I have to admit that when I was asked to do this post, there were quite a few reservations on my part. I really don’t follow some of the standard wine guidelines. I don’t believe that certain wines go with specific dishes, only. I think that you can enhance the taste of any meal with or without wine. I know this sounds corny but it really is a matter of taste. Also, there are many of you, for various reasons, do not or cannot drink wine. It doesn’t mean that you should be left out of memorable dining experiences. However, this post will focus on a few of my white wine choices. We will address the non-drinkers guide to dining enhancement in another post.
Okay…so let’s started:
Chardonnay – I am NOT a fan unless it is unoaked. I list a few in the wine and vineyards section. The biggest problem I have with Chardonnay is that so many winemakers are lazy when they make it. It’s easy to grow, so they mix anything with it. Throw it in some oak, forget about it, place it in my glass and say “drink it” Look…I know liquid wood when I taste it. Unfortunately because of all the bad ones, I feel like I know what cat hair tastes like too. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have a problem with it being dry or buttery. I just feel like too many vineyards “phone it in” with their Chardonnay. I think I have had about three good ones in my lifetime time. On the other hand I have tried at least 7-10 really nice unoaked ones. Again, you can find many of the details in my “Great Wines & Wineries” section, which will updated from our database of information, every three days.
Sauvignon Blanc – ABSOLUTELY Love it! This is my standard go to grape when I cook or enjoy a simple glass for the evening. More often than not, the word that comes to mind is crisp. For my palate, this is the wine that I have the strongest connection with what has been used to make it. This grape just blends very well. Everything from fruit, vanilla and honey, to brioche bread works with these grapes. There was a time when I thought I had just been trying SB’s from only great winemakers. That was not the case. I have found really good SB’s for the same price point that you pay for your beloved Moscatos & White Zinfindel’s. (I’ll address each of those soon enough) To me, it the portrait of versatility and it still remains dry. I kind of get the same impression for Pinot Grigio. I’ll stop before this becomes an entire post on Sauvignon Blanc.
White Zinfindel – It’s not wine…STOP drinking this immediately. That is all
Moscato – This is way too sweet to drink with food. Do yourself a favor, save it for dessert. It sends such a shock to the sweet part of your palate…that your salty sensors start working overtime. I understand how many of us like/crave sugar, so naturally a lot of people drink sweet wines. However, if you are having Moscato with your meal, it’s not for enhancing flavor…you really just feeding a sugar fix.
Riesling – In the last 5-7 years Rieslings have come a long way. I think wineries used to really focus on we’re not sweet like Moscatos. More and more they are really focusing on the winemaking process. I am starting to like them again. I have particularly fond of dry Rieslings. I feel like they embody some of the dynamics of my beloved sauvignon blanc, with a tad bit more sugar. I have a few of those listed in the wine section as well.
Champagne & Sparkling Wines – Okay friends, class is BACK in session. I draw serious attention to this because of how
many mistakes are made around champagne. Just because it has bubbles…does NOT make it champagne! It has to come from the CHAMPAGNE region of France. Everything else is a sparkling wine. With that being said, I would like for you to remember two things for now. First, you do not need a grand event to enjoy champagne. Just buy better champagne for grand events. Secondly, there are AMAZING sparkling wines being made ALL over the world. Here are a few other terms to help out:
Brut – traditionally means “no sugar added” and is dry in nature
Sec – is dry
Demi sec – is part dry or slightly sweet
Doux – is definitely sweet
Cava – Sparkling wine made in Spain
Prosecco – Sparkling wine made in Italy
When choosing a sparkling from other regions, I look for the words “methode traditionelle”, this means it has been made in the traditional method of making champagne. When I list a sparkling in the wine section, I will try to guide you with a key you can refer to, in order to help make a decision that best fits your event or occasion. And remember life is better with bubbles. I will address the reds in my next post. I’m sure some of the so called wine “experts” will have some problems with that one too.