Setting up your Home Bar
If you’re interested in setting up a home bar you will need to know about the basic tools for comple...
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How to Serve and Pair Wines

Determining which wine to serve with various dishes can be somewhat daunting. It is a known fact that some wines naturally go better with certain types of food. Each compliments the other, allowing the best flavors to be better appreciated.

If you are serving Italian dishes such as lasagna, spaghetti and pastas a dry red wine is always a good choice. Opt for a Chianti or dry Burgundy. Be aware when purchasing these types of wines that Italian wines are usually not as sweet as domestic Chiantis. Either way, this type of wine should be served at room temperature. It’s a good idea to open the bottle about half an hour before dinner. For best taste, pour glasses ten or fifteen minutes before serving.

When serving light chicken entrees or seafood, choose white wine. Pinot Chardonnay and Chablis are good choices. Remember to serve this type of wine well chilled. It should not be opened until right before you plan to serve it.

When serving veal, pork and casseroles you can mix it up a little. Light reds and whites both work well. Good choices include Chianti, Bordeau Banc or a good Rhine. When serving red wine, open it 30 minutes before the meal, served at room temperature. White wines should be served chilled, of course.

Spicy foods such as Creole dishes and barbecue call for a good dry rose wine. Cabert Sauvignon works well. Light red wines should be served slightly chilled and should be opened right before serving.

For heavy stews and roasts choose a wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Burgundies, Cabernets and Zinfandels also work well. These wines should be served at room temperature, opened 30 minutes before the meal and poured ten minutes before serving. These wines also work well with strong cheeses.
If you’re planning to serve ham, you can serve either red or white wine. Good white choices include Riesling and Gewurztaminer while Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are both good red wine selections.

Planning to dish up a tasty turkey? Once again red and white wines can be used. Good white choices here include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Red selections include Beajolais Nouveau, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

Goose calls for either a Red Burgundy or a white Chardonnay.
When it comes to desert sweet regional wines that have been well aged are a good choice. Look for Spanish Sherry or Port from Portugal. Both of these wines should be served at room temperature. Because the alcohol content is typically higher than in regular wines they should be served in small portions. A little is a lot is the general rule of thumb.

While it can be somewhat difficult to find a wine to pair with chocolates or chocolate desserts it can be done. The trick is in making sure the right wine is paired with the right kind of chocolate. Not all chocolates and wines mix well. Always aim for serving a wine that is at least as sweet as the chocolate you are serving. Lighter chocolates should be served with lighter wines. Along the same rule, serve stronger wines with stronger chocolates.

When serving white chocolate, select a wine such as Sherry. Milk chocolate calls for a wine such as Pinot Noir or a light Merlot. These wines will also go well with deserts such as chocolate mousse or chocolate cheesecake. Dark chocolates on the other hand require a wine that is somewhat bitter. Zinfandels work very well with dark chocolate. Cabernets are also a nice selection.

Finally, keep in mind that wines should be served in a specific order whenever possible. For example, dry wines should ideally be served before sweet wines. In addition, try to server wines with lower alcohol contents prior to wines with more alcohol. If you reverse this rule, the low alcohol content wines may taste watery. Opt for sparkling wines before still wines. Select sparkling wines such as champagne to serve prior to a meal in order to clean the palate as well as stimulate the appetite. You can also serve them after the main course.

Whenever possible, offer younger wines before older wines. Older wines make a good choice for main courses. Light wines should be served before full-bodied wines. This is true of both white wines and red wines.

It’s also important to keep in mind that wines should never be paired with foods that are sweeter than the drink. This is why sweet wines are best reserved for dessert.
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