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Guide to Wine

Learn everything you need to know about wine, from grape varietals and growing regions to tasting, serving and pairing with food.

Varietals Glassware Tasting Pairing

Great wine and food pairings either emphasize the similarities or highlight the differences between the wine and food. In wine, elements are predetermined. But in a recipe, a match can be made by choosing ingredients and cooking methods that complement or contrast with the chosen wine.

Matching wine with food is a personal choice – forget the old rules about red wines with meat and whites with fish. Instead, experiment with different combinations, and take note of the aromas and flavors you like. Pull off a good match with these considerations:

As a general rule, wines are better appreciated when they progress from light to heavy over the course of the meal, with white wines served before reds, and dry wines before sweet ones. Sweet dessert wines should taste sweeter than the food they are served with.

Conventional pairings came about to complement or contrast the main ingredient of a dish. For example, white wine has traditionally been paired with fish because its tactile elements – light food and light wine – are complementary. The same rule applies for heavy red meats and full-bodied red wines. But often the dominant flavors of a dish come from other ingredients instead, such as cooking fats, sauces, spices or herbs, that have affinities with particular wines.

Cooking methods influence the aromas, tastes and textures of foods and figure prominently in the wine match. Charcoal-grilled foods pair well with oaky wines because they complement the smoky elements of both partners. Braising adds weight and richness to foods, helping them form a stronger link to fuller-bodied wine styles.

Caviar

Shellfish

Smoked fish

Double and triple-cream cheeses

Smoked Trout and Apple Salad with Polenta Croutons >

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Fish

Shellfish

Green vegetables

Goat & sheep cheeses

Agnolini with Goat Cheese, Ricotta and Peas >

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Poultry &
game birds

Charcuterie

Exotic spices

Citrus

Simple Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs >

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Poultry &
game birds

Fish & Shellfish

Butter & cream

Cow's milk cheeses

Individual Herbed Potato Gratins with Gruyère >

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Smoked meats

Charcuterie & sausage

Bold spices

Mild or strong cheeses

Baby Back Ribs >

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Sausage & charcuterie

Mild red meats

Cherries & berries

Aged or strong cheeses

Salsiccia Pizza with Broccoli Rabe >

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Red meats & game meats

Pork & veal

Mushrooms & truffles

Woody herbs

Polenta with White Cheddar, Chard and Wild Mushrooms >

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Red meats & game meats

Sausages

Black pepper

Aged hard cheeses & blue cheeses

Sirloin Steak Salad with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts >

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Chocolate

Blue cheeses

Nuts

Dried fruit

Goat Cheese Toasts with Walnuts, Honey and Thyme >

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