Newest Review: ... before then presenting it for drinking. The different type of grape determines what type of wine you are having, with an often slight chan... more
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Wine in general
Member Name: pmcds
Wine in general
Advantages: Wonderful exploring what you like
Disadvantages: Can be an expensive habit!
The most common question I receive about wine from a restaurant perspective is which wine would go with which dish, and while restaurant do often choose their wines according to their menu, it's very easy to get too clinical and detailed in the lingo and not focus on the main thing when it comes to wine: what do YOU like?
It's inevitable that what is perfect for one person can be another's least favourite, and personal taste certainly is everything in a wine, so whether you're looking for a wine on the shelves to drink on its own, or whether you're out for dinner at a swanky restaurant and the sommelier comes across and tries to recommend something for you, just make sure you choose something you want to go for as opposed to what everyone else might be having.
Wine is creating by crushing and fermenting grapes, and then storing it under controlled conditions before then presenting it for drinking. The different type of grape determines what type of wine you are having, with an often slight change of flavour depending on where that particular grape is grown. There has been a meteoric rise in modern wine countries (mainly southern hemisphere) joining the traditional wine producers (mainly northern hemisphere), with australian, south african and new zealand wine producers taking traditional grape varieties and growing them on their own soil, often developing a completely new blend of wine and therefore renaming the type of wine.
It's often handy to know what you're looking at though, and while the flavour and fruitiness of a white wine is often what determines choice, it's usually how 'heavy' and full of body a red wine is that decides this choice. Rose is almost always down to personal choice and I find it hard to expand the ranges of this middle blend.
Reds are usually my favourite. I love the Spanish grape Rioja, the heat of Spain allowing fast growing and smooth taste once the grapes are turned into wine. A light Pinot Noir is also a firm favourite of mine. If I'm eating beef then a heavier grape such as an Argentinian Malbec is often a good call, while the even heavier Cabernet Sauvignon (most common and therefore most affordable) is good for most things as long as you're aware that the heaviness of this may overpower some foods. Really with reds it's about how the heaviness affects the balance between wine and food, while drinking it without food goes completely down to personal taste.
Whites rely heavily on flavour and the body isn't such a huge factor. A fruit and flowery Pinot Grigio, for example (as common as Cab Sauv) will accompany most dishes with delicate flavours, while a heavier Sauvignon Blanc (note the Sauvignon grape is the common element in heaviness) would accompany a stronger dish such as pork main dish. Chardonnay is another common variety and is good to drink on its own, while I find that quite a lot of whites go much better if your palate has some food to tickle its taste buds as well. It softens the approach of the wine.
Rose isn't really a wine I'm a fan of. A heavy and dry French Bordeaux Rose can be a treat, although the most common is by far and away a White Zinfandel, and can be a bit sweeter and a lot easier to quaff.
Either way, whichever wine you choose, it's always a good idea to work out which grape you enjoy and have a look for this when you go shopping. If in doubt, ask for some details. Most supermarkets have cards that explain heaviness and taste, and you'll soon get to know which grapes are working with which foods or solo drinking times. As I said, it's nearly always down to personal taste. Restaurants will match what works 9 times out of 10, but if you're the 1 exception, then make sure you go for what you actually want.
Summary: Wine is down to personal taste, but suggestions can be very useful