Pasta and Wine: Find the Perfect Pair

Pasta and Wine: Find the Perfect Pair

 

 

When looking for a great spot to have trendy brunch in NYC, there are two things that I consider – pasta and wine. These are two of my favorite things in the world. With this, in the rest of this post, I will share some of the best wines that could complement pasta dishes, which will give you a complete and satisfying meal.

Before I proceed, let me tell you one thing. The perfect pairing should not depend on the pasta. Rather, it should be based on the sauce that goes with the pasta.

Tomato-based Pasta and Zinfandel

The best spaghetti I’ve tried was at Scarpetta in New York. It is a simple dish with three main ingredients – pasta, tomato, and basil. It has high acid and a powerful flavor, which is why it is perfectly complemented with a medium-bodied red wine, including a Zinfandel. With loads of sweet cherry tomatoes, the Zinfandel will result in a well-balanced flavor in your mouth.

Cream-Based Pasta and California Chardonnay

If you like a pasta that is rich, creamy, and heavy, cream-based is the way to go. Finding the right wine can be a tricky situation. Most of the time, the pasta comes with a bold flavor, which is why the wine might taste a bit watered. With this, I would personally choose to pair it with California Chardonnay. The latter is a strong wine, which is why it will not be overpowered by the sauce of the pasta.

Seafood Pasta and Muscadet

Muscadet is a French white wine, which is bone-dry and light-bodied. It has a high-acidity and citrus-like flavor, which makes it a popular choice of wine for food pairing. It is lean and green with a slight fruity note. It is a crisp dry white wine that will work perfectly for seafood pasta dishes, such as linguini with crab or seafood with mussels. To maximize the flavor of this wine, do not drink this when eating a tomato-based pasta.

Cheese Pasta and Pinot Noir

Wine and cheese are two things that go well together. With this, if you are eating cheese-based pasta, you will have a long list of options for the perfect wine. One of my favorites is Pinot Noir. Actually, the latter is one of the most versatile wines I had, so you can pair it with almost any other pasta dish.

Pesto and Sauvignon Blanc

The assertive flavor of pesto makes it quite tricky to find a wine that it can perfectly complement. When the wine is too weak, you might not notice it at all. Because it is made mostly of basil and garlic, choose a wine that comes with a natural green character. This is why a Sauvignon Blanc can prove to be an unrivalled option. The lively acidity of this wine will go well with the freshness of the dish.

The next time you eat pasta in an Italian restaurant, make the most out of it by complementing it with the right wine!

Choosing a Wine to Complement your Steak

Choosing a Wine to Complement your Steak

Whenever I eat in a fine dining restaurant, such as the American Cut Steakhouse, there are two things that will complete my visit – steak and wine. I don’t care much about what they serve as an appetizer or what sweet treat they have to finish off a sumptuous meal. As long as I have a delicious steak and an exquisite wine, I am all good.

If you are clueless on what is the best wine to order to match the steak that you will eat in the best restaurants in Atlanta, read on and I will share some tips that you will find helpful.

Pinot Noir and Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is from the smaller end of the tenderloin or beef fillet. This is a cut that is characterized by having less fat content. With this, it will work best if you pair it with a mild wine that comes with a high acidity. This is where pinot noir enters the picture, characterized by its earthy truffle notes. It is a pale wine with subtle flavor. When paired with a steak that has a robust flavor, you will enjoy the perfect balance.

Porter House and Napa Cabernet

The porterhouse if the preferred cut for those who like high marbling and rich flavor. It is from the part of the meat where the top loin meets with tenderloin. It will be perfect when it is paired with a bold red wine that comes with a high tannin. Among others, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon can prove to be the best. It is an elegant and food-friendly wine that is sure to tickle the taste buds.

Sirloin and Merlot

For those who prefer cheaper steak cuts, sirloin is one of the best cuts to eat. This is not as flavorful as the other types, but when you pair it with the right wine, the taste will be more superior. Merlot is one of the best wines that will go along with sirloin. Next to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is the second most popular grape in the United States, which is why this is a wine that you can easily find in many steakhouses. It has a soft and ripe flavor that also goes well with food.  

Rib Eye and Zinfandel

The ribeye is definitely one of the favorites when it comes to steak cuts. It is well-loved by many because it is juicy, flavorful, and tender. Because of the good amount of fat that you can find in this meat, it will be perfect for a wine with high acid and moderate tannin, such as Zinfandel. It is also one of the most popular grapes grown in the United States. Flavor-wise, it has a sweetish taste with spicy hints. You can even use it as a marinade for tough beef cuts.

