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A wine for every occasion
A wine for every occasion

A wine for every occasion

No meal is complete without a delicious Italian wine to complement it but choosing the right one can be a minefield, particularly if you aren't an experienced connoisseur. But before you work yourself into a frenzy, relax. The most important rule about pairing wines with food is that there are no rules. Ultimately, it really is a matter of personal preference. However, you will want to choose a wine which brings out the flavour of what's on your plate, without being overpowering. There are some popular pairings which might help you decide what type of Italian wines to serve with what food.  

Understanding your palate   Although we can experience a myriad of tastes, there are actually only four separate types of flavour your tongue can discern: salty, sweet, bitter and sour. But your nose is far more adventurous, being able to distinguish more than 200 different types of aroma. The combination of sensations from your nose and tongue can produce a vast array of sensory delights and when drinking wine, it's essential to use both. To bring out the best in a particular dish, it's often a good idea to pick a wine with a contrasting base, to prevent one type of taste becoming overwhelming. For example, a sweet wine such as moscato d'asti works perfectly with salty foods, highlighting the saltiness by producing a sweet aftertaste.

By contrast a moscato wine when paired with a rich dessert such as a tiramisu, can lose some of its impact and become lost against the strong sweet taste of the food.   Choosing a sparkling wine   Many people associate a sparkling wine with a pre-dinner aperitif, but there's no reason why it can't be an accompaniment to the main meal too. A few bubbles can bring out the acidity of the food so make sure you consider this when choosing the menu. For example, food such as wasabi can become rather unpalatable when paired with a sparkling drink and would do far better with a more mellow wine. But there is an array of foods which work particularly well with sparkling wines, such as smoked salmon, cream sauces, oysters, cheeses, deep-fried dishes and many types of Asian cuisine too. [strong]Spicy food[/strong] Your choice of wine will be especially crucial if you plan on serving up a dish with plenty of heat.

If there's plenty of spice in the food, you won't want to provide a wine which exacerbates the heat; one which provides a cooling effect will be far more pleasant. Moscato d'asti provides an excellent complement, as does a Reisling. Avoid wines which are dry or a full-bodied red, as this will have the opposite effect to what you are aiming for. Remember, wine choice is a very personal thing so providing you taste the two together and enjoy the marriage of the two, you really can't go wrong!


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