Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wine Appreciation (2)

Selamat pagi, y'all!
Time for second installment of the stuff on wine that I've been reading.....

*drum roll*
(Commence Project Copy and Paste!)

What's The Big Difference Anyway?

There are four major types of wine: red, white, rosé (or blush), and champagne. As far as dining is concerned, we are going to focus only on the first two types since champagne is its own animal (see SoYouWanna enjoy champagne) and rosé is largely considered a joke. That's not entirely true, but you'll be safer sticking to reds and whites if you're ordering at a restaurant; most wine advisors recommend chilled rosé only for a picnic on a hot day.

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Pick your favourite colour: Red, White or Rose

Oh, and anything that comes in a can, a box, or a forty ounce container isn't technically wine; it will be listed on the menu under "This-Is-For-Cheapskates".

Where The Color Comes From

Color is the first and easiest distinguishing feature of wine. As we hinted at earlier, the main difference between red and white wine is that grape juice used to make red wine contains skins, seeds, and stems. This is significant for the following reason: leaving juice to mix together with the woody bits (known as maceration) causes the finished product to contain something we briefly mentioned earlier – tannins.

If the term tannin is bugging you because you don't really get what we're talking about, just think about a strong cup of tea. That woody taste is tannin. In wine, it can lend a wonderful complexity to a red wine. As a general rule of thumb, red wines are heavier and more complex than white wines. White wines are usually a good place for beginners to start because they are initially more palatable to novices since they often tend to be sweeter.

THE Rule

The reason you need to be aware of the differences between red and white wine is because one of the oldest rules in fine dining is that you should attempt to harmonize your choice of food and drink. If you are going to be eating something delicate with subtle tastes, the Rule states, you should avoid drinking something with a strong flavor that will overshadow the food. Conversely, a hearty meal will often be best complimented by a strong wine with flavor of its own.

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Red wine paired with red meat

Now every single guide to wine in the world makes a point of saying that the Rule is out of date and the only hard and fast dictate of wine drinking is to choose something you enjoy. Of course, if you're dropping fatty cash for grub and grog, you should pick whatever the hell you want. Don't let dead British wankers tell you how to eat a meal — go with what you like.

The Rationale Behind THE Rule

Nevertheless, there's a reason that Rule evolved in the first place: it makes sense. If, for example, you're trying to pick up on the vague hints of Caribbean brine that delicately caress the primo slice of sushi you just ordered, slurping a bowl of tequila isn't going to help. Balancing food with drink may not be required anymore, but it's a good tip to keep in mind and will instantly push you off the Zero mark when you start eating at good restaurants.

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White wine paired with light food

A specific corollary of the Rule is that white wines tend to go best with fish and white meats, like chicken and pork; red wines go best with red meat and red sauces. Another adjutant to the Rule is that you should begin with lighter wines and progress to heavier ones throughout the course of the meal. This policy again reflects the idea that you should not overburden your palate: if you start with a strong drink, your taste buds will be shot and you won't be able to enjoy anything that comes after it. That is why aperitifs are typically light drinks while dessert liquids, like port, are rich and heavy.

And thus ends Round 2 of the wine info....
(It's not much,... but perhaps its enough to charm your dates during dinner)
I also found a site that has a online wine-food matching program...
So, if you want to find out what type of wine would go best with your favourite food, check it out here.

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