Do not look like a noob the next time you visit a steakhouse. Take note of the things mentioned above to have the perfect steak and wine pairing for a one-of-a-kind meal.

Perfect Wine Selections For This Valentine’s Day

Perfect Wine Selections For This Valentine’s Day

 

 

There’s a common misconception no thanks to the way Valentine’s Day is marketed that it’s exclusively for couples, or those with romantic attachments to enjoy. There’s no reason for a single person to be left out though; after all, self-love and self-discovery are journeys that should be equally celebrated. Whether it’s showing some gratitude for how far you’ve come on your own, or appreciating the strength it took to leave something behind that wasn’t working for you anymore – take the evening of February 14th to say cheers to yourself for once.

Light up a scented candle, put on your fuzzy slippers, pick out your favourite book and crack open a bottle of something local to make the Valentine’s Day that you’re single one to rival all others. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own apartment, or wade through the snow, or feel self-conscious waiting in line at the LCBO on your own in your sweatpants; you can simply purchase your favourite selections through Wine Online and have them delivered right to your door.

If you’re looking for some recommendations, the Triomphe Cabernet Franc VQA by Southbrook Vineyards is a wonderfully sophisticated and creative choice. The 2016 vintage shines of expressive red fruit making for a juicy sipping experience. It also boasts a vanilla-lavender streak, bringing elegance to the bottle. It’s a savoury and complex red with natural sweetness and long finish; draw yourself a lavish bubble bath, pour yourself a glass, and let it take you.

If you want to learn your favourite wines or maybe discover some new ones, consider something a bit spicier to accompany an appetizing meal, like the Shiraz-Cabernet VQA by Creekside Estate, vintage 2015. This selection is decidedly aromatic, with scents of violets, plums, red currant and white pepper. While medium-bodied on the palate, drinkers will welcome the bright fruit flavours of wild raspberry and strawberry, then invite the savoury cedar and white pepper coming back around for the finish.  Pair this selection with an assortment of cured meats if you’re preparing a charcuterie board or with a gorgeous medium-rare steak and roasted vegetables.

The Cabernet Sauvignon by Konzelmann Estate Winery, vintage 2015, is another favourite from the Niagara region. It’s denser than most and offers some spice, complimenting the chilly weather perfectly. With black currant, sweet cinnamon and pomegranate on the nose and palate, accompanied by a firm but smooth tannic structure and a mild smokiness, there is real depth to this bottle. Enjoy while popping in that artsy foreign film your ex would never acquiesce to watching with you.

The idea that only people in partnerships are allowed to reap the benefits of Valentine’s Day is an old and outdated trope. Singles should not hesitate to live this evening up too! With so much personal success to commemorate in realms outside of romance, take the day to yourself. Do something fun or relaxing, and finish the night off with a glass of something smooth and delicious; give yourself credit for all the happiness you’re aspiring to without anyone else’s help.

What Do Beer and Wine Labels Say About You?

Beer

The beer or wine label you choose to go with says a lot about your personality. It will send a message to the other party goers about what kind of a person you are. This infographic by Label Value goes over the different types of personality types associated with each alcoholic beverage.

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Wine

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Wine

Ever seen yourself as a bit of a wine collector? Perhaps you want to impress your friends with your vintage wine collection? Whatever your reason for wanting to learn more about vintage wine, it’s an interesting (and delicious) subject. In this ultimate guide I’ve put together everything you need to know about vintage wines. When to buy them, when to store them, and when to drink them. Most importantly.

Red Wine

Let’s kick off with everyone’s favourite. Red wine is a collectors dream, that can quickly turn into a nightmare. Knowing when to lay down your wine (posh speak for storing it away) and when to drink it, will ensure no mishaps at your next dinner party. Here are some of the most popular wines and years, to get you started.

  • Burgundy – If you have any bottles before 1988 bin them now. They’re past their best. Anything from 1988 until 2000 is well worth opening at your next dinner party. With 2005 being the best vintage full stop. Although you can still let it lay for another year or two if you own a bottle.
  • Rioja – Everyone loves a good Spanish Rioja. The recent batches are some of the best, so are well worth buying up and keeping hold of. Some of the nicest vintages can be found on sites such as http://www.nicks.com.au – so, stock up and let them lay.  If you want something to drink right away then look for a 1994 bottle where possible. You can even go back as far as 1987 if you really want to show off.

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Photo from Flickr

White Wine

Now the sunshine is out, most people prefer to drink white as opposed to read. It goes down a treat with a barbecue! There have been some incredible years for some of our favourite whites. However, there have also been some pretty awful years. Here are some of the best wines and vintages for white wine.

