How to avoid a headache when choosing wine

Here are a few tips to help with selecting the 'right' bottle of wine to accompany a meal, or something you can enjoy at home with a group of friends.

Food and Wine

Although some consider there are rules for matching food with wine, such as red wine with red meats and white with white meats, most people are happy to use personal preferences when pairing wine with their choice of food. However, there are some tips that can help when considering wine options. Always try to consider the acidity of the food, as foods that include citrus sauces, or even salads that are acidic (such as a Greek salad), will often pair well with a wine that has an acidic undertone, such as pinot grigio. Drier wines often complement sweeter dishes and heavy and hearty dishes such as beef casseroles work well with red wines such as zinfandels. A white wine such as a sauvignon blanc or Riesling can be a popular choice for stir-fries, salads and fish dishes.

Cheese and wine is a popular combination for many and a helpful tip can be to pair products from the same region, for example, parmesan with Chianti. Harder cheeses such as cheddar usually pair well with wines that are richer in tannins, such as cabernets. Salty cheeses, such as Stilton or Roquefort, often work well with sweeter wines or ports.

Purpose

When selecting wine, do consider what its purpose is, such as whether it is for enjoying at home with a partner or friends, or for a formal dinner party. It can be useful to identify which bottles are suitable for particular functions, so that if a last-minute dinner party occurs, there are always a couple of bottles to hand.

Budget

Although a number of people prefer to keep to wine favourites when buying, it does mean that they miss the opportunity to experience some sensational, good value wines. Budget can be very important when selecting wines, especially in today's economic climate. However, it is possible to purchase cases of good quality wine, such as those available from leading online stockists, that per bottle, often cost around the same as the low quality budget bottles you can get from the local off-licence.

Considering preference, pairing and price, or the three 'P's when choosing wine will usually help to ensure that it does not have to cause a headache when selecting the right wine for the right occasion.

Wine spread by Don LaVange