Picture this – a wonderfully sunny day with the perfect temperature, blue skies, at a cottage by a beach, sitting on the patio as the sun sets, immersing yourself in succulent light fare for dinner with friends. On the table are perfectly barbecued meats, possibly some bread, a salad but definitely some wine. There is hardly a social gathering without wine, is there?
Thought to be as old as 6000 BC, wine has come a long way. Part of it , unfortunately is associated with the “frou frouness ” of tasting. Wine writers everywhere have written over and over again that it is just fine to drink what you like and yet with the class of sommeliers, oenologists, wine clubs & vintners, it becomes this self-confidence shaking unnecessarily over hyped experience.
Yes, it is true that if you picked a barolo to go with a meal of a light flaky fish, the taste of the barolo will over power it. The rule of thumb is to stick light with light, full bodied with heavier, meatier dishes. Pick a wine that complements the natural flavor of the food in front of you. If you know what wine went into making the dish, drink the same wine. If a bordeaux was used in the beef bourguignon then drink a bordeaux with it. Think about whether the food you are about to eat is spicy – like Indian or chinese food, more often than not this kind of food will overpower the taste of the wine. It is best to stick to beer in such cases but a spicy and dry wine like a Gewürztraminer works well. Geography can help make decisions easier too, if you are about to eat pasta, stick to the Italian section of your wine list, it narrows down your decision by that much. If all else fails there is nothing wrong in asking your waiter/waitress for a suggestion – ofcourse this only works in places that are not your local TGI Fridays or Applebees.
Wine was made to enjoy, to relish, to savor – strip away the excess and it will leave you with a smooth finish.