From the earliest days, wine has been looked upon as a natural remedy for man's ills. In ancient times, physicians found it invaluable. Today, many doctors recommend it for various ailments such as improving heart health.
You can drink wine without food, but pairing it with a meal helps your body absorb minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc. This can be especially important to vegetarians who need to get the most nutrition from their limited diets. Moderate wine consumption with a meal also aids digestion.
If you're watching your weight, light wine has 17 calories per ounce, and dry red, white table wine and Champagne (brut) have 25 calories per ounce.
Pairing Wine and Food
• Serve wine before the food.
• Generally, the sequence for serving wine is: dry sparkling wine; light dry wine; full-bodied wine; rich wine; and then sweet wine.
• Typically, white wine goes well with white meat and fish, and red wine goes well with red meat.
• Aim for harmony between the dish and the wine; they have to complement each other.
• When serving fine wine, avoid vinegar-based sauces.
• When serving dry red or white wine, avoid dishes with sweet sauces.
• Serve white wine before red wine.
• Serve good wine before great wine.
• Serve wine at its correct temperature.
Because wines have so many complex flavors, give some thought to your menu before selecting your wine. Beside the fruit flavors found in wines, they can also have notes of pine tree, resin, vanilla, coffee, tea, herbs, smoke, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mint, truffles, oak, jasmine and many more, depending on the type of wine you select.
Consider these pairings for your next summer get-together:
Hors d'oeuvres— Sometimes, serving wine with a salad can be difficult due to heavy dressings; however, try Sancerre, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Gewurztraminer.
Fish— Pair oysters and shellfish with dry white wine, Champagne, Chablis or muscatel, and try smoked fish with white Rioja or white Graves. For fish with sauces, try a fuller white wine or Riesling. For shallow-fried or grilled fish, go with California chardonnay, or Australian Sémillon or chardonnay.
White Meat— The type of wine to serve depends on whether you serve the white meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit, veal or pork) hot or cold. If the meat is served hot with a sauce or savory stuffing, pair it with either a rosé such as Anjou or a light red wine like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Californian Zinfandel, Saint Julien or Burgundy. If serving the meat cold, pair with a fuller white wine such as Hocks, Sancerre or Tavel.
Roast and grilled lamb— Pair with Medoc, Pomerol or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Roast beef and grilled steaks— Pair with big reds such as Burgundies, Rioja, Barolo or Pinot Noir wines.
White wine grapes are fruity and less likely to give you a hangover.
Wine Grapes Quality/flavors
Chardonnay Ripe melon, fresh pineapple, tropical fruits, nutty
Chenin Blanc Apple, honeysuckle, melon
Gewurztraminer Rose petals, grapefruits, tropical fruits (e.g. lychees)
Muscat Grapes, raisins
Riesling Apricots, peaches, lime
Sauvignon Blanc Gooseberries, tropical fruits, custard, nuts, honey, grass, bellpeppers, lime, butter, olives
Red wine grapes are fruity, light, lively, full of nutrition and help with digestion.
Wine Grapes Quality/flavors
Pinot Noir Strawberries, cherries, plums
Merlot Plum, damson, blackcurrants
White Zinfandel and Malbec grapes are also worth trying this summer.