Matching wine to your meal

Learn the marriage of wine to morsel.

Writers become rapturous when it comes to wine and cheese. No wonder. What other foods offer such richness and variety to satiate the palette and enrich the soul?

Why not put them together?

While attending wine events, you can learn a lot by sampling dozens of wines. However, you'll enjoy far more wines if you know what to eat with them. While wine will enhance any meal, it really excels when paired with cheese. The combination sets off an array of taste sensations -- all of them good.

Unfortunately, many patrons don't get past the wine basics, white wines with fish or white meat; red wines with red meat. The basics are a great start, but if your customers stop there, they are missing one of the culinary world's great combinations.

Wine and cheese pairings ultimately come down to personal taste, but there are some general guidelines.

  • White wines match best with soft cheeses and stronger flavors

  • Reds often work best with harder cheeses and milder flavors.

  • If you want to serve a wide variety of cheeses, it might be best to also serve fruity or sweet (not dry) white wines or maybe a dessert wine.

  • The more pungent the cheese, the sweeter the wine should be.
In any dining environment presentation is vital. More tips for wine and food pairings are:
  • Cheese wedges display nicely on china, a wood cheese board, or marble slab.
  • Most cheeses taste best when served at room temperature. That means taking them out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • White wines should be served at 50-55? F.
  • Red wines are best at between 60-65? F.
  • It is a good idea to let the red wine breathe 15?20 minutes after opening.

    Source: Washington Restaurant Association
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