Picking the Right Wine

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated January 30, 2013)

The selection of wine is an art and one that requires skill and experience. If you're having wine with your meal, especially if it's a more formal occasion, you want that wine to complement your meal perfectly because the wrong wine can ruin a meal. You don't have to be an aficionado to select a great wine. Start with some basics and if you find you have an affinity for wine, then feel free to delve more into that labyrinth world of wine.

The basic rule to follow is to have light wines (such as a white wine) with lighter meals and heavier wines (like a red wine) with heavier meals. You don't want the food to overpower the wine and you don't want the wine to overpower the food—there needs to be a good balance between food and wine. The wine isn't just a beverage—it's part of the meal and even if you're a beginner it is possible to make a wise decision. You should also keep in mind your guests and your own personal preference; you shouldn't buy something you don't like yourself!

Much of picking the right wine comes with experience as well. The more you cook and have wine with your meals, the more you'll be able to pick what tastes best and your wine-choosing judgment will improve. Like with most everything else, picking the right wine becomes perfect with practice!

Here are a few basic tips to get you started:

  • With steak a merlot wine usually goes well.
  • Seafood tastes good with a well chosen Chardonnay.
  • Try a white Chardonnay or a red Sangiovese with your Caesar salad.

So regardless of whether you're a wine expert or a sheer novice you still can pick the right wine for whatever occasion. Follow these simple guidelines and you'll get off on the right foot. After you have a bit more experience, the choosing will become easier and your palate will become refined!

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