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Hosting a Holiday Wine Tasting? Learn How to Pair Food and Wine

Posted by Melissa on 12/3/2013 to Hosting a Wine Tasting
Celebrations are special times for family and friends. People enjoy getting together and sharing meals, which may include dishes that they do not normally eat during the course of the year. Some people may agree that special foods require special beverages; however, there is no reason to wait for a momentous occasion to enjoy the right wine with your meal.

Many are aware of one of the most common wine pairing rules; that is, drink white wine with fish and red wine with meat. Of course, for every rule, there is an exception. In this case, if you have a personal preference, you should go for it. The wine police will not come after you if they catch you sipping white wine with your prime rib.

If you are hosting a wine tasting or gathering, you might want to consider some of these suggestions, which may vary depending upon what you serve.

If you are serving a variety of appetizers, you may want to offer several wine choices. If you were serving antipasto, your best wine pairings would be white wines that are slightly dry. For example, a Pinot Gris or Riesling would serve as excellent matches. A Chardonnay is a perfect match for crudités. Because Chardonnay usually works well as a "go-to" white wine, it is an appropriate choice on those occasions when you aren't sure what to serve.

What do you serve with poultry? Fortunately, there are a number of choices. It may be best to serve at least one red and one white in order for people to indulge their preferences. Try Pinot Noir for your red and Vin Gris for your white. If you want to add a third choice that is a bit on the sweeter side, a Zinfandel is sure to please! While these wines serve as baseline pairings, you might be surprised to learn that a light-bodied red such as Pinot Noir can serve as your "go-to" red wine for most occasions.

Lamb is a popular holiday dish; however, it can be tricky to pair with any wine because of its bold taste. A full-bodied meat deserves an equally full-bodied wine; therefore, a Merlot would make a perfect match. If you want to serve a white wine, be sure it is not too sweet.

Either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will pair nicely with red meat because both are full-bodied. For less intense flavor, a Zinfandel would work nicely. If you are in a celebratory mood, try a sparkling wine.

You do not have to pair seafood with white wine. In fact, many shellfish choices taste delicious with Merlot or Pinot Noir. Enjoy your raw bar with sparkling wine, Chardonnay or Riesling, and pair your salmon with a delicious Pinot Noir. Sake is a fine match for sushi and sashimi.

Although the suggestions here are not engraved in stone, they should provide a suitable framework for pairing wine with food for almost any occasion. The one rule you should always follow is to drink what you like.
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