Wine makes everything taste better. The right wine, that is. The wrong wine pairing negates the flavor of your food and disrupts the complex progression of the wine’s notes. Try these easy pairings for a sophisticated upgrade to your snacking.
Merlot is on the sweeter end of the red wine spectrum. It still has the depth that one expects from a red wine, but it is more of a people-pleaser than heavier reds are. You can serve this wine to a group and feel comfortable that most of them will like it. This is a great wine to serve with beef appetizers or finger foods. If you’re setting out platters of meatballs or beef taquitos, merlot is the way to go.
Chardonnay is the people-pleaser. It goes down easily and has a light flavor that makes it incredibly versatile. If you have to pick just one wine to serve at a multi-course meal, chardonnay is a strong contender. Even people who don’t typically drink wine can kick back with one or two glasses of chardonnay. It’s the wine you drink when you don’t know what else to drink. It works well with almost anything, but it’s an especially good match for mild fare like chicken or fish.
Cabernet is heavier and overall darker than Merlot. It pairs beautifully with savory red meats like steak. A sweeter wine would distort your palate overwhelm the tang of the steak. Some companies, like JJ Buckley Fine Wines, know that a nice Cabernet lets the steak take center stage. The strong, bitter base notes lead into tart fruits, which complement the meat without competing with it.
Riesling is a wild card. It’s a very sweet wine that stays just on the right side of syrupy. If you’re not careful, you can drink it as quickly and freely as you would drink juice. This is the wine you drink with fruit, fancy seafood or even dessert. The apple notes amplify cakes and ice cream. The surprisingly robust base notes go well with cheese and starchy snacks such as bruschetta. If you’re day drinking and don’t have a taste for sangria or margaritas, give Riesling a try.
Choosing the right wine to go with your food is a minor art form. Just because you like a certain wine doesn’t mean it will taste good with the food you’re about to eat. Take note of your favorite things about your favorite food and opt for the wine that lets those qualities come through clearly.