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Ultimate Guide to Wine and Food Pairings

Wine and food pairing is a skill that many people often dream of having. However, it is an art that anybody can actually perfect. It just needs a common-sense approach and some knowledge.

It doesn’t matter whether you don’t have experience with wine or not sure about the type of dishes that can really bring out the taste – wine tasting can be intimidating in some way. Most people who try doing it end up giving up because they are afraid to fail.

But that should not be the case. Wine and food pairing should be interesting and fun because it brings creativity to the table. You are able to move away from the normal tastes and create something that excites taste buds.

Below is a guide on how you can successfully pair wine and food:

1.    Match the quality of food with the quality of wine

When it comes to pairing wine and food, it is always important to consider the quality of food and the quality of wine you are serving.

For example, a complex cuisine prepared for special occasions requires a complex and special wine. Similarly, simple foods that you prepare more often go hand in hand with simple wines that are easy to drink.

Using a complex and expensive wine with everyday meals can turn out to be disastrous and disappointing. Always try to match the quality of your wine to that of your food. If you decide to prepare a complex meal using a lot of ingredients, then you also must look for a special type of wine.

2.    Look into the mirror

One of the simplest ways to successfully pair wine and food is to have a mirror in front of you when pairing. This is basically to help you see if the two components have some sort of natural affinity. You will want to see if there are shared characteristics between wine and food.

For example, if you are preparing peppery food and would like the spicy pepper flours to be conspicuous, then choose a wine that contains peppery characteristics such as Zinfandel.

In case you are serving an earthy, mushroom meal and would like to manifest that essence, then go for an earthy wine such as the Red Burgundy.

3.    Use wine with high acidic content to neutralize strong-flavored foods

Although fat is what normally makes meat to be tasty, it can affect the general flavor of a meal. Almost every type of meal has some level of fats in it. That’s why it is important to keep that fact in mind when pairing wine.

There are basically two ways you can use to neutralize fat in a meal. Go for wine with high acidic content, high tannin content, or both of them.

Light meals such as salmon, pork, cream sauces, and poultry that are rich in fats should be paired with acidic wines. Consider Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.

4.    Get to know how flavors work together

Our sense of taste is very interesting. The flavors that you first get into your mouth totally change the perception of those that follow. This aspect can make or break your wine and food pairing process.

The best way to understand how flavors work is to compare the experience you have when you take an orange juice immediately after brushing your teeth. You will notice the sweet taste of the toothpaste completely changes your perception of the taste of orange juice.

By getting to know how flavors work, you will have the confidence of selecting particular foods and wines. In other words, sour and salty flavors lead to positive characteristics of food and wine. But savory, sweet and bitter produce negative flavors and characteristics.

Bottom line

Wine and food pairings is not rocket science. It is all about practice, creativity and some knowledge about foods and wines. However, you should note that different people have different tastes. Not everyone will love the same combination.

Pack the Perfect Picnic with Red Wine in a Can

Picnics are a great way to enjoy some time outdoors with your friends and family. Aside from the obvious enjoyment of basking in the sun, picnics also make for great memories that will last you a lifetime.

So, how do you prepare for the perfect picnic that’ll leave you wanting more? Below, we’ll share with you the best picnic packing list to make your next picnic picture perfect.

What to pack to make the perfect picnic?

When you’re packing for a picnic, you’ll want to make sure you bring along the essentials to make it a great afternoon out. Aside from checking ahead for good weather, here is a list of things you’ll want to put in your picnic bag. You could also use a picnic basket for that extra Instagrammable experience.