  • Burgundy – The Cote D’Or version of the red, this white wine had one of its best years in 2010. If you can get hold of a bottle let it lay for another year or two. Anything from 1992 onward is pretty much ready to drink, so ditch any bottles before that year.
  • Chablis – This white wine seems to last the test of time a little longer than the Burgundy. If you have any bottles from 1990 then you’re in luck. From then on you’re fine up until 2004. Except any batch from 1994, that’s already turned bad.

Port

Want to stock up on some vintage port for Christmas? It may seem a million miles away, but it’s worth being prepared. Fortified wine lasts a lot longer than other bottles, which means you can go pretty far back without it going bad. Even bottles from 1983 could be stored for a little longer before being their best. One of the greatest vintages of port was served up in 2010. Leave this in your wine rack for a while and it’ll be one Christmas drink to remember. Can’t wait that long? Find yourself a bottle from 1994, for a great vintage.

So, which vintage wines will you be stocking up on? You can keep up to date with what’s good (and what’s not) using a vintage wine chart. Check the bottles you already own and gauge when they’ll be at their very best.

Is It Really Possible To Make Your Own Wine, And Would You Want To?

Is It Really Possible To Make Your Own Wine, And Would You Want To?

Living in the UK, I’m prone to a mixed bag of weather. Certainly not the warm and sunny climates that my bottles from Italy and France have enjoyed! Still, it seems that more and more Brits are making their own wine. It seems even the Romans were able to make good use of the little sunshine we do get each year. There is a lot of equipment needed, but it could be good fun to try it out!

Grape vines are surprisingly easy to grow. Plant them next to a wall, and use some supporting string or trellis to help keep them upright. You need more width than height as they like to spread out. Of course, finding space for enough vines to provide adequate quantities of grapes might be tricky in the city! You need to harvest about six kilograms of fruit to press for wine.

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The source of this image is Flickr

Once you have your fruit, and you have pressed it, you are still a few weeks away from enjoying a nice drink. Fermentation and clearing take a little while. You may want to wait up to a year before enjoying the wine. But for many trying this out for the first time, you’ll probably want a glass as soon as possible. There are no guarantees it will taste as good as you hope, but for a bit of fun it could be worth a go!

Of course, there are many other fruits you can use for drinks, jams and cooking. If you visit a website like http://www.pomonafruits.co.uk/, you may be quite surprised to see just how many different types of fruit you can grow. Most fruits can be grown in pots or hanging baskets. This means less back breaking digging and more munching on yummy crops of fresh fruit. Fruit trees have always interested me. Finding out just how many species of fruit trees I could choose from has got me thinking about it even more.

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The source of this image is Flickr too

If you’ve never grown fruit before, you might want to start with strawberry plants. They are incredibly easy to grow and can be planted almost anywhere. If you don’t fancy getting down on your knees in the dirt, you could plant them in hanging baskets and let the fruit and leaves cascade down. Raised flower beds can be really good for fruit or vegetable growing too. If you’ve only got a little terrace or courtyard, why not try planting in some decorative pots to brighten up the area?

It is possible to make homemade wine with almost any kind of berry. You must keep everything the wine touches sterile to avoid illness. One recipe from the internet calls for sixteen cups of fruit, two cups of honey, one packet of yeast and filtered water. Sounds simple. Of course, the fermentation of the fruits takes a bit of effort. And the waiting… I could open up a lot of shop bought bottles of wine in that time! Still, for a bit of fun, and to make something of homegrown fruit crops, it could still be worth a try.

Planning A Stylish Dinner Party

I recently had a fantastic dinner party with my friends and family. The reason I think it was so good was because I was able to take part in the majority of the fun, eating and drinking, not been stranded as hosts usually are, in the kitchen. Below I am going to share some of my top dinner party tips, so hopefully you can replicate it and have a fantastic evening too.

A stylish dinner party doesn’t have to be all about trying to out do another host, or spending five days learning how to create the perfect swan from a napkin. It’s about time, and how much of it you can devote to your guests. That is the true key to the whole event. If you don’t spend enough time with the people, you invite you may as well have not invited them in the first place.

Theme

Chose a theme for your party. If the majority of your friends work in the city in the week, give them a break by doing something a little more fun like a fancy dress party. I chose an Oscars themed event where the boys came in suits, and the girls wore dresses. It set the tone for the evening. This allowed me to choose the correct add ons for the table and dining room, as well as the music – I chose some classic movie soundtracks from iTunes. If you don’t want to be bothered with venue dressing, you can get companies to help you do it.

