With today’s wine industry in the U.S. being more successful than ever, it can seem a little overwhelming to choose a wine for any occasion. There’s so much to consider, from food-pairing to personal preference. Choosing the perfect wine shouldn’t be overwhelming –it should be fun! Here comes a bit of a crash course on the most common wines typically found in grocery stores. We’ve included taste and style characteristics, a brief description, and recommended food pairings.
Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Sauvignon (also known to some as Big Red, due to its robustness) is the most popular wine type in the world! The prominent tastes in a Cab Sauv include black currant, black cherry, cedar, and baking spices which pair very nicely with beef, lamb, and smoked meats, as well as hard cheeses like Pecorino and firm cheeses like aged cheddar. A great winter-time selection to enjoy fireside.
Zinfandel-Zinfandel is a medium to full-bodied red wine but you may be more familiar with its pink variation, White Zinfandel. The palate will pick up fruits like sour cherry and raspberry, overripe nectarine, boysenberry and blackberry, blueberries and plums, and hints of sweet tobacco and Asian 5 spice powder. A Zinfandel pairs well with pork, chicken, cured meat, beef, lamb, and barbecue.
Pinot Noir -Pinot Noir is a popular lighter-bodied red wine that is dry and typically has higher acidity, with a soft and smooth finish. Food pairings include pork, chicken, veal, cured meat, duck, cream sauces, nutty cheeses like Gruyere, and soft cheeses.
Chardonnay -Chardonnay is the world’s most popular white grape variety wine! With flavors of yellow citrus, yellow pear and apple, tropical fruits, and commonly hints of butterscotch, toasted caramel, or vanilla, it is a medium to full-bodied, dry, white wine with spicy notes. Many people enjoy drinking Chardonnay with crab, lobster, shrimp, pork, chicken, mushroom, cream sauces and soft cheeses. It also goes down easy on the porch on a warm summer evening.
Sauvignon Blanc -Sauvignon Blanc is aggressively citrus-driven, with herbaceous qualities of grass, green pepper, and mint, and some exotic fruits like passion fruit and kiwi. It is a light to medium bodied tart, white wine that goes well with fish, pork, chicken, and veal, as well as nutty cheeses like Gruyere.
Pinot Gris -Pinot Gris, most commonly known as Pinot Grigio, is a dry light-bodied, easy drinking wine. This is a lighter and delicate citrus based flavor (lime and orange zest) with fruity and floral undertones. This wine pairs exceptionally with salads, delicate poached fish, light/mild cheeses, and sunny days.
Getting to know the most common types of wine, as well as their most complimentary food pairings and common flavors is a fun way to begin immersing yourself into the amazing experiences to be had with the great wines of the world.
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