Wising up on wines

Do you feel confused and intimidated when you have to choose a wine as a gift or to serve one at dinner? The word wine itself mostly conjures up exotic images of tables laden with delicacies such as seafood and waiters at your beck and call.
Never drink too much to the point of confusion. Net photo.
Never drink too much to the point of confusion. Net photo.

Do you feel confused and intimidated when you have to choose a wine as a gift or to serve one at dinner? The word wine itself mostly conjures up exotic images of tables laden with delicacies such as seafood and waiters at your beck and call.

Wine is no longer a drink associated with the West as one may think but it’s something many employees today find at cocktail parties organised by their companies and the standard fare is usually its drinking. For someone who has little knowledge of wine and many of the traditions surrounding its drinking may wonder if it has the same effect as beer.

Here is a crash course on that water of the gods - never feel a stranger around this drink again.

Wine etiquette – drink but don’t get drunk.

Wine must be enjoyed in moderation. Never lose control of the conversation or your ability to say no when you’ve had enough. Try not to drink on an empty stomach. Enjoy some groundnuts or a slice of bread to slow down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream. Sip slowly and avoid gulping down, no matter how thirsty you are.

The types of wine.

There are four main categories of wine to enjoy with a meal. These are: white, red, rose and sparkling wine.

Red wines traditionally go well with red meat dishes such as beef and pork. The best reds to remember are Shiraz, Carbernat Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Pinotage.

White wines are usually served well chilled and go well with white meat dishes such as chicken, fish, and sea food. They are classified as dry, off-dry, or semi- sweet. The best known white wines are Sauvigon, Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Stein.

Rose wines are a beautiful rose-pink in colour and are classified as dry, off-dry or semi-sweet. Very pale pink wines are called Blanc de Noir. These light versatile wines go well with any dish from pastas to pizzas. They are usually served chilled.

Sparkling wines contain carbon dioxide, which is released as bubbles when the bottle is opened. These wines are excellent as meal starters. They have the effect of ‘cleaning’ the mouth in preparation for the meal, and range from sweet to dry and are described in  French as brut (dry), sec (slightly sweet), demi-sec (semi-sweet) and doux (very sweet). They’re served when well chilled in flute-shaped glasses. In general, the lighter a wine (either red or white) the cooler the temperature at which it is served.

We must note, that there are no laws stating which foods should be taken with a particular type of wine. It is better to be adventurous, try out new combinations, and explore the limits of your taste buds.

 

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