Plan

If you want to have a stylish evening and you are feeling creative why not make some handmade invitation letters, they are fairly simple. However if creativity is not really up your street, you can buy some ornate and fancy ones from places such as Etsy. Another great tip is to ask if anyone has any dietary requirements on the invite. This way you won’t find out mid-way through your starter than one of your friends can’t have milk. Buy lots of candles or tealights, they are much more stylish than standard lighting and make the evening seem more intimate.

Food

Now you know how many guests to expect and what foods they will/won’t eat its time to decide on the food. My best advice is to select things that you had made before and made well. Many of my friends have tried to accomplish something crazy they saw on a cookery show, only for it to go wrong and end up ordering take away. Chose something that you know how to make well, and if possible pick something you can prepare/make the previous day to maximise your time with your guests.

Drinks

Drinks are a tough one to get right. I usually let the theme dictate it somewhat. For our Oscars evening, it was all champagne. On one of my other evenings, punch was more fitting. If in doubt though, let your guests bring a bottle, at least the will have something to drink that they definitely like.

 

4 Top Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wine For Your Dinner Party

4 Top Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wine For Your Dinner Party

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Image Source: Dana Robinson

Whether you are known as a bit of a wine buff or are a complete beginner to the dinner party scene, choosing the right wines for your soiree deserves some consideration. Here’re our top tips for making sure you choose the best wines for your dinner party.

  • Red or White

When hosting a dinner party, it is important to remember that the flavours of the food you serve will impact how the wine tastes, and vice versa.

Traditionally we pair white wines with fish, but there is more to consider than just the type of meat you are serving. Think about how your dish is flavoured as well. A Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully tart dressing and sauces whereas the heavier notes of a Pinot Grigio complement lighter dishes. For richer tasting fish dishes, like salmon or those served in a cream sauce, there really is no other choice but a nice Chardonnay.

As for the reds, a Pinot Noir will be at its best alongside earthy dishes, like vegetables or pizza. If you are not sure of how to pair a red to a dish, think logically. A heavy Italian red was literally made to accompany pasta dishes and gnocchi.

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Image Source: Ann Larie Valentine

 

  1. Weight

The problem with serving good wine to your friends is that few of them are going to notice when it is good and will happily knock it back. When the wine contrasts poorly with the meal or the setting, however, even us amateurs see that it falls short. We then tend to brand it as a ‘bad wine’ when in reality it is just poorly suited to the dish.

To avoid this, and keep your guests happy, consider the weight of the vintages you are serving when you buy your wines. Whether you choose them in person or buy them from an online liquor store, it is important to consider how the body of the wine will compare with the flavours of the food. A rich, full-bodied wine is the perfect complement to a heavy, red sauce pasta dish but would taste odd alongside a light salad or delicate herb flavours.

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Image Source: Ann Larie Valentine

  1. Courses

Don’t be afraid to serve different wines with different courses, in fact, it’s the right way to do it. The average dinner party host might be out of the habit of food pairing these days, but it is a good one to get into. It will enhance the flavours of your meal and ensure everything works perfectly together.

For a starter, which tends to be light, you want a lighter wine. Fresh, white vintages are always a good choice here and will pair beautifully with fish or delicate salads. If you are serving a pasta dish to start, stick to a Chardonnay for a creamy sauce or a Pinot Noir if the pasta is in a herby, red sauce.

For the main, we traditionally move onto a heavier red. This prevents guests drinking too much and allows them to savour the flavours. Of course, if it is a hot summer night and you are serving a lighter main, then stick to cool, refreshing white wines.

Dessert wine is a must and something that it is always best to research in advance. Muscat wines are the perfect complement to fruits whilst ports pair beautifully with rich desserts. There are also a variety of vintages that can be served as desserts in their own right, such as the German Ausele. Consider what is most likely to appeal to your guests and opt for that option, after all, the perfect wine for your dinner party is the one you and your guests will keep coming back to.

 

 

A Quick Guide To Hosting A Wine Tasting Party

A Quick Guide To Hosting A Wine Tasting Party

A lot less stressful than organising a dinner party, a wine tasting evening is an excellent way to relax and enjoy some time with friends.

If you’ve never hosted, or even been to, a wine tasting party before, you may be a little unsure of what you need to do. Don’t panic. Simply follow our quick guide below, and it will tell you everything that you need to know.

Choose a theme

Every wine tasting party needs a theme. A simple theme idea could be vintage wines from a particular country or region, such as Napa, California or Burgundy, France. If you are fortunate enough to live in a wine producing area, you could choose vintage wines from your area instead.

If you struggle to choose a suitable theme, pop into your local wine store and ask for some advice. You could also visit online wine sites and blogs for some inspiration. Don’t get stressed about it, just choose a simple theme and stick to it.

