Cabernet Sauvignon may overpower light dish like a quiche. The light bodied wine such as Pinot Grigio would be overwhelmed by a hearty stew. Apart from weight, textures and flavors are also complemented or contrasted.

The old rule to have a white wine with fish or red wine with red meat may not be accepted today. The world has reached ahead and now people demand for new things and aren’t interested to stick to the stereotyped rules. There’s no hard and fast rule about matching wine or food. The pairing can be done according to your wish and you may even suggest new mix and match combinations.

You may make an attempt and match the food with wine in a way, that it may flavor the food in a better way. Wine in itself tastes a lot good with food. A good combination of these two elements, food and wine may bring out the nuances to enhance the flavors.

A great food and wine pairing may be achieved, in similarities and differences in their taste. But, it would be a good idea to pair food and wine.

Another important thing is that, while serving wines, it’s recommended to serve the lesser alcoholic wines first. It’s essential that you serve dry wines prior to the sweet flavored wines. Low alcohol wines may be served to guests before higher alcohol wines. You may have to balance the flavor intensities. This is an unique art and you may have to master them to get a great combination of wine and food.

When you pair the wines with food, you can consider the preparation of food and serve lighter wines with the steamed food. Wines that have strong alcohol can be paired with food that is sautéed, roasted or grilled.

You may also pair cheese with wine. In quite a few European countries, the best wine is kept aside for the cheese course. Also, red wine may make a great pair with gentle to sharp cheese and intensely flavored cheese may go well with sweet wine.

It’s better, if you taste the wine, before serving people, so that you may get an idea about the exact flavor.

wine-tasting-event

How to Throw a Wine Tasting Party

‘Taste more than one wine at a time, and taste with others’

Few days ago, my friend shared with me details about an enticing article, she had come across. It was about wine tasting party. Are you perplexed about the concept of wine tasting party? Well, let me share the concept with you. A wine tasting party is considered as a great way to share thoughts with a group of friends. In fact, it’s regarded to be a champion icebreaker topic.

Think about this. In case you taste a wine or two in a week, then your knowledge concerning wines may gradually develop. On the other hand, if you get an opportunity to taste many wines at once, you may get an idea of all the different wines existing on this planet. You may get a chance to taste wines, ranging from Australian to French Chardonnay and in a matter of few days, you may become an expert to speak about wine and you could expand your knowledge just by hearing, what others have to say about a particular wine.

Check this out, when you plan to throw a wine tasting party:

  • When you decide to hold a wine tasting party, send invitations to your friends to come and share their knowledge.
  • Choose a select group of friends, probably six. Select friends, who have relatively some knowledge about wines.
  • Prior to the party, make sure that you have a good number of red and white wine glasses, as it’s essential in a wine tasting party. To make your party look absolutely ethnic, decorate the glasses with many colors of silk ribbons and various charms to make them look alluring.
  • Decide on a theme. Let’s say to taste wines from one grape variety like Merlot, and compare Merlots from all over the world. You may choose to discuss this particular wine, its wine region, history and production. You may even decide to talk on a theme say,   ‘rose champagnes for Valentine’s Day’ or ‘white varieties you have never tasted before’.

Ask each friend to bring along one bottle of wine that suits the theme. Set a price range, so that your friends may buy wine bottles.

  • Have a good quantity of wine to taste and share. Normally one bottle of wine may serve ten tasting glasses. Keep a few additional bottles to drink after the wine tasting session is over. Remember the normal attitude of people is to enjoy again the wine, they have just tasted.
  • Now arrives the most awaited moment. Gear up to taste the exclusive range of wines. Initially, some of them may not like the taste of different wines. But, when the mood sets in, everyone may abandon the taste and just enjoy the party.
  • Food is the essential element of any party. It’s best, if you don’t offer food immediately, since wine tasting may require your senses to pick up flavors first. Food may distract your party. However, during the tasting sessions, you could offer appetizers.

