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Like fashion, wine and food pairings are an individual choice. There are no absolutes, but it is important that all your fabulous guests are having a bunch of fun! You also want to give your guests a new experience. The first step is to encourage them to try visualizing where they taste the food and wine on their tongue.
Take it a step further by playing an innovative party game that gets your guests to see and taste wine in a new way by taking a spin with the Wine Aroma Wheel. Developed by Ann Noble at the University of California-Davis, the Wheel is considered the first standard descriptive language for wine. Remember, fruit of the vine is divine and should not overpower the food. Keep in mind an open bottle of red or white wine can keep fresh by re-corking and storing in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. When you plan a meal, start with delicate flavors and work towards heavier tastes as it builds. For this reason, serve lighter wines at the beginning of a meal before moving toward full-bodied wines later.
In case you ever ask yourself how to match a wine to an occasion not just a recipe, the task can be overwhelming. Whether it’s a wedding anniversary, dinner at a colleague’s home, girls’ night out, holiday feast or tapas night, selecting the perfect wine for that special moment beckons for help.
Wine & Occasion Pairing General Guide
Brachetto d’Acqui is a caramel pink, light-bodied Italian Sparkling wine bursting with sweet strawberry notes that best compliments dark chocolates and fruit-infused truffles.
Champagne’s effervescent sexiness best compliments berries and anything salty and nutty.
Cabernet Sauvignon, like a timeless business suit, is fabulous with rich and juicy red meat recipes.
Chardonnay, the “LBD” of wines, compliments fatty seafood and creamy sauce recipes.
Four Friends, $40 Pasta Night
Chianti/Sangiovese with its Tuscan-Italian designer grape best seduces saucy ragu pasta recipes.
Merlot/Bordeaux with its luxurious texture adds to highly flavored foods including barbecue grilled meats and vegetables.
Pinot Grigio with its well-worn comfy factor works well with light fish, simple seafood recipes and goat cheese salads.
Pinot Noir with its ultimate food pairing abilities best compliments mild, even, earthy flavors and soups including recipes with tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes.
Alsatian Rieslings with its dash of sugar and light spring floral notes pair refreshingly well with many brunch recipes as well as sweet and spicy Thai-inspired food.
Neighborhood Potluck Party
Rioja/Tempranillo like a sassy and sexy accessory dresses up burgers and best compliments Spanish cuisine.
Sauvignon Blanc, a year-round sunshine in a bottle winner, adds crisp freshness to seafood dishes and tart citrus sauce recipes.
Syrah with its smoking red-hot lips best compliments spicy recipes including many Spanish, Latin and Persian dishes.
Zinfandels, the robust powerhouse within the family of reds, pair nicely with sultry terrines and party pâtés.
WINE & CHEESE PAIRING PARTY
Yes, you heard it through the grapevine! It’s hard to find those that don’t like wine and those that don’t LOVE cheese! This hands-down party winner is fun and fuss-free any night of the year. Sharing nibbles with family and friends is one of the greatest ceremonies of all—so set the table for a Mediterranean celebration of cheese, olives, artisan crackers, breads and wine. These savory bites are a delight enjoyed one at a time, but their real pleasure begins when you welcome them as the essentials of entertaining fun.
Winning Cheese and Wine Pairings
Be sure to buy your cheeses no more than a day in advance to ensure freshness. Remember to unwrap your cheeses an hour earlier to allow them to come to room temperature.
Get creative! Once you have selected a few cheeses and wines to serve, display them on a marble slab or wooden board for a more artisanal set-up. Decorate each cheese with a porcelain cheese label for added ambient. The markers are a lovely and creative way to identify cheese varieties and their accompanying wines on your cheese board. After writing in the cheese and wine name, the ink will dry, won’t smear, and easily washes up with soap and water. Your guests will appreciate the education too.
If you have the space, use it to your advantage with this elegant bucolic presentation. Simply fabulous!
Noshes, Nibbles & Palate Cleansers
To best compliment your cheese selection, serve a variety of fruits, breads and crackers.
I almost forgot…don’t forget your camera and most importantly, remember to raise your glass, smile and say cheese!