Types of wine

It is best not to have more than five types of wine for your guests to taste as more than this may be too overpowering for the palette. If you plan on tasting both red and white wines, make sure to serve them from light to dark. Darker wines are heavier on the stomach than lighter coloured wines, which means that they should be served last.

If, for example, you are expecting 12 guests, you will need four bottles of each wine. Two for tasting and two for enjoying afterwards. To ensure that the wine is served at the best temperature, place white wine and rose in the fridge an hour before guests arrive. You may also want to put any red wine in the refrigerator 15 minutes before guests arrive, to ensure that it is served at its ideal temperature. Remember to take white or rose wine out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving.

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(Photo source)

Wine glasses

If you have 12 guests attending your party, you will need at least 12 wine glasses. Give each guest one wine glass, preferably use Bordeaux style glasses if possible.

If you don’t have enough wine glasses then, you will need to order some more. Have a look at Patterson’s wholesale wine glasses to get an idea of prices and styles available.

Make sure that the glasses are not cleaned between each tasting, as even a small amount of water can ruin a good wine.

Snacks

You may want to provide your guests with some snacks to help soak up all the wine they will be drinking. Some great ideas for wine tasting nibbles are things like bread sticks, cheese straws, mixed olives, cheese and crackers, and dried fruit.

Alternatively, you could serve snacks that are traditional to the region where you wine and party theme originated from. Once you have chosen your theme, use the internet to research authentic foods that originate from the area.

Music

To set the scene, you may want to have some music playing in the background. Why not create a music playlist especially for your party? You could choose all of yours and your friend’s favourite songs and put them together in a relaxing compilation.

Alternatively, you could create a wine party playlist. You could choose songs that relate to wine, like Marvin Gaye’s ‘I heard it through the grapevine’ and so on. Whilst the music shouldn’t be too loud, some gentle background music is a great way to give your party a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

Games

If you are planning on having your guests sit around a table to do the wine tasting, it could be fun to provide a few games that can be played throughout the evening.

You could start off with some wine-related games, like guess the wine’s region, etc. You could also have cards and traditional board games on the table for you and

Did You Know…? Surprising Facts About Wine

Did You Know…? Surprising Facts About Wine

Now, it’s no secret that I’m someone who enjoys the odd glass of wine (or two!). To me, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a glass of rose wine on a summer’s evening. Come wintertime, I love to snuggle up on the sofa with a glass of red and my favourite book. But considering my love of the drink, I know very little about it. So, with this in mind, we’ve compiled some fascinating facts about this delightful drink. Some will make you chuckle, some will make you gasp and some are just plain bizarre. So, without further ado…

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Flickr

– It’s believed that monks were the first people to learn the skill of winemaking, way back in the Middle Ages. In fact, one of the most famous champagnes, Don Perignon, is named after a monk. He lived during the 17th and 18th-centuries. He is believed to have been one of the earliest known advocates of organic winemaking. He managed to perfect this skill during his lifetime. And more than 300 years later, his techniques are still being used today.

– The oldest bottle of wine is currently on display at the Pfalz Museum in Germany. Historians believe it to be a staggering 1,650 years old. This means its origins stretch as far back as the times of the Roman Empire.

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Flickr

– Ancient Egyptian pharaohs refused to touch red wine. They believed that its appearance was too much like blood. They saw the effect that alcohol could have when drank in excess. They believed that it made people crazy and that they were incurring the wrath of the gods.

– Strangely enough, there are people who actually suffer from a phobia of wine. It’s a condition recognised by medical professionals all over the world. It’s called oenophobia.

– Back in the 1920s, alcohol was banned and made illegal (god forbid!). So, those who wanted to flout the law had to find ingenious ways of drinking alcohol without getting caught. One rather creative method involved a bottle of grape juice mix. The label gave clear instructions on how to use it to make alcohol. But it was written as a warning against taking such steps! Thankfully we have no such problem today. There are countless legal ways of buying your favourite tipple. Online retailer, The Fine Wine Company, is just one such example.

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Flickr

– The Prince of Wales reportedly uses red wine in place of petrol to power his Aston Martin. (Am I the only one who thinks that’s a waste of perfectly good wine?!)

– We’ve all heard about the high antioxidant content in red wine. But did you know that soy sauce contains an astonishing ten times more of this essential health-promoting nutrient?

– In Japan it’s possible to actually swim in specialised pools filled with either coffee, tea or red wine! Those at Yunessun Spa believe that in doing this they are utilising the health-promoting properties of some of our favourite tipples!

We bet you’ve learnt lots about wine that you didn’t know before. We just hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as we did putting this list together!