At the end of the party discuss with everyone about their thoughts on the best wine. Whoever has brought the best winning wine, you could reward him/her with a gift of a wine corker. A wine tasting party may rejuvenate your mind and enhance your fun and delight to have acquired more knowledge on wines.

tasting-red-wine

Red Wine and its Varieties

Australia is the fourth largest wine producing country in the world and boasts of great quality wines from major producers like Foster Group, Constellation wines and so on. The red grapes of Australia are their greatest asset and the most cherished wine is Shiraz. With the abundance of sunshine in Australia, the grapes ripen perfectly to give that special taste to the Australian wine. It is believed, the warmer the wine region, the better the red wine. But, the cooler areas are also well suited for the lighter and delicate red wine. There are several mild climate regions that are home to Australian specialty of sparkling red wine popularly known as “Shiraz”.

Shiraz: Shiraz produced from the same grapes as Syrah in France’s Rhone Valley were imported in Australia in 1832. It prospered in the Australian turf and became a great source of high quality wines. The versatility it displays to transform depended on the region and its growth is something special. There are several elegant styles that have emerged because of the climate, like the elegant peppery cool climate style in Heathcote, Victoria to cull out intense flavors with a spicy style of Coonawarra and Margaret River, the powerful minty one from Clare Valley, sweet and chocolaty one of McLaren Vale and muscular ripe fruited of Barossa. There is no other variety, which can match the mulberry, spicy, slightly wild flavor of Australia’s Shiraz wine.

Barbera: Barbera and Sangiovese are the most welcoming choice of Australia’s Italian variety. Barbera is best suited for the country and its desirable fruitiness and can give a great taste, when grown in areas with hot climate.

Cabernet Franc: It is a bit lighter in style than Shiraz but with a cherry and wild strawberry fruitiness and makes for a great drink for the warmer weather.

Cabernet Sauvignon: It is considered the best wine from the noblest red grapes and has   found a place as an old world classic wine. Found generally in medium to cool regions, the wine is powerfully flavored and blackcurranty. In regions Margaret River and Coonawarra, it is at its minty best. Victoria’s Yarra Valley is also home to some good wine producers with a pure fruited elegance. South Australia’s McLaren Vale and Mudgee of New South Wales are popular for their berry characters with a tinge of chocolate. These wines, if stored in the cellar for one or two years can get immensely rich and well matured.

Grenache: This red grape variety of Rhone is as popular as Shiraz for juicy rose and the fiery fortified wines. With some old vines as old as first planted 150 year ago, the growers have come to realize its potential, as the most delicious cherry and raspberry filled wines. They are famous for the sweet ripeness and with a high alcohol level and low tannin would warm you to the toes.

Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir wine is known to throw a challenge to growers in any part of the world and have been highly successful in the coolest regions like Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Yarra Valley and the Great Southern Australia. The best wines are known to be the ones produced from vines that have not been heavily harvested and from those given a gentle maturation in oak barrels.

Pink or Rose Wines: These rose style wines are popular, as they are best consumed, when chilled on a warm Aussie day. These wines are made red grapes which are pressed and some juice is left in contact with the skins for some time to give it a pink blush. They taste best, when fresh and vibrant.

There are several red wine varieties like Mourvedre, Merlot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Zinfandel that have a cult following of their own. The wine scene changes constantly and you will find several varieties emerging and produced by Australian wineries.

food_and_fine_wine

Have You Tasted These Rare Australian Wines

The flourishing pace of Australia is making it the most happening country in the world. There are many aspects that add to its popularity and one of them is the rare and variety of Australian wines being introduced in the market. There’s no doubt that it’s truly a tasting element that allures your taste buds sipping Australian wines. Over a hundred new varieties of grapes are being used for wines, and some of the names were unheard off till a few years back.

All around Australia new varieties are being trailed in the vineyards. The new brands are rapidly coming in the mainstream of the country’s wondrous wine spread of varieties like Sangiovese, Pinot grigio and Viognier.

Have you heard of Aligote wine? Well, this is said to be a white wine variety, mainly from the Burgundy region. Almost all the white wine in Burgundy is made from something known as Chardonnay. But, in case the weather is warm or sunny, then Aligote may produce good white wine. It blends well with Chardonnay, where it adds acidity to the wine.

