Jan 29: Wine is undoubtedly one of the most popular drinks in the world that pairs with several dishes but it can also be confusing because of numerous styles and price ranges making it difficult to select the right wines for the meal. Our guest writer Beatrice Beard tries to unravel the mystery and guides our readers how to go about choosing a wine even if it means buying the cheapest wine on the Menu in a restaurant or a wine shop
Wine is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks all around the world. One of the elemental parts of the Mediterranean diet, its appeal knows no bounds. It has a role as a pre-dinner drink, a drink to be paired with just about any meal that you can imagine - a drink to suit dessert, a drink with chocolate, with cheese, with steak, with chicken, with anything really. It can also be a romantic drink, or a fun drink. The possibilities are limitless.
One thing that is limitless about wine (or just about) is just how many varieties there are. Countries all across the globe produce wine of all different varieties, from classic reds to dessert wines. From Moldova to Napa Valley, there are literally ‘over a million’ different wine companies globally producing their own spin of the drink produced from the 3,000 known and discovered varieties of wine grapes that exist; almost 10,000 varieties are estimated to exist.
It’s easy to get completely lost and muddled in amongst all of this (particularly if you’ve already had a few glasses!). So, when it comes to that fateful moment of ordering wine, or picking wine out at the shop for your home-cooked meal, what should you do? Having a fluid response to either situation can look really impressive, whilst getting utterly tongue-twisted will have your date wondering if they made the right decision. If you really panic, you may spend way too much money on something you’re not even sure you’ll like. Below, I have some tips for making your decision.
The Types of Wine
In general, I’ve found that there are usually eight common types of wine that fall across the two main categories: red and white. Amongst the most famous and easily identifiable wines are Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, all white wines, and Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, all of which are red wines.
The scale for white wines is from light to dry, the Riesling being lightest and the Chardonnay being most dry. Dry means it has no sugar left over, from being fermented for so long, so it doesn’t taste remotely sweet. For reds, it is a question of light- bodied to full-bodied. Here the Pinot Noir is the most light bodied whilst the Cabernet Sauvignon is fullest. This refers to overall strength.
Great! With that technical information out of the way, it’s time to actually choose. When you don’t really know what’s best, you want to give yourself crutches to lean on. In general, you’re most likely going to be eating whilst drinking wine. So, you use that as a crutch – you can pair the wine to match your planned meal. I have some general guidance below:
For red meat, like beef and game, you need a competitive red, meaning something bold or at least medium bodied. Try Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Syrahs for a beverage that’s guaranteed to taste amazing with your meal.
For white meat you want a medium to light red or even, if you prefer, a strong, dry white. Try Pinot Noir for a red or Chardonnay for white, depending on which type of wine you or your date prefer to drink.
For fish you always want white, normally something strong like the Chardonnay. You can also have champagne, though. These will match this meal for sure.
Finally for vegetarians, in most cases you want a dry white again. Not as strong as the Chardonnay necessarily, something more like the Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio, to bring out the flavor of the vegetables.
Here’s a crazy statistic: over 50% of diners go for the second least expensive wine on the list. Obviously, restaurants have picked up on this psychological phenomenon and have made adjustments to their menus accordingly. Don’t order the second least expensive. You might as well go for the cheapest wine that suits your meal or your preference if you don’t want to spend more. Other than this little peculiarity, the general rule is that the more you pay the better it will be. Sorry, but that’s just how life is sometimes. At least this rule is easy to remember.
With this knowledge, the rest is just confidence. Take your time, remember your pairings and always know ahead of time the most you’re willing to spend. There’s really no shame in getting the cheapest wine. If it’s a decent establishment, it will usually be pretty good anyway. Just, don’t get any wine under $7. A nice glass of water will do you more good in that instance.
Beatrice is a professional copywriter at OriginWritings and AcademicBrits specializing in food and lifestyle literature. She is considered a wonderful resource in her work at PhdKingdom, where she gives advice to beginner writers uncovering all the peculiarities of creating content that sells. The views expressed are her own-editor
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