Introduction to Food and Wine – Learn more about the different types of white and red wine. You’ll find a description of each along with useful background information.
Have you ever wondered which wine would go best with a particular food? Here’s an easy guide for food pairing that gives you the basic information you need.
Types of White Wine
Chardonnay is more full bodied than other whites. Chardonnay has aromas of fruits and acidity. The aroma typically has flavors of lemon or grapefruit. Fermentation in new oak barrels results in a rich, buttery taste. This is often described as toastiness, vanilla, apple, nutty, or toffee. Chardonnays aged in French oak result in a milder flavor than those aged in American oak. Some people prefer the buttery flavor while others prefer the non-oaked Chardonnays.
Food and Wine Pairing: Chardonnay goes well with chicken, seafood, and fish.
Origin: Chardonnay originated from the Burgundy area of France. There are many world-class Chardonnays being produced in California. Cooler climates are usually the best for producing Chardonnay.
Gewurztraminer has a spicy aroma and fruity flavors of peach, apricot, tropical fruits, and lychee. It can be a dry or sweet.
Food and Wine Pairing: This type of wine goes especially well with spicy Asian dishes and pork sausages.
Origin: Gewurztraminer comes from France. Fantastic Gewurztraminers are produced today in Germany, New York, Washington, and California.
Pinot Grigio (Pea-no-gree-zhe-oh)
Pinot Grigio is light and crispy with almond, lemon, and vanilla flavors. Pinot Grigio may also becalled Pinot Gris.
Food and Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio goes well with seafood and salmon.
Origin: Pinot Grigio originated in Burgandy long ago. However, it is often considered an Italian wine. The grapes prefer a cold climate. This is why Oregon is able to produce delicious Pinot Grigio.
Rieslings have a floral aroma. They range from very dry and crisp to intensely sweet depending on where it is from. German Riesling is slightly sweet and balanced with some acidity. California Riesling tends to be sweeter.
Food and Wine Pairing: Riesling goes well with chicken, fish, pork, and spicy foods.
Origin: Rieslings originates from Germany. Great Rieslings are also produced in New York, Washington, California, and Australia.
Sauvignon Blanc (So-veen-yawn-blah nk)
Lighter than Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc usually has a grassy citrus aroma. Flavors range from apple, pear, green tea, limes and freshly mowed grass. You can often detect a little smokiness. California Sauvignon Blancs sometimes have a melon flavor. This is a crisp light wine with a strong acid finish. It is also called Fume Blanc. American Sauvignon Blanc tends to be grassier than those produced in New Zealand.
Wine and Food Pairings: Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with salads, poultry, seafood, and cheese.
Origin: Sauvignon Blanc originated from France. Fabulous Sauvignon Blanc is currently being produced in New Zealand, South Africa, California, and Washington as well.
Types of Red Wine
Barbera is often used as a blending grape. As a varietal it can exhibit aromas of berries, plums, or cherries with hints of vanilla, toasty, or smoky flavors.
Food and Wine Pairing:Tomato based pasta dishes are perfect matches to serve with this type of wine.
Origin: Barbera is an Italian red wine. However, California is producing some wonderful Barbera. The Sierra Foothills is increasingly producing great quality Barbera.
Cabernet Sauvignon (Ca-burr-nay So-veen-yawn)
Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and full-bodied. Aged in oak, this is a complex wine with cassis and blackberry flavors as well as hints of bell pepper. To make Cabernet Sauvignon drinkable sooner it is often blended with other grapes. French Bordeaux is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon blended with Merlot to soften the tannins. When blended with Merlot and perhaps Cabernet Franc as well, this Bordeaux style blend is called Meritage in the United States.
Wine and Food Pairings Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic vino to serve with red meats.
Origin Cabernet Sauvignon is a well known grape of Bordeaux, France. Superb Cabernets are being produced in California (especially the Napa Valley), Washington, Italy, Australia, and Chile.
Merlot is softer tasting than Cabernet Sauvignon due to having less tannins. It is a smooth and dry. Merlot is often described as having the flavors of boysenberry, black cherry, herbs, and mocha.
Wine and Food Pairings: Merlot is best with poultry and grilled meats, but Merlot actually goes well with most foods.
Origin Merlot originates from Bordeaux in France where it is the most commonly planted grape. You can find many great Merlots from California, Oregon, and Washington.
Pinot Noir (Pee-no Na-wahr)
Pinot Noir is a smooth, silky, and extremely fruity. It is characterized with aromas and flavors of black cherry or rose petals along with hints of spiciness or herbal qualities. Pinot Noirs are enjoyed for their soft velvety texture. High in alcohol, they are full bodied but not heavy.
Food and Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir is best served with grilled salmon, roast beef, lamb, duck, and mushrooms.
Origin Burgandy, France is the area most recognized for its Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is also being produced in California, Oregon, British Columbia, and New Zealand.
Sangiovese medium bodied and dry with earthy aromas and berry, plum, spicy, or floral flavors. It has a smooth texture. Sangiovese is the main grape used to produce Italian Chiantis.
Food and Wine Pairing: Sangiovese goes especially well with pasta and other Italian foods.
Origin: Sangiovese grapes originates from the Tuscany region of Italy. California is making some delicious Sangiovese as well.
Syrah is a hearty and displays complexity along with aromas and flavors that include raspberry, plum, smoke, and white pepper. It is dark in color; sometimes almost black in color. Syrah is also called Shiraz.
Food and Wine Pairing:
Enjoy a glass of Syrah with duck, wild game, steak, and beef.
Origin:Syrah is is believed to originate from France. There are great Syrahs produced in France, Australia, South Africa, and California.
Zinfandel can be light to full bodied. It can be rich and spicy or lighter and fruitier. Aromas and flavors that are typical include raspberry, jam, black pepper, and licorice.
Food and Wine Pairing:This type of red wine is wonderful with steaks, grilled meats, and tomato based dishes.
Origin:It is believe that Zinfandel originated in Croatia. It has been grown in California since the 1850s with California Zinfandels generally considered to be the best. Many consider Zinfandel to be California’s vino.
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