You may find another brand of rare French wine known as Petit Meslier. In fact, this variety of wine is found very rarely in Australia. This is known to be a vague variety from Champagne, that’s used to add acidity to the base wines.

Another genre of wine is made from a unique variety that can be found in the Swan Valley Region of Western Australia. These Cynge Blanc grapes are currently grown in the Limestone coast region of South Australia. It is believed to have originated from a Cabernet sauvignon seedling. However, these grapes are white and not black. Using these and other variety of grapes, wine is produced by the Mann Winery.

In addition, the Cleggett winery situated in the Langhorne Creek region is home to two unusual grape varieties, both of which developed as sports of Cabernet Sauvignon vines and Malian, known to be a bronze colored grape, which are mainly used for the purpose to make a rose style wine. Another sport of the variety is known as Shalistin. This type is considered to be pure white and is used to prepare a dry white wine.

In fact, the CSIRO has developed many kinds of wine by crossing the European varieties and   selecting the best that may suit Australian conditions. A red wine called Cienna is a variety that’s helpful in the preparation of light styles. Another red wine variety is known to be Tyrian that’s also bred by CSIRO. It makes a deep red colored wine. In Western Australia, Howard Park Winery planted some vines, as they thought it was an Italian variety called Sangiovese. However, the vines turned out to be another type known as Carnelian.

Yet another rare Bordeaux variety is St Macaire. It’s a type of red wine variety and is used by the West End Estate in the Riverina. To find a exact name for a wine may not be easy and many a times, it becomes impossible. Rimfire Vineyards in Queensland seem to have an unidentified white wine collection that is being used by them to make a dry white. Their consistent attempts to match it with recognized named varieties have failed and hence they sell the wine with number 1893 on the label. This year actually depicts establishment of the block of vines, where the grapes are grown.

Apart from this, there are quite a few more Australian wines that are used by just a handful of wineries. But, many of these wines still remain in the dark with their names unknown, but however they may contribute to the pleasure of more audacious wine lovers.

wine-and-food-pairing

The Tricky Art of Choosing Wine and Food Pairings

Generally, people love to have a glass of wine to go with their meals. But, very few of us actually know, what food go with certain wines. You have to really find a classic wine to complement your food or vice versa. It is also known as pairing of the food and wine.

For instance, we often mismatch a strong wine with a delicate cuisine. It is important to give a fine balance. Acidic wines would go very well with oily foodstuffs, fish items and cream sauces. Whereas tart wines usually complement sharp foods.

But, the pairing is also about personal choice. Every person has individual and unique tastes. But, it is best to get some idea about wine and food pairings for a memorable and pleasurable experience. Generally, Champagne wines go well with starters or appetizers. You can follow it with white wines for your light foods and salads. Heavy main meal courses call for red wines and a port wine may be the best way to end your meal along with a delicious dessert.

Some of the wines and food pairings

  • Chablis: These wines are dry and steely. Chablis is produced in Northern France vineyards with mostly unripe grapes. Therefore, their mineral quality is enhanced giving it a sharp crispy flavor. You can enjoy Chablis with sea foods like crab, fish and lobsters or complement the wine with meat dishes.
  • Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a typical full flavored white wine. It retains its oak like and fruity flavor. Some of the Chardonnay wine flavors include apple, vanilla, lemon and pineapple. You can enjoy Chardonnay with full bodied foods, which are roasted or grilled. White meals like pork and chicken go very well with Chardonnay. It is best to avoid foods like beef, tuna fish and tomatoes, while having Chardonnay wines.
  • Port: Port wine has high alcohol content and some of the quality port wines include vintage port, tawny port and ruby port. They all are fruit based and have brandy content. Port wine is a typical after dinner wine and you may choose to have it with your chocolate dessert or even with cigars.

While having wine, it is essential to balance the flavors. Mild wines should be necessarily matched with mild foods, while a flavored steak may go well with a Red Zinfandel wine. And a rich Chardonnay wine will best complement rich foods that are made in creams and sauces. Similarly, an acidic wine will be a healthy complement to acidic food items like lobster with tangy lemon or spicy tomato sauce.

