Over the years, numerous wine styles have been promoted as the ideal for all occasions. Earlier it began with the sparkling pearl wines and later on came Mateus Rose. During the early days white wines were drunk with anything and everything. While it is certainly true that, in general, white wines will compliment a wider range of food and climatic conditions than the red wines, it is equally true that in certain situations some wines work better than the others. For example, a light aromatic Rhine Riesling can be very attractive drink on its own, but it can become almost tasteless when forced to confront a heavily seasoned dish. Similarly, one of the new breed of wood matured white wines can be a marvellous combination with a dish such as veal in a spicy sauce or pasta where that cleansing astringency from the oak can help to cut back the richness of the dish. But served alone or with a delicate sea food, it can overpower the taste buds and leave your palate crying out for something more gentle.
Rose, that much-maligned wine, is still closer than almost any other wine style to being the drink for all seasons. Served slightly chilled, it can embrace a whole gamut of flavours from fish to fowl, ham to lightly spice oriental food. Otherwise the basic rule is try to compliment the food with your wine, not letting one dominate the other.
Natural Serving Order of Wine There is some logical order of progression through a meal and also for serving wines. They are:
• White before red • Young before old • Dry before sweet
Much will depend on the food and the occasion. Things can become trickier when it comes to different varietal styles of similar age. But here the food may take the decision easier. However, if you cant taste them together first, the best guide is probably the colour– server the lighter coloured wines first. In white wines, the lighter wines are usually the fresher, more aromatic, styles, whereas those with a deeper hue will be more full-bodied. The same basic principle applies in red wines also, with those of lesser density being lighter in flavour and usually a little softer on the finish.
As wines get older, it gets harder to use this technique, but for the majority of current commercial wines it provides a simple and easy to remember guide.
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