Let me just start by saying, I'm no sommelier....not by a LONG shot! But I do know what I like and I do have a 'Wine Guy' at my local liquor store who has yet to steer me wrong! When he sees me walk in, he rubs his hands together and says, 'Ooooo....what are we making tonight?'!!
I do know some basics though and perhaps the easiest cuisine to pair wine with, at least in my opinion, is Italian. If it's salty such as with a parmesan dish like fettucine alfredo, go with a merlot. If its a tomato dish you're serving, your safest bet is a pinot noir or a valpolicella. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand is marvelous with most seafood dishes.
A common misconception is red with red meat, white with white meat. Consider your protein, yes, but considering your seasonings is much more important. If your recipe calls for wine, use the same varietal as you will serve with the finished dish. (Seems like a no brainer when you read it, doesn't it?).
Other than that, drink what you enjoy! Try different kinds of wine, from different countries and regions, and hey - get your own Wine Guy! He'll sure to be a wealth of information!
Here are some of the wines hubby and I have tried, in no particular order:
No. 99 Wayne Gretzky Estates Cabernet Merlot - a surpringly enjoyable wine to share a bottle (or two) with friends (approx. $18.50)
Rodrigues Cranberry - excellent with turkey (approx. $14.50)
Beringer California Collection White Zinfandel - one of my mom's favorites, a semi-sweet rose (approx. $13.00)
Mark West California Pinot Noir excellent with steak (approx. $20.00)
Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Noir - suggested at a steak house we went to, very, very nice with a steak dinner (approx. $25.00)
Salvalai Valpollicella Classico - smooth, very nice with tomato based pasta dishes (approx. $19.00)
Bolla Valpolicella - a long time favorite of mine with tomato based pasta dishes (approx. $15.50)
Masi Campofiorin - One of my husband's favorites (approx. $22.50)
Grand Theatre Bordeaux Red - A very nice, inexpensive bordeaux (approx. $13.50)
Placido Chianti - I love it! A beautiful sipping wine! (approx. $15.50)
Stoeffer Riesling 2007 - A really nice Alsatian wine that pairs beautifully with Stephen's Russian Borscht! (approx. $21.00)
Massena Epsilon Barossa - A pleasant Australian shiraz that works particularly well with filet mignon (approx. $25.00)
Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio Tuscano - A really nice Tuscan pinot grigio - excellent with Mama Mia Fettucine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken! (approx. $25.00)
La Fiole du Pape Chateauneuf - A special occasion wine, perhaps for celebrating a birthday or anniversary (approx. $45.00)
Chateau Phelan Sequr Saint Estephe 2009 - Fantastic celebratory wine! My husband gave me a bottle as a present for my 50th Birthday! (approx. $76.00)A
Bartali Centalto Toscana Bianco - A dry white wine that pairs well with raw vegetables with olive oil, pasta with light sauces, white meats and soft cheeses. (appox. $12.95)
Talamonti Trabocchetto Pecorinio Coline Pescaresi - A medium white wine with attractive citrus ad pear flavours and an intriguing nutty finish. Pairs superbly with grilled fish, vegetable tempura, and oysters, and I served it with Chicken Piccata which it complimented very well. (approx. $17)
Talamonti Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, DOC - A dry red wine with violet undertones, intense bouquet of ripe red fruit, lively, finely framed by oak spices; certiried as a wine grown, produced and bottled in the Abruzzo region. (approx. $14)
Gabbiano Chianti, DOCG - A medium-full bodied chianti that starts with wafting aromas of beef, cheeses, earth and minerals before caressing the palate with warm and enticing flavours of aged steak cooked rare, dusty cherries and slight note of green olive. Goof value chianti that delivers above it's weight. (approx. $16).
There's nothing like an icy cold cocktail on a hot summer's day! Then there's the theme cocktail to go with your meal - Prosecco Spritzers for Date Morning Brunch, Margaritas for Mexican Night. No matter what the occasion, chances are there's a cocktail recipe or two that will fit the bill. They all have their place and time, and the time doesn't have to be 5 o'clock, not in my books anyway!
To see some of my favourites and get the recipes, just click HERE!