Wines with more tannin content are produced by including the grape skin, while making the wines. It also includes the taste of the wood barrel that has helped the wine mature into a vintage quality wine. The crisp astringent flavor of tannin is known to be a good refreshing drink and reports suggest that these wines actually help prevent coronary heart related ailments.

So, hope you enjoy your wine with some excellent gourmet food that complements one another in the right way!

red-wine-with-food

Music, Food, Red Wine and You

A romantic and musical dinner cuisine is never complete without rich and sparkling wine bottle. And it is all the more better, if it’s sipping with lustrous red wine. The fabulous red wine is very popular in Western and European countries. The rich red color comes from grape skin.

The heavenly taste of quality red wines increases with time, albeit you have to store it very carefully, to improve the taste. Usually red wine is made with red, purple or black grapes. The color quality depends on the fermentation procedure. Red wine is generally served in warm climatic condition, in a mild cooled form. Red wines are more costly than other kind of wines. Red wines are often classified according to its tannin nature and astringent taste.

Types of Red Wines:

Common types of red wine flavors include plum, cherry, strawberry, currant, raisin, pepper, raisin, fig, clove, coffee, cinnamon, toast, smoke, and so on. Some of the high tannin flavored red wines are Bordeaux wines and Italian Super Tuscan. Light bodied red wines are more like a soft drink with minimal alcohol content.

To enjoy your red wine, it is important that you have a beautiful glass to complement the wine. Typical red wine glasses are wide and short. It is better to have wider glasses for red wines, as the delicious flavor of red wine can be improved, if it is allowed to oxidize. Red wine should not be refrigerated, but served at normal room temperature. Chilled red wines are very bitter to taste. So, just swirl your red wine and get the real pleasure of it.

Italian red wine is different and unique from other red wines, due to its sharp taste and color. Usually, Italian red wines are sweeter and can be sipped anytime during the day. You do not have to limit your drinking only for meal times. Italian red wines are given their respective names, after the place from where they are produced. Examples of popular Italian red wines are Barolo and Piedmont wines.

Health Benefits of Red Wine:

Red wine is said to be really good for your health. It helps to lower bad cholesterol levels in human body. To maintain healthy heart and body, it is advised that you have an occasional sip of red wine, every other day. French citizens are known for their voracious appetite, and as an antidote, they also drink healthy red wine to counter balance the ill effects.

Consuming red wine is suggested to have possible health benefits. Scientific studies indicate that the polyphenols that are present in red wines acts as an effective antioxidant. They help the body to control the harmful free radicals in human body, and protect from dangerous diseases like heart ailments and cancer.

Red wine is rich in polyphenols ingredients, such as resverstrol and catechins. These chemicals are found in red wines. New health chemical called saponins have also been discovered in red wines. No wonder, doctors recommend people to have an occasional sip of red wine for health reasons.

wine-tasting

The Art of Wine Tasting

People around the world thinks, to taste wine is a simple process and assume that it consists to just sip, swish and swallow. But, many are surprised to know that there’s actually more to wine tasting. We can say that to taste wine is an art in its own self. It’s mainly used to distinguish the taste of fine wines.

Firstly, if you wish to taste wine, then begin with swishing. Has it ever strike you, as to why tasters swish their wine around their mouths? They do it mainly to understand the taste. Your front and back areas of the tongue have taste buds and these actually help to recognize the taste of the wine. Hence, to get the correct taste from your wine, you are required to swish it around your mouth and permit your taste buds and sense of smell to bring out the distinguished and fine flavors in the wine.

However, when you have cold wine, it may taste differently. The specialized aroma nerves in your nose are responsible to identify the smell. The greatest wine connoisseurs follow some typical ‘guidelines’, when they judge a wine. When you taste your wine, your sense of smell has a great impact on your taste. Many fail to accept the fact that over 75% of our taste is because of our sense of smell. Make sure you concentrate on the smell and not just be impatient to taste the wine.

Wine tasting is indeed an art. Some techniques are followed by wine tasters and this may also help you the next time, you think about tasting your wine.