  • A picnic mat: These are mats you’ll have to lay down so you can sit on the grass or beach. Picnic mats come in a variety of colors and designs, so you can pick what suits your mood best.
  • Wet wipes: As picnics are usually held in a park or beach, it may be hard to find a spot to clean your hands after. Bringing wet wipes ensures you can keep your hands clean even after you’ve enjoyed your meal.
  • Utensils: If you’re looking to serve full meals at a picnic, then utensils will be a must on your picnic packing list. You may opt to use disposable utensils instead of your regular silverware. This not only makes your cleaning up easier but is also more convenient to pack, and you won’t have to worry about losing your utensils along the way.
  • Food: No picnic will ever be complete without some finger food. You can make it as simple as you want with finger sandwiches or chips or add some flair to your picnic with some homemade mac and cheese.
  • Wine in a can: To complete your picnic experience, you’ll want to have some wine. While you could bring a large bottle of wine along, you’ll also have to go through the hassle of bringing a corkscrew and glasses for sharing. Packing red wine in a can eliminates all that hassle, so you can enjoy your picnic straight from the basket.
  • Bags for cleaning up: Finally, you’ll want to be sure you have bags to throw your rubbish in. Keeping the picnic area clean is a shared responsibility so everyone can enjoy the facility together.

Why red wine in a can?

Gone are the days when you’ll have to lug around a full bottle of red wine and be forced to bring a corkscrew as well as wine glasses to a picnic. Red wine in a can allows you to enjoy crisp tasting red wine in just a matter of seconds. It’s convenient to carry around, and you can enjoy it almost anywhere you’d like.

Red wine in a can also eliminate the dangers of having glass around the picnic areas, where it is usually not allowed after all. Subsequently, you also won’t have to worry about finishing a full bottle of wine, as canned red wines are usually portion controlled, so you can drink a can and recycle the packaging after.

Finally, canned wines are easier to store. While most red wines in conventional glass bottles may ask that you keep them away from direct sunlight, this becomes less of a worry for canned wines. Although you should keep it cool where possible, canned wines are less likely to have an altered taste than conventional wines after a day in the sun.

What to Do When You Have No Wine Opener

Little in life is more irritating than staring at a lovely vintage you cannot drink – because you have no wine opener. Whether you are enjoying an outdoor picnic or camped out at home with your favorite varietal and friends on a rainy night, finding out you are without this essential tool can put a damper on even your finest plans. But what if you knew how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew? Learn about four other ways to open wine that will suffice in a pinch.

Use a Knife

If you have a serrated knife, you can mimic the action of a traditional manual corkscrew. The ideal knife will have a narrow and very sharp serrated (ridged) blade. First, use the blade to remove the foil (foil can make removing the cork more difficult). Next, carefully insert the knife blade into the center of the cork. Begin to rock the knife back and forth, twisting gently as you do. As the cork begins to work its way out, continue pulling the knife up and out until the cork comes free. You can also try this tactic with a paring knife or even a pocket knife.

Use Pliers and a Screw

This method can be even more effective than a serrated knife for very narrow bottles. Grip the screw with the pliers and gently “screw” it into the center of the cork. When you are finished, there should be about one-half an inch of screw left visible. Then gently and firmly pull on the pliers until the cork works free.

Use a Coat Hanger

A coat hanger is another handy all-purpose tool – if you have ever locked your keys in your car, you already know the value of a spare coat hanger. For best results you want a cheap wire coat hanger that you can easily bend. Using your fingers (or pliers if needed), untwist the coat hanger. Then bend one end into a u-shape (it should look like a fish hook). Insert the coat hanger – hook sideways and parallel with the side of the bottle – between the bottle lip and the cork. When the coat hanger is all the way in, twist the hook until it is centered beneath the cork with the tip inserted. Then begin to pull on the coat hanger until the cork is forced up and out.

Use a Corn Cob Gripper

For those who enjoy piping hot buttery corn on the cob, you can already visualize the relief of gripping two corn cob grippers rather than the ends of the hot cob itself. The good news is, these grippers can perform a similar task for a wine cork as well. Just screw one corn cob gripper into the cork then exert firm and steady pressure to force the cork up and out.

 

With these handy tips, you can enjoy a delicious bottle of wine whenever and wherever you are – even if you don’t have a wine opener to pop the cork for you!

 

About the Author: Marvin Serrantos is passionate about wine. His favorite is red – a fact that his extensive personal cellar readily discloses. He frequently recommends to friends to purchase red wine at CityWineCellar.com.