How to Choose the Best Wine for Your Meal

If you’re enjoying a great meal or celebrating a special occasion, a nice bottle of wine might be just what you’re looking for. But there are so many types to choose from that it’s easy to feel intimidated. After all, you don’t want to embarrass yourself with the wrong selection when you have guests over! All you really need to know is a little about each type of wine and what goes best with your meal.

Red wines are the most common type, full-bodied with a slightly bitter taste. Red wine is often served in large, round glasses and goes best with any meal that involves red meat or heavy sauces. Common varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.

White wines are less common but no less popular; by taste, they tend to be drier than red wines. The proper glass for a white wine is small with a wide mouth. Whites usually go best with seafood, white meat (like pork and poultry), and sweet desserts. Common varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio.

Rose wines are halfway between red and white, usually pink in appearance with a light and fruity flavor. However, they also tend to have a very limited shelf life, so it’s wise not to let a bottle go to waste! The best glass for rose wine is short with a flared lip, similar to the kind for a white wine. Rose tends to go best with spicy food, white meats, egg dishes, and desserts. Common varieties include Tavel and White Zinfandel.

Finally, you have sparkling wines, of which the most popular type is Champagne. They tend to be fizzy and sweet, and can appear as red, white, or rose. A sparkling wine should be served in a flute glass. They are best served with cheese, fruits, seafood, and light desserts. Common varieties include the abovementioned Champagne, along with Prosecco and Cava.

After you’ve made your wine selection, the most important thing to remember is upkeep. Wine that goes bad will usually have a sour taste or smell and look discolored. You should always try to keep your wine refrigerated after opening the bottle and—in the case of red wines—letting the wine sit at room temperature before serving and enjoying again.

Image Credit: Uncalno Tekno on Flickr