Basically, what you may do is look at the wine, as you may tell quite a bit just by looking at the wine. The next is to pour the wine in a glass and take a few minutes to observe the color. Often you may be perplexed, when it comes to the color of a wine. For instance, white wines are not white, but they are green, brown or even yellow. In addition, the color of red wine may not be red, but a pale red to a deep brown red. Moreover, red wines may get better with age and white wines may stale with age. Hence, the color of wine may actually vary tremendously, even within the similar kind of wine.

We have already talked about the importance of smell, while tasting a wine. Well, it has to be performed in two easy steps. Initially, begin with a brief smell to get the general idea of the wine and then go on to take deep, long smells. The deeper smell may allow you to take in the flavor of the wine. The more experienced wine connoisseurs actually sit back and think a while about the smell, before they may taste it.

Now comes the much awaited moment, to taste the wine. This is the correct time for you to swish, sip and swallow the wine. When you swish the wine around your mouth, you may experience the bold and rich flavors of the wine. The imperative quality of wine is the way it balances between acidity and sweetness. The initial taste awakens the senses of a wine consumer and after swallowing, you may seem lost in the overall flavor of the wine.

After you have looked, smelled and finally tasted the wine, you may be in a position to evaluate the wine, from the viewpoint of a taster. This may be the simplest way to determine the wine and recognize, if the wine has aged or properly stored. After all, the more you taste wine, the better you may be to distinguish its unique flavors.

decanting

How to Decant Wine

Decanting wine is the process of pouring the wine from its original bottle into another container. That could be any carafe, a fancy crystal decanter, or even a mason jar if you’re down-home country. But what is the purpose of this?

Far back in history, decanting wine was a method of pouring only the clear wine out, leaving the naturally-occurring sediment behind in the bottle. This was an issue because wine was sold unfiltered. You might still encounter the occasional unfiltered bottle, for instance in the case of full-body reds that are aged more than ten years, or in vintage ports that have some sediment as a natural side effect.

The second purpose, which remains relevant today, is to let the wine breathe. Now, too much oxygen is bad for wine; there’s a reason so much care is taken with sealing the bottle. But a little air exposure helps to soften and mellow the flavor. This is especially the case with high-tannin wines and heavy wines. Decanting doesn’t do as much for delicate reds like Pinot Noir, or zesty whites like Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, but it does benefit fuller bodied reds and whites, especially those with oaky tones.

In short, you should consider decanting for: Cabernet Sauvignons, Zinfandels, Barolos, Bordeauxs, Chardonnays, and Shiraz. It serves much the same function as swirling the wine around in a glass does; it opens up the wine and allows it to attain its peak potential taste and nose.

Start about half an hour before you will be enjoying the wine. open the bottle and pour it into your chosen vessel. You don’t have to pour it a certain way or anything, this is just regular pouring. Stop every few ounces and take a test: pour just a swallow into a glass and taste it. You should be able to tell the difference between the first sip and the last, by which time you’ve poured all of the bottle.

Another factor at play here is the alcohol; alcohol has weight. Weighing more than other liquids, more alcohol tends to sink to the bottom. This isn’t to say that the wine separates, but simply that the majority of alcohol in wine will tend to settle more in the bottom. Decanting also ensures that the whole wine is even throughout. Very much the same physics are at play here as in layered cocktail drinks, which work because different liquors have different densities.

If you’re pouring off a bottle with sediment, the process is a little trickier. First, you should have always stored the bottle on its side, which prevents the cork from drying out and oxidizing the wine. A full day before you intend to open the wine, stand the bottle on its end to allow the sediment to go to the bottom. Now as you pour into the decanter, go slowly and deliberately – do not stop, or you’ll mix the sediment into the rest of the wine. Keep pouring until you see sediment come up the side of the bottle’s neck, then throw the rest away.

Some wines are a matter of taste. So decanting the wine is the kind of thing you only do if you’re really into wine. Any bottle you buy off the shelf at the store is both too filtered to have sediment and too young to be worth the bother of breathing it, so you probably don’t want to bother. But if you’re the kind to buy wines up to six months in advance of opening them, you’re definitely in decanter territory there!