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How to pick the best bottle of wine to go with your meal

Look like an expert with these handy tips on how to choose the best wine to accompany your food.

Knowing what goes with what, when it’s best to have one type of wine over  another and deciphering how to pick wine by smell instead of taste takes time, experience and patience, the last of which many wine drinkers are not prepared to accept. But there are some quick tips we can give you to enhance your knowledge and help you to make the right choices when you’re dining with wine.

Smell is key to taste

When the waiter pours you a glass of wine to taste don’t forget to swirl the glass around to oxygenate it, as the majority of what you’re tasting is what you’re smelling. If you get a bad whiff (usually akin to a wet dog) then it’s likely the wine is corked so you should send it back.  At times it can be difficult to know whether a wine is corked just from its smell, so if you can’t taste any fruit, and it tastes overly acidic then send it back. 

Fish and white is not taboo

If you’re having fish as your meal but fancy a glass of red wine, don’t be put off by the common misconception that these two do not go together - they can and they do. Instead of assessing the protein group of your food when pairing wine, think about the balance of flavours, spice, texture and temperature of your dish.

Cheaper doesn’t always mean worse

If you want to order an expensive wine like white Burgundy or Bordeaux but don’t want to spend quite that much, then just ask the waiter for a wine that harbours similar characteristics from a different region. This will give the waiter a good reference point while saving you money, but it will also enable you to try grapes or taste wines from a region that you might never have thought of tasting before.

What grows together goes together

If you’re unsure when it comes to pairing just remember what grows together, goes together. For example, if you’re having an Italian dish with a tomato –based sauce then an Italian wine is likely to pair well with it. To be even safer, order a wine from the same region where the food you’re having came from (if possible).

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